According to Statista, approximately 60% of the disabled population (in the US) live in a household with internet access. While this number is expected to continue rising over the coming years, the unfortunate reality is that many of these individuals cannot engage with digital content to its full extent, especially those that rely on assistive technology such as screen readers and keyboard navigation.
A surprising amount of websites are currently deemed inaccessible to those who require such assistance, which means they are unable to obtain information, purchase products, or interact with the services they need. In light of this, there are several laws that protect the rights of disabled people, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
If you are a business owner that utilizes digital channels to connect with consumers, then you are legally obligated to comply with these laws, or else you may risk facing penalties and potential lawsuits. But what exactly is web accessibility, and how is it measured?
Table Of Contents
How web accessibility is measured
Web accessibility is the inclusive practice of ensuring that digital content is available to all users. This includes those with a disability such as blindness, deafness, motor issues, cognitive and learning disabilities, and so on. The way web accessibility is scored is determined by the guidelines published by the World Wide Web Consortium, called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
These guidelines cover a wide range of recommendations that website owners can follow in order to make their digital content more accessible. WCAG 2.1 covers four main accessibility principles (perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust), each of which has its own subsections that detail the exact criteria that websites must meet.
For the most part, plaintiff law first typically cites violations of the ADA and Section 508 by highlighting WCAG 2.1 failures, making these guidelines one of the most important documents for website owners. The Department of Justice has also clarified the federal stance on web accessibility, citing WCAG 2.1 as the guidelines they implement for all government sites.
What is accessScan?
Rather than manually cross-checking your web pages against WCAG 2.1, accessiBe, the world leader in providing web accessibility solutions, has developed an innovative solution that automates the entire process for you. accessScan, a free-to-use tool, utilizes AI technology to simulate user testing by rapidly scanning your website for accessibility failures.
To use the service, head to the accessScan webpage, enter your domain name into the search bar, and click “Get Audit.”
The tool will immediately start evaluating your website before delivering results on how it performed. After flagging and diagnosing accessibility errors from end to end, your site will be awarded one of three accessibility scores. These are:
- Compliant – Your website is compliant with the legislation and is accessible to people with disabilities.
- Semi-compliant – Your website is mostly compliant, but some areas need improvement.
- Non-compliant – Your website is at risk since it does not meet multiple criteria across the WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
What elements does accessScan evaluate?
accessScan conducts a comprehensive audit of your website, evaluating all the critical factors present in the WCAG 2.1. The tool will assess your website across 11 different categories/web elements before giving you a score out of 100 for each one. Here is a quick rundown of each category:
When you receive your results, you can click on each subcategory and find more information about what your site is required to achieve and how your site performed against these criteria. In turn, this will give you a clear answer whether your website is accessible to users with disabilities.
Why does web accessibility matter?
Many business owners make the mistake of neglecting the importance of web accessibility. As it turns out, companies that implement a robust digital accessibility strategy can enjoy plenty of benefits. Let’s take a look at a few of the main advantages.
Curating a more inclusive internet
First and foremost, striving for a more inclusive internet is simply the right thing to do. All internet users must be able to access the information and services they need. Thus, prioritizing web accessibility gives you an opportunity to be a part of a movement towards a fairer, more accessible world.
Reach more consumers
According to the CDC, around 61 million adults in the USA live with a disability. That’s roughly 26% of the population. By improving the accessibility of your site to these individuals, you will be able to reach more consumers and may even benefit from a competitive advantage over your rivals.
Mitigate the chance for an ADA lawsuit
Web accessibility lawsuits hit an all-time high in 2021, with over 2,895 federal cases being filed by plaintiff law firms. With this in mind, reaching compliance with the various legislation should be top of your agenda if you want to avoid being on the wrong side of litigation proceedings.
Strengthen your brand
DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is a hot topic at the moment, and for a good reason. By focusing your efforts on building a more accessible website, you will be able to confidently state that you are an advocate for equal rights and inclusiveness, which will only help to strengthen your brand and gain the trust of your customers.
With online accessibility becoming an increasingly pressing issue, it’s critical that business owners understand how their website conforms to the various regulations and guidelines. accessScan, a free online tool created by accessiBe, allows you to swiftly audit your website for accessibility problems. In turn, this allows you to fine-tune your strategy by developing a more accessible and user-friendly website for all visitors.