A set of guidelines, called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or (WCAG) have been developed over the years through the W3C Process with the goal of providing a single shared standard for website content accessibility. Around the world, WCAG is not just a recommendation for how online content should be formatted, but it is often codified into accessibility regulations. The current version is WCAG 2.1. There are three levels of WCAG compliance:
- Level A — This is the lowest standards level and includes relatively easy accessibility enhancements to make.
- Level AA — This is the intermediate level and contains enhancements that are more difficult to implement but also includes increased accessibility enhancements.
- Level AAA — This is the highest level and is the most difficult to meet.
Currently, the most common goal for accessibility for most organizations is Level AA.
In addition to WCAG, in the United States there are Section 508 Guidelines. These guidelines require federal agencies to make their websites highly accessible. These guidelines are often also used in state and local government, nonprofits, and education spaces.
The Section 508 guidelines are not as comprehensive as WCAG. Generally any developer who complies with WCAG standards will automatically follow Section 508 as well.
Common Accessibility Issues
Websites can be a challenge to navigate due to poor design and programming techniques not only those with disabilities but the general population as well. Some common accessibility Issues include:
- Low contrast – If color contrasts are not distinct enough, vision impaired users may not be able to read the content or fill out text boxes.
- Poor site structure – If a site is full of fancy fonts, flashing banners, and random popups someone with dyslexia will have extreme difficulty navigating the site.
- Images without alt tags (tags describing the image and its contents) – Vision impaired visitors will need this information coupled with a screen reader
- Poorly designed contact us and order forms – Forms need clear labels and supplementary instructions within the forms.
- Mobility impaired or blind users need the ability to navigate the site with the keyboard rather than the mouse.
What to Do?
If you feel like your website does not meet up to WCAG AA, you can reach out to us at Moore Tech Solutions and we can help you to bring your site up to standard using some very easy to implement accessibility tools. For more information on our Website Accessibility tools please read through our full post about it here.