How to Make Your Organization a Leader in Digital Accessibility

Published August 3, 2022

Many organizations today are demonstrating responsible leadership by focusing on digital accessibility. By investing in accessible websites and other accessible online platforms, companies can reaffirm their commitment to good accessibility practices and inclusion for all. Making digital accessibility a priority helps strengthen a company's brand, authenticity, and market credibility. 

Here’s how you can turn the focus on doing the right thing for your online users making your business a leader in digital accessibility.

Follow W3C Guidelines for Your Website

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has provided detailed guidelines that are considered the international standard for digital accessibility. These are driven by the POUR framework, which states that a website must be: (a) Perceivable; (b) Operable; (c) Understandable; and (d) Robust to be accessible. 

The POUR framework includes principles such as provision for simple navigation, easy keyboard shortcuts, voice search, selection of fonts and colors that users with vision impairment can read, and alternative text for images to describe them for use with a screen reader.

Human-Driven Accessibility Testing 

With many business websites, simple oversights in design can create barriers to accessibility. During the website development stage, the design team should consider how a person with a disability would access and use their site. 

When testing accessibility, the most accurate method is to work with people who experience visual, hearing, or mobility impairments. These testers can provide real-world feedback and proofing of the design concepts concerning digital accessibility. Web designers can gain valuable insights from this human-driven accessibility testing to build genuinely inclusive design.

Accessibility Statements that Show Commitment

A digital accessibility statement is essential to communicate an organizational commitment to an inclusive online experience for all. This statement can be simple and state the following facts: 

  • An outline of accessibility elements that have been tested and validated.
  • The exact standards used for testing and validating content.
  • Which areas are works in progress?
  • Who should someone contact if they are having accessibility issues?

Often websites include third-party apps like embedded contact forms, event calendars, staff directories, and e-shopping carts. Third-party compliance should be considered an extension of an organization’s internal compliance. The costs of not complying by following W3C guidelines can include accessibility lawsuits.

As technologies and guidelines change, these statements will need to be updated. Be transparent about what your organization is continuing to improve by sharing a timeline and steps in your accessibility statement. For instance, if testing for mobile accessibility has not been performed, mention it clearly in your statement with a deadline.  

Staying Updated on Web Accessibility Regulations

It’s critical to ensure that your web accessibility team is well-versed and regularly updated with laws that will impact their work. Leadership within the organization needs to take appropriate measures to remain compliant.

With support from a digital accessibility expert, you can navigate the evolving legal framework and continue to bridge the gaps in your online business presence. Most importantly, you should make web accessibility integral to your business culture. Embedding inclusive excellence into a company's everyday fiber will help them stay ahead of the regulatory requirements and lead the way in digital accessibility.

Digital Accessibility is the Right Choice

Digital accessibility is not a problem for tomorrow. It is a current business imperative, making it vital for companies to review their position and pursue a meaningful strategy to establish leadership in this area. Businesses must recognize that web accessibility in the digital era is not a privilege but a right of the consumers. More companies embracing full digital accessibility will help make the internet truly equitable and inclusive.   

AccessibilityPlus 2022 is proud of our role in promoting digital accessibility and equal access for all while recognizing there is much work to be done. As we welcome a new year in 2022, we have opened registration for AccessibilityPlus 2022, which will feature events dedicated to promoting actionable solutions in implementing digital accessibility initiatives. Registration is limited. For more information about the conference, speakers, and topics, please visit our AccessibilityPlus Event Calendar.

Registrations for our August event Add to Cart: Creating an Accessible e-Commerce Experience are now available at no cost for viewers for a limited time.