Understanding Accessibility Audits

Once your website goes live, it is viewable by anyone who accesses it—or at least it should be. Does your website use closed captions for videos? Are there prerecorded audio descriptions? If not, then your website may not be ADA compliant nor viewable to a segment of users with disabilities. To accommodate all visitors, accessibility audits should always be top of mind when designing digital applications, websites, and content.

An ADA compliance website audit is a formal process to ensure a site is accessible to users with disabilities and compatible with the tools they use. Users with disabilities require compatibility with assisted technology, including braille displays, screen magnifiers, and screen readers to properly view a website. These tools help them navigate throughout your website without compromising the overall experience.

The digital accessibility audit is a system of checks and balances to that help make your digital content, including websites, PDFs, and online applications, are accessible to as many users as possible.   Web accessibility audits may be daunting or even downright scary for some digital teams, but they are a necessity to building an all-inclusive web experience. Correcting recommendations from an accessibility audit can help mitigate the risk of losing prospective customers or having legal action taken against your company.

Accessibility Legislation and Recommendations

The Americans with Disability Act, Section 508 "requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and members of the public."

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the guiding principles for accessibility. WCAG 2.0 was published in 2008 outlining twelve principles for accessibility. An addition WCAG 2.1 adds on to the recommendation. It was "initiated with the goal to improve accessibility guidance for three major groups: users with cognitive or learning disabilities, users with low vision, and users with disabilities on mobile devices."

The WebAIM project at the Center for persons with Disabilities at Utah State ran an accessibility test on the top 1 million websites. The 2021 report revealed that 98.1% of homepages had detectable WCAG 2 failures. This means that individuals with disabilities are not able to effectively view the sites’ and speaks volumes of the importance of accessibility audits when designing a website. Digital accessibility is a civil right, and it is imperative that digital teams address these issues. An ADA website compliance audit serves as a tool to help these teams adhere to WCAG guidelines and principles for accessibility.

Risk of Non-Compliance to ADA Requirements

New standards (and lawsuits) on web accessibility require that businesses know how their site stacks up. Web accessibility focuses on inclusivity and removing barriers for people with disabilities that might prevent their interactions with or access to websites and mobile applications. Although the law requires organizations to comply with certain accessibility practices, many sites aren’t accessible today.

As lawsuits increase for being in violation of the ADA law, businesses look to make these changes. There are many benefits to increasing accessibility. In addition to social and ethical values, there are business reasons. More accessible websites have better results on search engines, better web page performance, and increased revenue. Learn more here.

Does your eCommerce site comply with accessibility standards? If you'd like to better understand you're website's compliance, we are here to help. You can request a heuristics-based accessibility evaluation to find out. We will conduct a full site audit and provide actionable solutions to meet WCAG requirements.

2 people discussing business over cafe table

Does your eCommerce site comply with accessibility standards?

If you'd like to better understand you're website's compliance, we are here to help. You can request a heuristics-based accessibility evaluation to find out. We will conduct a full site audit and provide actionable solutions to meet WCAG requirements.

2 people discussing business over cafe table