How to Meet Accessibility Standards
Because of the variety of disabilities addressed in the standards, requirements for compliance are complex and stringent. We’re in the business of building websites that are marketing machines, that help our clients attract business. Meeting ADA standards while also meeting the current standard for an effective, competitive business marketing website can be challenging.
Of course, we would all like to make all websites ADA compliant. But we don’t have a magic wand to wave to make that happen, or even the means to implement the perfect solution for soloprenuers, small and medium businesses without multimillion dollar budgets. So we naturally start being motivated more by fear of lawsuits than altruism. Here are the options as we see them:
Take Your Website Down
As your marketing home base, your website is essential. No small business owner can do without a website, and that doesn’t serve the disabled community any better anyway, because then your services are invisible online.
Build Two Versions of Your Website
Create a standard marketing website that works for the majority of people who visit your site. Then create a second version that meets the WCAG 2.0 Level AA for disabled site visitors and keep it maintained at that level. Think $$$$$$.
Hire an ADA Compliance Company for Manual Remediation
Web accessibility “remediation” is the process of manually changing the code of websites to make them compatible with WCAG guidelines. This is an expense small businesses generally can’t absorb, because the process can take weeks of work by an accessibility expert and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Then there is ongoing expense to keep your site accessible. Every update to your website or to browsers can break that coding and create a need for more remediation work.
Install a Free Accessibility Plugin
The available free accessibility plugins for WordPress only meet about 20% of the WCAG requirements and aren’t even remotely close to what is required. So you’ll still be wide open to complaints.
AccessiBe‘s AI Machine Learning Overlay Widget
We are not attorneys. But fortunately, we have accessibility experience going back to the 90s, so we understand the technology challenges and we’ve studied the available options for small business owners. The truth is that there is no perfect solution — any solution short of manual remediation is not 100% foolproof for every possible element that can exist on a website.
But after reviewing the available solutions we now use AccessiBe on our own site and recommend it for clients. We even include their software in our top tier website maintenance plan.
AccessiBe works by employing AI machine learning to scan your site and provide contextual understanding for users of assistive technology.
Along with other benefits of this maintenance plan, we cover the ongoing expense of AccessiBe. You receive:
- AccessiBe widget tool on your site for people with a variety of disabilities
- Ongoing monthly scans of your site by AccessiBe
- Monthly WCAG compliance statement from AccessiBe
- Challenge support from AccessiBe
- Our support to manage the subscription and software
If you’re not a maintenance client of ours, you can still sign up with AccessiBe directly and contact us to install it for you.