Do you have a website, app or digital platform that needs to be inclusive for users with disabilities? Need help achieving compliance with W3C accessibility guidelines like WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1 and ATAG 2.0?
This video will explain what accessibility is, why it’s important and how testing is essential in providing an inclusive experience for diverse users of your platforms. Learn how Planit Digital QA’s comprehensive approach to accessibility testing can make your digital products inclusive and compliant.
What is web accessibility?
Web or digital accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites by people with disabilities.
When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.
Why is accessibility important? How many people around the world require accessible digital platforms, products and services in order to complete day-to-day activities?
Let’s go over current global disability statistics, highlighting how many users are likely to be affected by digital products not built and tested with accessibility compliance in mind.
Did you know that 15% of the world’s population, or 1 billion people, experience some form of disability? Breaking this number down by country outlines even more interesting statistics.
These global statistics are likely to grow and increase over time. It is important that accessibility testing is conducted early to mitigate risks and provide your audience with the most inclusive user experience possible.
What are the reasons for testing your digital products, platforms, websites and apps for accessibility compliance? Why do you need to test your products and services?
Digital accessibility enables independence, choice, convenience and inclusion for people who require access using technology. By providing an accessible platform or product, you will empower all users to successfully engage with your platform, and in turn, build brand loyalty through an inclusive experience.
There is potential for litigation and lawsuits if your content is inaccessible. For many government agencies, accessibility compliance is a legislative requirement in line with WCAG 2.0 level double A.
Inaccessible websites and apps can cause great difficulties for people with disabilities. Creators, developers, designers, content authors and testers can make products accessible by knowing what to do.
So now you know what accessibility is, why it’s important and how testing is necessary for millions of consumers around the world living with disability. Do you know how users with disability might interact with your digital content?
There are many different types of disability spanning temporary limitations, environmental restrictions, situational impairment and age-related requirements to name a few. To demonstrate how people with disabilities interact with digital platforms, let’s look at five groups of diverse users as listed by the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative.
Visual disabilities include mild or moderate vision impairments in one or both eyes, such as ‘low vision’, ‘partial sight’, ‘blindness’ and ‘colour blindness’. Your products should be inclusive for users with visual disabilities by using image text alternatives, audio description on videos, clearly labelled links, correct heading structure and inclusive use of colour, while supporting screen readers and assistive technologies across different browsers, operating systems and devices.
Auditory disabilities include mild or moderate hearing impairment, to substantial impairment in one or both ears. You can provide an inclusive experience for users with auditory disabilities by adding captions to videos and ensuring audio content does not play automatically on your platform.
Cognitive and neurological disability affects the nervous system, including the brain and the peripheral nervous system. This may impact the ability to learn, understand and retain information. You can provide an accessible experience for users with cognitive disability by using plain English content, offering ways to pause automatically moving content, and using consistently identifiable and navigable components on your platform.
Physical disability may include limitation of muscular control, involuntary movement, lack of coordination, paralysis, joint problems or missing limbs. Ensure your platform is accessible for users with physical disabilities by supporting different input mechanisms and devices. This includes keyboard navigation in addition to mouse controls, and native gestures on touchscreen devices.
Speech-related disability includes difficulty producing speech that is recognisable by others or by voice recognition software. Increasing prevalence of voice-activated products like Google Home, Alexa, Siri and Bixby means that your product’s integration with these systems also needs to be accessible and inclusive.
What are the common drivers for seeking accessibility compliance?
People often implement accessibility for moral and ethical reasons. Providing an inclusive experience for everyone who engages with your platform is often viewed as the ‘right thing to do’ and it is important that everyone can use your product in a user-friendly manner.
From a corporate perspective, think back to the current global statistics we covered earlier. There are entire markets of consumers with accessibility requirements that can be missed by businesses having an inaccessible platform or service. Product owners who understand and implement accessibility correctly can capture potentially untapped markets of millions per country, while maximising brand reputation and user experience.
From a legal perspective, there are many cases of litigation, lawsuits and legal consequences for not meeting accessibility compliance requirements. Many governments, including the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United States, have legislature in place to ensure WCAG 2.0 level double A is met for digital platforms and services at minimum.
One case of landmark accessibility litigation in Australia is the case of Bruce Lindsay Maguire vs. the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games in the year 2000.
Blind web user Bruce Maguire filed a case against SOCOG due to the Sydney Olympic Games website being inaccessible. This was due to no alternative text on images, lack of access to event results and missing image maps.
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission ruled in favour of Maguire, ordering SOCOG to compensate him $20,000 for unlawful discrimination and improve the accessibility of their website.
The Australian Government adopted the W3C guidelines for all agency websites from 1 December 2000.
What are some of the challenges to overcome when implementing your accessible solutions?
Digital products must be inclusive and compliant with applicable W3C accessibility guidelines such as WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0 to avoid brand damage and legal repercussions.
Implementing accessibility the right way is essential to maximising user experience and creating an inclusive product or platform.
Accessibility is a specialised field requiring comprehensive expertise around legislation, industry standards, technologies, tools and best practices.
Planit makes this process easy to learn, understand and integrate into your existing workflow with our ongoing consultancy and guidance.
How can Planit help you maximise inclusion and accessibility compliance for your apps, products, platforms and services?
We provide accessibility support for each phase of your project across requirements, design, development, content, conformance testing and maintenance.
Our experienced accessibility consultants can help you identify issues and receive tailored recommendations to attain compliance in each stage of your project.
This includes complete web and mobile accessibility evaluation services, provision of a formal WCAG accessibility evaluation report, and full platform coverage with experienced accessibility testers. Planit also provides advice, support and consultancy to embed and enhance accessible practices in your organisation.
How does Planit’s accessibility services support your digital products, platforms and services?
We use a range of automated accessibility tools with results reviewed by manual testers to remove false positives. This is supported by manual test scripts and inspection of code to determine WCAG conformance issues. Our testers also utilise screen readers, assistive technologies and tools across a range of operating systems, devices and browsers to ensure your product receives the most comprehensive accessibility evaluation possible.
What deliverables do Planit provide to support your accessibility roadmap?
Our comprehensive accessibility testing of your digital platforms, products and services is supported with an accessibility evaluation and report document outlining WCAG 2.0 accessibility compliance at a conformance level of your choice. This includes level A, double A or triple A.
Planit also provides recommended W3C techniques for your development team to fix WCAG issues and achieve conformance. We provide clear screenshots and videos for development teams to identify and address problems. This allows you to understand how accessibility issues affect your users in detail.
We can also provide an accessibility evaluation and workshop to upskill teams to integrate accessibility practices into their existing workflow. This is supported by an audit report walkthrough, providing you with a first-hand understanding of accessibility in your projects, and a clear benchmark of your conformance level following the engagement with Planit.
Planit also provides an Accessibility Statement. This is a public-facing document outlining your accessibility status following the initial testing engagement. It also outlines steps you have taken to implement fixes, communicate outstanding accessibility issues to your users, and clearly state your commitment to achieving WCAG 2.0 compliance.
Want to learn more about boosting your accessibility strategy? Ready to maximise the user experience, WCAG compliance and inclusion across all of your digital products and services?
Contact us to learn how Planit can help.