If you're new to the idea of accessible web development, we're here to help.
What is WCAG?
You may already be familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a set of rules for accommodating the needs of people with physical limitations. A common example of ADA at work is offering wheelchair ramps in addition to stairs. Well, those same principles are now being applied to the internet through the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The goal is to make digital spaces accessible to people with disabilities.
Why use WCAG?
Have you ever tried browsing a website without using a mouse? How about with your monitor turned off? That's what it can be like for people with disabilities who surf the internet. Many of these people use special devices like text readers or modified keyboards to visit websites. By using WCAG, we provide important information to the special devices used by people with:
- blindness and low vision
- deafness and hearing loss
- limited physical movement
- cognitive limitations
WCAG make websites better for all users. There are approximately 76 million web-savvy "baby boomers" who are spending more time online. Many of them experience vision and dexterity issues. Over 5 million people live with multiple sclerosis, palsy, and other degenerative diseases that limit their physical abilities.
By including people with a variety of physical, visual, and cognitive abilities, your services and products become available to more people. In that sense, ADA design is just good business. The major search engines can detect WCAG compliance and are more likely to send people to accessible websites. So, who wins? Everyone.
How we can help?
Depending on your needs and preferences, we can shoot for the basic level of WCAG (an A rating), or the highest level (an AAA rating). As website design and development experts, we'll make sure that meeting these goals is balanced with a brand-consistent experience. Using a variety of tools, each website we develop is tested and graded before launch.
Finding the balance between accessibility and elegant design is far from easy, but it's our conviction that great design and positive experiences for all can go hand in hand. In fact, we offer some examples of ADA compliant websites in another post as evidence.
We can also provide a comprehensive review of an existing website and, in many cases, retrofit it to meet WCAG requirements.