As covered in a previous blog, making sure website accessibility
is included in the design process is probably the simplest way to ensure it
But there is still a need for testing.
We need to know what to test for. The guidelines issued by the W3C give a starting place
The standards outlined in W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are organized into three level; A, AA and AAA.
Level A cover the most basic web accessibility features and
is the minimum standard a website should meet. For example, the WCAG guideline All non-text content that is presented to the
user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose, except for the
situations listed below. A solution at this level would be providing a
transcript for pre-recorded audio.
Level AA requirements ensure that content achieves a
greater degree of accessibility People with disabilities will have an
easier time accessing content that meets Level AA criteria than they would with
content that only meets Level A. A solution at this level. A solution at this level would be providing
an audio description for pre-recorded audio.
Level AAA is the highest and most complex level of web accessibility. This level includes additional requirements, some of which enhance those established in Level AA criteria. For pre-recorded audio, sign language interpretation should be implemented.
Remember, Level A is the minimum a website should meet for
the page to be considered accessible.
Level AA is the level most websites should strive for, this should also ensure
compliance with the 508 Standards. Level
AAA is the “Holy Grail” of accessibility, but whenever possible the WCAG standards
at this level should be implemented.
The next post will cover methods and tools to test a website
for the WCAG standards.
It’s important to ensure that the websites you develop and
work with at least meet the minimum standards of accessibility, especially the
508 Standards. The easiest way to
accomplish this is make the checklist part of the initial design and workflow.
Much of this blog was inspired by several presentations at WordCamp Atlanta 2019, particularly the presentation by Joseph LoPreste of StPeteDesign.
The checklist below will assist in making a website 508
all images on your site have alt-text tags – People using screen
readers don’t see images, so make sure that the alt-text of each image is
descriptive – especially if the image contains text.
that each field in every form on your site is properly labelled – Without
labels, forms will not be viewable on screen readers.
your site can be navigated using only a keyboard – Not everyone uses a
touchpad or mouse, so make sure that there aren’t any features on your site
which requires them.
your videos are setup for Closed Captioning. You must make sure that all
videos you create have a manuscript for the Closed Captions. Also, provide an
Audio transcribing for non-audio videos or animations.
of any given content cannot be the only indication of value or what
there are flexible time limits associated with the website or
software. Check that auto updating, moving, blinking, and scrolling content
can be paused or adjusted.
to include a skip navigation link or something equivalent, so the user
can bypass repetitive content.
that user Input errors are identified and described in the text to the
your font size is at least 18+.
that your contrast is at least 3:1
for links and 4.5:1 for all other content.
that all of your link texts are
that all documents on the website (not external links), such as PDF or Word are
There are automated tools and plug-ins which can identify most of the above when a website nears completion.-
In 2018 it’s estimated that there were almost 3000 lawsuits filed under the ADA (Americans for Disability Act) in the US. The 2017 estimate for these lawsuits was only a little more than 800.
The lawsuits are being filed under ADA Section
508 which states that all information and electronic technology must be made
accessible to people with disabilities. Similar standards are required in the
Section 508 requires all entities with “places
of public accommodations” to provide website and app accessibility to people with
disabilities. In the US, this has been
the Federal Government and contractors who deal directly with the Federal Government. By extension, this also covers State and
Local Governments as well.
Most of the current lawsuits are being filed
against NGO’s and private businesses are only for compliance and legal fees,
not damages. These issues are still being litigated in State and Federal
At the WordCamp Atlanta, there were several presentations on how to check to make sure your website meets the Section 508 standard.
The next blog post will have a checklist for
helping meet the 508 Standard.