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5 Reasons to Make Your Website Accessible and ADA Compliant (and The Easiest Way to Do It)

by | Jul 21, 2022 | News

Over the course of the last couple of years, the world has changed. As a culture, we are doing our best to focus on equity and inclusion and this desire extends beyond in-person behaviors and interactions and how buildings and interiors are built.

It extends to the accessibility of a website.

You’d want a person who is blind or uses a wheelchair to have easy access to your restaurant or retail store, right? Well, your website is another opportunity to communicate that you care about being inclusive to all people, especially since your website is one of your most important tools to make a great first impression.

An accessible website is a chance to use your marketing and communication assets to show that you are welcoming of all people, including people with disabilities. And if that’s not reason enough, it’s important for all businesses and organizations to realize that website accessibility and ADA compliance is becoming an essential part of owning a website if you want to:

  • maintain site performance
  • strengthen user experience
  • and—from what we are learning about online accessibility legislation—comply with existing and emerging regulations.

As a Certified B Corp, accessibility has been on our radar for years. And we are always looking for ways to increase our positive impact and help our clients do the same. So, after in-depth research, we knew we had to spread the word when we learned of an easy and affordable way to make websites accessible.

We’ll tell you about that technology in this post. But first, we hope the following answers to popular questions about website accessibility help you understand why it’s important to make your website accessible and inspire you to take action. 

What is web accessibility?

According to Hubspot, “Web accessibility is the practice of making websites usable for all visitors, including those with disabilities, impairments, and limitations. Web accessibility involves following certain design principles which ensure that people who experience difficulties or limitations have the same or a similar experience as those who do not. Accessibility is an important goal for websites, as it gives all users equal access to your content.”

The good news is you don’t have to guess which rules or guidelines to follow. There is a set of rules, behaviors, code standards, and design guidelines established by the W3C’s (The World Wide Web Consortium) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1). Governments around the world have adopted these standards and included them in various legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 508, EN 301549, and others.

What is an inclusive and accessible website?

It is a website that follows the guidelines established in the WCAG that help you achieve ADA compliance. ADA compliance is important because a court ruled in the Gil v. Winn-Dixie decision that websites are considered “public accommodations” under the ADA. This means that owners of inaccessible websites could be held liable for not meeting compliance requirements. 

Why should I make my website accessible to achieve ADA compliance?

Here are five reasons we are excited to build better websites for our clients and the good folks who use their websites:

1. An accessible and compliant website is good for business.

One in four adults in the United States lives with a disability. If your website isn’t a safe or welcoming place for this large community or if they cannot access your content easily, then they might find another business or organization with a website that better meets their needs and build a long-time connection with them instead of you.

2. An accessible and compliant website improves site performance and SEO.

Accessibility improves user experience which can, in turn, lead to people spending more time on your website. This can boost performance and lead to more conversions. 

3. An accessible and compliant website mitigates legal risk.

If your website is not accessible, you open yourself and your business or organization up to potential legal troubles. It’s best to get a head of what could be an increase in legal compliance issues and get the peace of mind knowing that your website is compliant.

4. An accessible and compliant website demonstrates you are a responsible and inclusive business.

This is the “it’s the right thing to do” argument, and it’s a solid case. Making your website accessible has never been easier or more affordable. It can sometimes be difficult to know how to translate your values into clear outcomes within your purview. But this is a clear and tangible way to put your principles into practice.

5. An accessible and compliant website improves functionality for all users.

Features that benefit people with disabilities also improve the experience of all visitors. This is called the “curb-cut effect.” Think about how we all benefit from curb cuts in our neighborhoods. Some users will appreciate the customization of an experience that fits their needs.

How do I know if my website is accessible?

Use the free ADA & WCAG compliance checker by clicking here. How did you score?  You can type our website pixelparlor.com into the same checker and see our score. Spoiler alert: we got a 100. We aren’t here to brag, but we are proud of this. We are sharing our score because we are excited about this new technology that made it easy to make our site accessible. Plus, we appreciate having the confidence to know we are compliant with the WCAG 2.1 level AA and “walk the talk” of a purpose-driven business and Certified B Corp.

How do you make your site accessible?

There are several options to make your website accessible and achieve ADA and WCAG compliance. In the past, it was complicated, time-consuming, and expensive to complete the manual tasks associated with meeting accessibility guidelines. But now there are powerful tools that use machine learning and AI to make the process easier and more affordable. Pixel Parlor conducted in-depth research and built relationships with several ADA Compliant vendors for creating accessible websites. And we are excited about working with accessiBe for their easy implementation and cost-effective approach. Installing accessiBe on our website played a huge role in taking out the guesswork and eliminating many complicated manual tasks so we could make our website accessible and ADA compliant.  For us, the decision to make our website accessible was an easy decision so we were glad that the process was so easy because of accessiBe.

What is an example of an accessible and compliant website?

You can test drive accessiBe’s machine learning-powered solutions on our website. If you scroll down, you will see “Accessibility” in the footer. When you click on this link, a simple menu pops up where users can personalize their experience based on their needs. 

For example, people who are blind can easily use screen-readers (JAWS, NVDA) to read this blog post. Or people with motor impairments who use only keyboards can customize their experience. And people with a variety of other disabilities such as color blindness, epilepsy, and minor visual impairments have choices to adjust color contrasts, animations, and fonts to make their user experience safe, welcoming, and useful. 

Another cool feature? From the accessiBe widget’s menu interface, toggle the ADHD Friendly website option. This specific feature helps people with ADHD limit distractions while reading content. But it’s easy to see how this feature could help lots of readers who want to limit distraction. Check it out to see how easy it is to toggle the feature on and off. 

Plus, the widget’s menu interface is just one aspect of accessiBe’s machine learning-powered solutions. Behind the scenes, it scans your website every 24 hours to automatically maintain compliance. We were impressed by the “set it and forget it” aspect of this technology and the peace of mind it brings. 

You can also check out other examples of sites from companies like Hulu, Hilton, BMW, and more by clicking here.

Who can help me make my site accessible?

You can implement accessiBe on your website by downloading the accessiBe plugin and implementing it into the back-end of your website.

You can also partner with a web design and development team to set it up for you.

We have already started installing the accessiBe plugin on our clients’ websites and would be happy to help you. Send us an email at [email protected] and we can get you set up.

Many clients find that working with a designer or developer gives them peace of mind that the plugin is installed and working the way it should.

How does accessiBe make it easier to make your website accessible and compliant?

accessiBe uses AI and machine learning to save you time and money. It gets to work in seconds and eliminates time-consuming manual tasks and guesswork. This is how they describe their technology: “AI machine learning technology uses contextual understanding and computer vision to address the complex, back-end requirements needed for screen reader and keyboard navigation adjustments.”

What does an accessible website look like? What’s the visual impact on a site?

Websites with accessiBe do not look any different for the majority of users than they did before you installed the plug-in. The accessibility features are only activated when a user turns on the interface or by a screen reader if the user is blind.

Does accessiBe alter any of the accessibility efforts I’ve already made like ALT tags or titles?

No, accessiBe will not override your ALT tags, titles, or any other manual accessibility work that has been done.  As a studio, we will be working with our clients to roll out accessiBe to all upcoming websites prior to launch, as well as reaching out to our clients whose sites we maintain. It will help both the studio and our clients:

  • each a higher level of inclusivity in our work and 
  • bring our messages to the greater population of our world. 
This is even more important for our mission-based, purpose-driven clients and the folks who need the essential information that our clients provide.  Clients who are not into it can opt out. But we are proud to provide this level of inclusion for our clients and end-users.  We hope you will come along on this wave of inclusivity with us.

Need help making your website more accessible?

Get in touch with us and we’ll get you set up so you know your site represents your values of inclusion.