Did you know that 98% of the web's top 1,000,000 pages are completely inaccessible, with an average of 60 accessibility violations per page on the majority of the sites?
Additionally, lawsuits filed for non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have significantly increased over the past few years, with 10,982 suits filed in federal court in 2020.
If you work in the tech industry, these statistics may already be on your radar, and perhaps you’ve even begun researching how you can improve accessibility - but now, more than ever, is the time to make taking action a top priority.
Accessibility all boils down to building digital products that allow for an equal experience for all people, taking into consideration users with both permanent and/or temporary physical or mental disabilities. Ultimately, web products should be designed to allow anyone to equally find, navigate, and understand your web software.
Unfortunately the ADA has not created any set guidelines for what makes a website accessible or where to start - however, it is widely accepted and recommended to begin by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG for short).
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are a series of guides that offer technical requirements one can follow to ensure accessibility in a product. These guidelines were created and continue to be updated by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web, setting the international standard for global web accessibility. The latest version of WCAG is version 2.2 updated in May 2021.
In order to meet the needs of different users and situations, WCAG 2.2 is categorized into 3 levels of conformance.
This is the minimal level of compliance that would prohibit using any elements that would make your web product inaccessible for users with disabilities.
This level includes Level A and is the acceptable level of compliance dealing with the biggest and most common barriers for disabled users. Also, the most popular to follow for global accessibility rules and regulations.
Level AAA: This level includes Level A & Level AA and is the optimal level of compliance that ensures all different user's web experiences are completely equal. (Not recommended as a requirement since it could potentially be impossible to guarantee complete compliance in certain use cases).
Following Level AA will more than likely be the best choice to avoid any litigation* and improve accessibility with your product. To ensure that your product is accessible to all, make sure to download our ultimate ADA compliance checklist here.
There’s a lot of information available when it comes to creating accessible web products, but to help kick you off, below are some of the most popular tools and Yeti favorite resources:
World Wide Web Consortium- An international community focused on developing accessibility standards. Home of all WCAG guidelines.
Material - A design system- backed by open-source code- that helps teams build high-quality digitally accessible experiences. (Made by Google.)
WAVE - A suite of web evaluation tools that plugin to your browser and help identify accessibility and WCAG errors
axe Dev Tools - similar to Wave, a great resource for accessibility testing powered by axe-core, an accessibility testing engine.
React Aria - A library of React Hooks to build accessible React Native UI primitives for your design systems.
Jest aXe - Used to integrate aXe automated accessibility testing in code
Stark - Baked right into Figma, Sketch, Adobe XD and Google Chrome, Stake makes designing with accessibility in mind incredibly easy.
Designmodo’s guide to making images and videos accessible.
A11Y Project - A community-driven effort to make digital accessibility easier complete with comprehensive resources including a checklist for the WCAG guidelines. There is also a great community of folks to connect with in regards to developing all things accessible.
Try to follow our WCAG AA Compliance Checklist as well as making sure to follow your own research on accessibility for your web product. We’re here to guide you, please don't hesitate to reach out and learn more about how Yeti can help you improve the accessibility of your product.
*Readers should contact a professional or an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this article without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.
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