Digital accessibility is becoming increasingly recognised as a fundamental component when designing and developing online platforms by organisations worldwide. A growing amount of legislation around the world requires organisations to follow a cohesive set of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This blog post addresses the subject of digital accessibility, why it is so important and what we at ClerksWell are doing to help our clients meet the accessibility guidelines.
Digital accessibility is the concept of accessible web design that ensures that people of all abilities have easy online access, be it unassisted or through assistive technologies. There is a wide range of disabilities from disabilities which requires simple content and navigation to users who utilise a screen reader to read a web page or those who require video transcripts. It’s all about enabling inclusive web and app experiences for everyone.
In the UK, 1/5 people are living with a disability this could be visual, hearing, motor or cognitive. However, the concept of accessibility does not just apply to those with disabilities. All users at one point in time will have different needs under different circumstances. Someone’s ability to use an online service could be affected by their location (they could be in a noisy area or place with slow wifi) or even equipment (they may be on their mobile phone or an older browser). Digital accessibility is, therefore, not only for those with disabilities but making sure that your platform can be used by as many people as possible. When you create an accessible app/website all your visitors will benefit.
What is WCAG?
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is developed through the W3C process, to provide a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organisations, and governments internationally.
The WCAG documents explain how to make ‘web content’ meet the requirements. Web ‘content’ generally refers to the information on a web page or web application, including:
Natural information such as text, images, and sounds
Code or mark-up that defines the structure, presentation etc.
Here at ClerksWell, we are committed to making the internet a better more accessible place for all its users. WCAG is based on four principals; Perceivable, Operable, Robust and Understandable and each of these has three different levels of compliance; A, AA and AAA.
“When working on client’s website we normally aim to meet level AA of the guidelines as a minimum, as AAA is very complex, and this level of detail is not always needed.”
Karl, QA analyst at ClerksWell
An accessible digital presence means that people of all abilities can use your website as intended. Karl explained:
“When designing and developing websites we follow a checklist to make it as assessable as possible paying special attention to navigation, ease of use and text size/clarity. Some of the most common functionalities we make sure digital platforms have, include keyboard accessibility, being able to control the screen using the tab function instead of a mouse, subtitles on videos and speech recognition."
Using the WAVE and AChecker tools we are able to identify errors that do not meet the guidelines. These tools help to identify any issues which the automated tools may not have captured. Although they aren’t 100% accurate, they help pinpoint the errors, so we can then focus our work in specific areas to make our clients websites as accessible as possible.
If you want to find out how we can help you make your website more accessible get in contact with one of our experts here today.