Many businesses are in the dark when it comes to website accessibility.
WordPress’s Gutenberg has been making big strides in the hopes of providing an out-of-the-box accessible user experience for web developers.
But if you think reading a guide and downloading a few plugins will make your site fully accessible, then you may want to know why MGG Digital has recently partnered with accessiBe.
Before we get into the details, let’s define what WordPress website accessibility is, and why it’s a crucial part of your company’s future.
What Is Web Accessibility?
The Web Content Standards were developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to guarantee that websites are accessible to individuals with impairments.
According to the W3C, people with disabilities make up 20% of the global population and 10% of all web traffic.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are guidelines that show developers how to make websites accessible to people with various impairments.
The WCAG focuses on three areas of accessibility:
- Blind individuals who use screen-readers UAWS
- People with motor disabilities who exclusively use keyboards
- Visual impairments that are primarily focused on the website’s UI and design.
W3C states, “accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO). Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits.”
Web Accessibility Guidelines for Content
The Web Accessibility Initiative has created a set of guidelines that can assist you in ensuring that your site is completely accessible and compliant.
These rules should be well-known by anyone who designs, develops, or supports a website.
Accessibility is a priority not only for engineers, but also for designers, marketers, content writers, project managers, and many others.
From planning to launch, accessibility should be a top focus throughout the site-building process.
After a website has gone live, you will need to continue improving upon its accessibility.
Web accessibility means following a growing number of compliance guidelines. To help our clients keep their websites cutting-edge compliant, MGG Digital has partnered with accessiBe. That means the following website accessibility compliance guidelines cover your site:
- WCAG 2.1
- ADA Title III
- Section 508
- IS 5568
- EAA/EN 301548
On January 1st, 2021, new legislation went into effect requiring all organizations with 50 or more workers to have an accessible corporate website.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA) permits persons with impairments to access the internet without difficulty and to participate in online communities.
It means that accessible websites are now vital to your company’s success.
Here’s how being AODA compliant helps your website.
Protection from legal fines
AODA compliance is now the law, and firms in Ontario are facing steep fines for failing to comply.
Help for those with disabilities
10% of all Canadians or 10% of the total population are affected by a disability
If your website is inaccessible, 1 in 10 Canadians may be unable to access the information.
Equal opportunity employment
Equal opportunities begin when people apply to work for your organization.
Making your website’s “career page” accessible involves letting users who use screen-readers hear and interact with your website’s information.
In March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law.
The basic purposes of the law are as follows:
- Make more individuals eligible for affordable health insurance.
- Expand Medicaid coverage to include all people earning less than 138% of the FPL.
- Support new medical care delivery approaches that aim to reduce overall healthcare expenditures.
There are many economic benefits of being ACA-compliant. One of which is having healthier, hence more productive, employees.
The Affordable Care Act helps individuals live longer, healthier lives by expanding access to care.
This implies they will miss fewer work days and work for more extended periods.
Not Just for the Blind
An accessible website can aid those with decreased abilities, eyesight, or movement due to age.
However, people with auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, verbal, and visual challenges should also be able to use a fully accessible website.
When your website is accessible, you reach a wider audience. That includes the following:
- People who use mobile devices with smaller displays and other input techniques.
- People who have diminished ability, eyesight, or mobility as a result of age.
- Someone who is experiencing a momentary hardship, such as an injured hand.
- A user of a website who is in a location with lighting that may cause the contrast on their screen to alter.
It’s a Growing Demand
In the previous year, the number of litigation involving web accessibility has nearly quadrupled.
Even during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the number of ADA Title III Website accessibility litigation filed in federal court climbed by 12%.
Web accessibility is not going away.
Moving forward, companies must include online accessibility into their processes as they build software and websites.
This is essential, not just because no one likes being sued, but also because the internet must suit the requirements of all persons, regardless of needs.
Who Is Web Accessibility Important For?
The short answer is everyone with a business website.
To understand why web accessibility is becoming a standard requirement, it’s best to look at how the web continues to influence society.
The Internet is becoming an increasingly vital resource in many areas of life, including education, work, government, business, health care, recreation, and others. For this reason, it’s critical that the Internet be accessible to individuals of all abilities.
Accessibility promotes social inclusion for persons with disabilities as well as others such as the elderly, those living in rural regions, and those living in developing nations.
Web technologies make it easier to overcome access obstacles to print, audio, and visual material.
Accessibility can strengthen your brand, spur innovation, and broaden your market reach.
Accessible design enhances overall user experience and happiness, particularly across devices and among older users.
Does Web Accessibility Come Standard With WordPress?
How accessible is WordPress? Additionally, how much extra effort is required to maintain an accessible WordPress site?
There is no black-and-white answer, but we can look at where WordPress shines and where it falls short.
What WordPress Currently Includes
The good news is that each new WordPress theme takes little steps and advances in the direction of accessibility.
As more individuals become aware of the need for accessibility, more people will prioritize making their website accessible.
Areas that continue to be improved center around images, colors, text, interactive elements, themes, and plugins.
What WordPress Lacks
Despite recent advances, WordPress is not fully accessible right out of the box.
Because it is hard to automate all aspects of accessible design and development, most WP web developers produce inaccessible websites.
When you start with WordPress, your path to a fully accessible website is a little shorter. However, if you want to go the DIY route, there is still plenty of manual work to do before arriving at the finish line.
Why accessiBe Offers the Best-in-Class WordPress Web Accessibility
In order to offer our clients the same white-glove service, MGG Digital decided to add to our suite of plugins to automate web accessibility as much as possible.
However, in view of the expanding compliance regulations and user expectations, we took it a step further.
Website accessibility is a continuous process that’s best viewed as a separate service.
For that reason, we decided to partner with accessiBe, our new web accessibility experts.
Here are the top three reasons we chose them:
- Comprehensive professional web accessibility service
- Client-side ease-of-use
Now, let’s talk about what you can expect from accessiBe’s website accessibility service.
Meet corporate requirements and expand your company’s business
Given the vast consumer market that online accessibility provides, it should come as no surprise that it is a corporate requirement.
One out of every four persons in the United States has a handicap, resulting in a sizable market. With a moral and legal need to be inclusive to all, company owners are embracing online accessibility as a cost-effective solution.
Tap into a huge market
The disabled community has $1.2 trillion in purchasing power. By creating spending opportunities, you establish long-term business partnerships that help you achieve your financial goals.
Increase your website’s performance, user experience, and rank on Google
82% of consumers would spend more time on websites if they were easier to use.
An accessible website means a significantly enhanced user experience. This means you’ll likely see lifts in performance and conversion rates. Additionally, this leads to a potential boost in your web traffic, dwell time, and click-through rate (CTR).
Avoid legal issues
Making your website open and available to anyone is both the smart thing to do and a moral duty.
Given the increase in accessibility litigation, it’s also an issue of legal obligation and compliance.
accessiBe’s online accessibility solutions enable business owners to meet ADA and WCAG 2.1 AA level standards.
The Bottom Line
The future of online business centers around security and the user experience. Website accessibility is simply the next iteration.
MGG Digital has partnered with accessiBe because we no longer see an accessible and compliant website as optional.
If you’d like to find out more about our bespoke web hosting and accessibility services, schedule a call here