A website accessibility audit is required when companies need to determine if their website is following Web Content Accessibility Standards, also known as WCAG 2.1. These standards were developed to offer guidelines for website accessibility standards to meet the needs of people with limitations and disabilities.
The goal of a website accessibility audit is to detect present challenges that are preventing people with limitations and disabilities from successfully accessing the website. These challenges lead to frustrating experiences for these users as they too rely on the Internet in their daily activities. That’s why a web accessibility audit is also called a conformance evaluation because it needs to evaluate compliance with corresponding laws and standards.
What is accessibility?
Accessibility comprises accommodations for users with different disability forms like visual, hearing, mobility and cognitive. As each of these disabilities is quite unique, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides the above-mentioned WCAG 2.1 guidelines to ensure all compliance aspects are met to satisfy specific needs.
However, even going through these guidelines, one might get easily confused when going through the measures required for an accessible website. In other words, if your website is not developed and designed with web accessibility as the main criteria, you will need to audit it.
Types of audit
Such an audit can be done with the help of software or completely conducted by a human. Software audits will usually be the first step when testing ADA compliant websites as they will detect possible issues that indicate the lack of compliance with WCAG 2.1 guidelines. These software audits are very valuable to consultants as they quickly identify challenging areas and help them to determine the following steps.
Once you have your website accessibility audit, either you will take the suggested steps or you will hire a web accessibility consultant to implement them for you. As software audit is limited when it comes to technical accessibility issues, it’s vital to get a wealth of information from a professional, also known as a manual audit. It will identify the false positives reported in the software audit and ensure the accessibility issues are not overlooked.
There are several reasons why your website should be accessible. The most important one is that by having an inclusive website, you are avoiding compliance and legal risk. By ignoring accessibility, your organization is at risk for serious accessibility complaints and lawsuits.
When talking about benefits, having an accessible website might tremendously increase your potential market share. After all, it’s estimated that around 65 million people in the United States have a limitation or disability. Making sure that your website is accessible to them will get you a long way.
You have the website audit in your hands and now what? Based on the web accessibility audit process, it’s important to take action from the detailed report which outlines all web accessibilities issues.
As you will be delivered a personalized plan that addresses these issues effectively, also known as the Corrective Action Plan, website accessibility professionals will work with you and your team to determine a path going forward. During this process, you can usually expect executive leadership and internal technical resources. Such high-quality guidance will ensure you’re solving these issues in the most efficient way.
Who to hire?
When talking about website accessibility audit, getting that report is only the beginning. You will need to make sure you have all resources needed for your Corrective Action Plan. In other words, you will probably need to think about a designer as many of the addressed issues will probably be related to the design of your website. And, you will probably find even more issues concerning web development.
As a good developer is not that easy to find, we recommend you look for professionals in your area. For instance, if in New York, search for web development NY, and apply the same formula for any other city. Of course, if you want a certain agency or a professional from a different state, don’t hesitate to reach out to them as your Corrective Action Plan can easily be implemented with a remote team as well.