Everyone who owns a website, not only based on WordPress, aims to get as many visitors as possible. However, only by giving access to all website areas to all users can you achieve satisfactory results. It should therefore also be possible for the site to be accessible to those who may have a problem with it.
It is necessary to understand users limitations and needs and introduce solutions that meet them.
The accessibility of the site is not in itself difficult to implement. It is essential to try to understand the fundamental problems a potential visitor has to face. Once you know what to do, take the appropriate steps to make the problem disappear, and make the site easily accessible to such people.
We will focus on what website accessibility is, what it consists of, who precisely it concerns, and why it is so important.
Introduction to Web Accessibility
Disabilities can affect many aspects of life. But can also affect navigation in the digital environment.
The site is considered accessible after taking steps to ensure that there are no barriers or any existing barriers were removed, and there is nothing that can prevent users from using the site. Because disability can affect how people interact on the web network availability includes all alternative methods of using technology.
It is essential to understand the rules and recommendations regarding the accessibility of websites in your country.
Most countries provide laws that protect citizens’ rights for people with disabilities at homes, parks, businesses, and more. What is not yet universal is the accessibility of the website.
What is WCAG?
The most crucial accessibility guidelines are known as WCAG guidelines.
WCAG documents explain how to increase the availability of web content for people with disabilities.
WCAG 2.0 was published on December 11, 2008, while WCAG 2.1 on June 5, 2018. WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 are stable, technical reference standards that contain official 12-13 guidelines, organized according to 4 main content principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. There are valid success criteria for each guideline, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA.
What is ADA?
The American Disability Act (ADA) was established by law in the Year 1990.
ADA is a law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities. This applies to all areas of life, starting from work, school or public transport and ending in public spaces and private places for society. ADA rules were divided into 5 sections. Each section deals with a different area of public life.
In 2008, the American Amendment Act (ADAAA) was signed and put into practice on January 1, 2009.
What is Section 508?
Section 508 was incorporated into the American Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in 1998. It requires federal agencies to develop, acquire, maintain, and use information and communication technology (ICT) accessible to people with disabilities. The US Access Council has established 508 sections that implement the law and set out accessibility requirements.
Further changes were introduced in January 2017. They updated the guidelines and requirements for the availability of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the federal sector. They also updated the guidelines for telecommunications and reorganized the guidelines for sections 508 and 255 to better adapt to the latest innovations in communication technologies.
In the United States, apart from federal, state, and local websites that must comply with Section 508, there are no enforceable ADA legal standards for website accessibility.
Who needs an accessible website?
Everyone should have equal opportunities when using the website. It should not matter who visits the site, what options or restrictions it has, and what software it uses.
Each of the Internet users has different needs, and many have restrictions that can hinder or prevent the use of websites. Many disabilities affect the way you use the site. Some of the most common of them are:
- Sight impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Physical disability
- Seizures caused by light
- Cognitive Disorders
To work around these problems, many people use assistive technology when browsing the Internet. This includes screen readers that vocalize text on every page, speech recognition software that converts speech to text, Braille terminals, and even alternative keyboards tailored to your individual needs.
Design a site or modify an existing one to take into account all accessibility.
For which category of websites is Accessibility essential?
- government agencies
Public sector websites must be adapted to make them accessible to users.
Every public sector website and application must meet specific accessibility standards. All newly emerging public sector websites will also need to meet accessibility standards and publish an accessibility statement.
This means that local governments must ensure that all their digital content is accessible to users with visual, hearing, and other physical and disability restrictions.
- educational institutions
It’s not about children only. Their parents with disabilities are often using the network to engage in the education of their children. They can use the Internet to view grades, download classroom resources, find teacher and administrator contact details.
In particular, the availability of networks is essential for purposes such as career and technical education that are to fill the labor market gaps for demanding jobs such as nursing and IT.
Education and website accessibility go hand in hand – it is impossible to provide all students with the same education without guaranteeing that all students can take full advantage of relevant websites and web content.
- Other business websites
You probably already know the vital role your site plays in attracting new customers to your business. You’ve probably invested a lot in designing and developing an exciting and informative website optimized for search engines and mobile-friendly.
Accessibility is another element of the growing market. People can find your site, but they must be able to use your website – and not everyone can use the Internet in the same way.
Let the example be construction companies or architects who are supporters of introducing accessibility standards in their projects. These companies also implement accessibility standards in the homes and buildings where they live and work.
How to quickly make an accessible website?
The accessible website’s design must be done in a way that makes it readable and usable to anyone.
Among many rules you need to implement on your website here are some examples:
- Keyboard-Friendly site – for a website to be accessible, it must work without the use of a mouse.
- Add Alt Text to All Images – it also improves your site’s SEO.
- Colors – the colors used on the website should contrast well so that the user can easily distinguish them from each other.
- Use Headers in the content’s structure – the transparent structure of the page, thanks to the use of headers, allows better navigation and content’s interpretation.
- Don’t Use Tables – it’s best to avoid using tables for anything but tabular data.
- Resizable Text – this function is important, resizing texts must be done without losing content or functions.
Possible solutions to make your website accessible.
Adapting the website to the WCAG, ADA, or Section 508 guidelines mentioned above may require a lot of work and costs. Many practical ready-made tools will greatly facilitate this process and remove barriers that exclude people from using your website. Among ready solutions that can help make the process much easier to deal with our WordPress themes.
The WCAG and ADA WordPress themes come with all the advanced functionality needed to make your website stand out because they meet the WCAG, ADA, and Section 508 standards. Using the ready-made solution like the theme it will be much easier for your website to pass the web page accessibility test easily. WordPress themes designed with accessibility in mind are easier to use and clearer to navigate than other themes. By using them, you can be sure that by focusing on the main goal, the compliance with accessibility standards, you won’t have to sacrifice on design quality or functionality. Those themes are designed for multipurpose use and can be used for building a blog, modern company, public institution, office, or an education website. They include demo site copies to let users start building a website quickly.
If you don’t use WordPress and are interested in creating a website using Content Management System, we recommend you a Joomla CMS. There are also many ready-made WCAG and ADA Joomla templates, that meet the requirements of the accessibility.