Web accessibility in 2019

 

Most website owners appreciate the importance of making their sites accessible to all their visitors, but the information and documentation can be overwhelming and hard to untangle.

 
 

What does ‘web accessibility’ actually mean?

‘Web accessibility’ means that ‘websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them’. (w3.org)

The terms ‘accessibility’ and ‘usability’ are often confused. ‘Accessibility’ means ensuring that all users can access your content, whereas ‘usability’ is about how easy your website is to use.

97.8% of homepages recently failed an accessibility survey

In a recent accessiblity survey by WebAIM, 97.8% of the 1,000,000 home pages they surveyed had detectable WCAG 2 failures. Unless you are in a sector where there are strict legal requirements, your website will be doing a surprisingly good  job if it is 100% accessible.

What’s the law regarding web accessibility?

There are accessibility requirements for public sector websites in the UK. The law is less clear for everyone else, but we aim to optimise website accessibility for all our clients.

What does wave do about accessibility?

We follow the WCAG 2.1 guidelines, and aim to meet the AA conformance level wherever possible.

If you have a spare hour or two, you can read the guidelines at https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/

We aim to keep our knowledge of the guidelines fresh, so that we have them in mind throughout a project. We also have tools to help us test and check accessibility. In particular we like pa11y, and Google’s Audits tools.

What will you need to do?

You should keep accessibility in mind whenever you update or modify your site. The way you write and how you organise your content can affect accessibility. For example, are your page titles and navigation links clear? Titles and links that do not accurately describe your content can harm the accessibility (and usability) of your site.

 

Further reading

How charities can meet the new digital accessibility standards
“Charities are legally responsible for meeting accessibility standards online, but most don’t.”

Understanding new accessibility requirements for public sector bodies
“Who the new accessibility regulations apply to and why accessibility is important.”

Understanding disabilities and impairments: user profiles
Illuminating user stories from gov.uk.

WebAim
“WebAIM’s mission is to expand the potential of the web for people with disabilities by providing the knowledge, technical skills, tools, organizational leadership strategies, and vision that empower organizations to make their own content accessible to people with disabilities.”

The A11Y Project
The A11Y Project is a community-driven effort to make web accessibility easier. Their website has a useful accessibility checklist.

WCAG 2.1 guidelines
“Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 defines how to make Web content more accessible to people with disabilities.”

W3C Introduction to web accessibility
“The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops international standards for the Web: HTML, CSS, and many more.”

Writing for Web Accessibility
“Some basic considerations to help you get started writing web content that is more accessible to people with disabilities.”

Pa11y
Pa11y publish a range of free and open source tools to help designers and developers make their web pages more accessible.

Lighthouse
“Lighthouse for Chrome is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, and more.”

WordPress and accessibility
“We want users, regardless of device or ability, to be able to publish content and maintain a website or application built with WordPress.”