Everyone can contribute to ensuring digital accessibility. The new Section 508 Standards of the Rehabilitation Act require that persons provide content that is accessible to people with disabilities. This is particularly true for those who write for the government. Government websites are expected to be accessible to the general public. Protected content is inaccessible to stakeholders, particularly those who require the most information. Here are a few reasons why making things more accessible is useful and why it may be a bad idea if you don’t follow the steps below.
Consider using QualityLogic to help you create content for your website. You’ll get access to a team of professionals that can assist you in developing a user-friendly website that will attract more customers and help you establish your brand more swiftly.
Using the Internet to Get Around Physical Obstacles
The capacity to obtain information is becoming increasingly vital in today’s digital age. As a result, websites and other digital resources must be made available to people with a wide range of abilities and limitations.
There are a number of ways to ensure that people can access your website or other online content. Check that your site can be accessed by a screen reader, that images have alternate text, and that the site can be used with only a keyboard. Making your website or other digital resources open to the general public is a step toward ensuring that they are accessible to everyone.
Increasing Your Customer Base While Retaining Others
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every four Americans has a handicap (CDC). Making your stuff more accessible allows your audience to use your services and goods and learn more about your company. It will also make it easier for clients to use your services and increase the frequency with which they do so.
All Users’ Usability Has Improved
Many of the adjustments implemented to address disabled users’ concerns actually make the site simpler to use for all users, not just those with impairments. A common household item might hold the key to a more inclusive digital world.
Links should accurately depict the information to which they lead for screen reader users. It is vital to notify all users about what they may see if they all click the same link. When a chart is too hard to read, a data table or alternate language is provided to help all users better comprehend the data, making it simpler to utilize and communicate accurate data and providing support in explaining data.
Regulations Regarding Internet Access
To our knowledge, the US Department of Justice has not yet updated the ADA to include internet accessibility as a mandate. Instead, it sticks to its long-held belief that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies in this instance.
However, the problem of internet access might be used to bolster other laws. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandates government agencies to provide information to people with disabilities in accessible formats. If they are unable to make the data and information on these platforms accessible to people with disabilities, they must provide an alternative option. Disabled and non-disabled people should have equal access to public spaces.
The Communications Act of 1934 was updated in 2010 by the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CCVA), which added new criteria for making current technologies accessible to people with disabilities. Title II of the legislation has several regulations designed to ensure that all Americans have equitable access to televisions, television services, television programs, and internet streaming media. Title I of the Act specifies the requirements for providing “advanced” telecommunications equipment and services.
Directive (EU) 2016/2102 was released in 2016 to define accessibility requirements for the whole European Union. This meant that all EU member states’ laws were consistent. An EU directive outlines a general goal but leaves execution to the member states.
What Happens If You Disobey the Law?
Consider the situation in which content creators do not make their work available. If this happens, it might have a number of effects, including making their information less accessible, valuable, and enjoyable for their customers.
The number of lawsuits brought against firms and organizations that have not complied with Section 508 has increased in the last decade. Following the 508 examples can assist government entities in avoiding costly lawsuits and the associated implications (such as unfavorable publicity and public opinion).
If you want to meet Section 508 requirements, you’ll most likely need to add any documents or features that aren’t already accessible. As a result, prices, effort, and waste have increased. This extra effort costs time and money, frustrates content suppliers, impedes program and project delivery, and affects the company’s reputation among stakeholders. If you want to buy something truly unique, you may need to request additional bids and make more purchases. This would be more difficult and expensive to do.
If their needs are not met on a regular basis, users with disabilities may be obliged to seek assistance elsewhere, and users without disabilities may decide not to use your services as a result.
Furthermore, if you do not provide enough adjustments for your disabled employees, they may be less productive. As a result, it would only be able to keep such a varied range of exceptional people. According to studies, a more diversified staff improves a company’s overall profitability, particularly in strategic planning. Furthermore, if your hiring process requires inaccessible applicant interfaces, papers, forms, and so on, you may be unable to recruit qualified people with disabilities.
As more businesses see the benefits of hiring people from varied backgrounds and catering to a diverse clientele, the need for a consistent, consensus-based growth plan becomes clear. If a company has a track record of not buying or deploying accessible digital solutions, it is not properly assisting people with disabilities. Businesses will be less likely to manufacture accessible products and services on a regular basis if a government agency has a history of purchasing or selling accessible digital solutions by accident.
Maintaining compliance with digital accessibility regulations is critical to your organization’s success. However, it is a significant task, so plan accordingly. It would help if you considered where to start or how connected you are right now. QualityLogic will evaluate your present systems and processes and provide you with a free consultation. They can work together to develop a plan that works for you. Visit www.qualitylogic.com for more details.