Ada Accessibility Accessibe

Running an agency? Don't fall for these web accessibility myths

accessiBe

|

Open Mic article

This content is produced by a publishing partner of Open Mic.

Open Mic is the self-publishing platform for the marketing industry, allowing members to publish news, opinion and insights on thedrum.com.

Find out more

January 4, 2023 | 6 min read

Web accessibility, the inclusive practice of making websites accessible, may be gaining more recognition and traction in the offline and online spaces, but it’s still quite unknown in some business domains

As an agency, whose clients are expecting you to inform them of web accessibility, you may encounter objections from clients that derive from certain “myths” which, unfortunately, keep web accessibility off their radar and their websites.

Clients may be unaware of the truth behind web accessibility laws and regulations, the effect it has on their website’s design, and the business-friendly technology that enhances the ability to maintain the practice as part of their daily activities. These misconceptions make it difficult to get them aboard the web accessibility train, but by debunking these myths, we can further educate your clients and enable them to promote awareness and inclusion, while directing them to create a stronger website experience and presence at the same time.

Myth 1: Only developers can make a website accessible

Web accessibility is no longer just the sole responsibility of web developers. Sure, the technical aspects of a website usually come down to a developer’s knowledge and building abilities but for an agency helping their client make their website accessible, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Automated technologies can now simply be integrated into a website at either the initial stage of development or within existing code, and can be installed by whoever is responsible for maintaining and operating the website at hand. A CEO, a project manager, a digital marketing manager - you name it! - can take responsibility for the accessible functions of a website by simply copying and pasting a snippet of code into the utilized CMS or hosting platform of choice. The maintenance of such accessibility on that same website must be monitored and overseen, true, but the technology or solution installed does the heavy lifting for an agency and its client, remediating new or updated content on a regular basis.

Web accessibility doesn’t need to fall completely on the shoulders of a developer; an appointed professional, regardless of position, can become accountable for the implementation and management of web accessibility technology that makes the inclusive practice business-friendly for everyone.

Myth 2: Accessibility will negatively impact my website’s aesthetics

Web accessibility will do the exact opposite of disrupting your clients’ website design or overall look and feel. In fact, today’s web accessibility solutions and technologies are far more likely to clean up the UX and UI design of a website, making it easier to navigate and in general, more pleasing to the eye.

This doesn’t require a website to be designed in a plain and ordinary manner; actually, websites with color and interesting patterns can still be experienced by people with disabilities. But, these solutions that are integrated into your clients’ websites can be tailored during a browsing session by those with disabilities to make them suitable to the particular characteristics of the user who has entered the website. This allows the website’s aesthetic to maintain its unique look or design, without affecting the source code and still including everyone in the site’s experience. It’s really a win-win-win situation when you think about it.

Myth 3: Compliance is optional for some businesses

Different laws and regulations might be directed at varying types of industries and businesses, but rest assured, any and all of your clients are expected to conform to web accessibility legislation.

Public sector organizations, private entities that receive federal funds, and commercial facilities are all expected to conform to WCAG 2.0 standards, which are mandatory under U.S. laws such as Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These legislations fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA applies to all organizations that constitute as:

  • Local, county, state, and federal government agencies
  • Private companies that employ 15 people or more
  • Non Profit organizations that employ 15 people or more
  • Any business or organization that relies on the general public for their benefit

All other types of businesses and organizations must comply with the Equality Act of 2010 which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in any capacity. Therefore, the chance that your client’s website needs to be accessible is quite high and most likely present.

Myth 4: Web accessibility is only for blind users

People who are blind are absolutely using your clients’ websites. But, even with the estimated 13% of adult Americans who live with blindness or low vision, the remainder of the disability community needs to be accounted for and included online. Those with cognitive or neurological disabilities, mobility disabilities, and auditory disabilities are also using your clients’ websites. So, adjusting a site for screen readers is simply not enough, and in turn, discriminates against the disability communities as a whole.

For example, those with epilepsy who are at risk of seizures need to be able to pause flashing elements. Just as someone with ADHD uses a “focus” feature to avoid distracting elements that could take away from the context or other elements of a page. So, it’s absolutely crucial that your clients understand that the new, automated technologies we discussed earlier include more than just users with low vision or blindness in their website’s experiences and offers; these solutions adjust their websites to ensure that anyone with any kind of disability can get the most out of their website, too.

Myths debunked

Addressing these myths and debunking them with your clients can only enhance your agency’s ability to offer web accessibility as a service, but it’s also a means to promoting inclusion and awareness for the disability communities who deserve equal access to the world wide web. It’s imperative that we take down these stereotypes associated with web accessibility because they deter businesses from implementing the practice and joining a revolution that will completely reshape the way we live, interact, and buy online.

Ada Accessibility Accessibe

Trending

Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +