ADA, WCAG 2.1 & Section 508 Compliance

Accessibility

Making your site accessible is now critical.

ADA Accessible Websites are a requirement today.

Most people, when we mention making your site ADA accessible react as if we had two heads.  When we first heard of this a couple of years ago we were stumped.  A large client that owns 140 restaurants was frantic to get an ADA compliant site up and working before they got served with papers. Even we asked, "Why does a website need to be ADA compliant?"

As we did our research we found that our clients' fears were well-founded and we set out to learn more about it. As we did we learned quickly that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is being interpreted to include websites as “places of public accommodation” by U.S. Courts.

Accessibility focuses on how a disabled person accesses or benefits from a site, system, or application. Accessibility is an integral part of the design of your site and should be considered throughout the development process. Section 508 is the governing principle and it requires that all government information be accessible to disabled users. 

This was confounding, but we quickly learned that companies were charging $10,000 or more just to audit your site and tell you what you needed to do to become compliant. Then another $25,000 to implement what they found in the audit, and another $10,000 - $25,000 to maintain the compliance and any changes or updates to the site. This was absolutely insane. Many of our customers did not invest the cost of the audit on their site. So we searched for a solution that was economical and made their sites compliant.

ADA Accessible Websites Are a Requirement Today. When creating digital content, make sure to consider the following:

  • Do not rely on color as a navigational tool or as the sole way to differentiate items
  • Images should include Alt text in the markup/code; complex images should have more extensive descriptions near the image (perhaps as a caption or descriptive summaries built right into a neighboring paragraph)
  • Functionality should be accessible through mouse and keyboard and be tagged to worked with voice-control systems
  • Provide transcripts for podcasts
  • If you have a video on your site, you must provide visual access to the audio information through in-sync captioning
  • Sites should have a skip navigation feature
Blind man accessible website

Implementing Accessibility

Accessible sites present information through multiple sensory channels, such as sound and sight, and they allow for additional means of site navigation and interactivity beyond the typical point-and-click-interface: keyboard-based control and voice-based navigation. The combination of a multi-sensory approach and a multi-interactivity approach allows disabled users to access the same information as non-disabled users.

Web Accessibility for the Motor Impaired When creating digital content, make sure to consider the following:

Optimization for keyboard navigation used by people with Parkinson's disease and other motor impairments. People who suffer from Parkinson's, amputees, or other impairments are unable to use a mouse effectively. They use computers with their keyboards only while utilizing a selected number of keys.

The aha! solution automatically ensures that a website is fully navigable using the TAB key alone, including drop-down menus, popups, and forms. Moreover, all navigable elements are given visible focuses and are clickable using ENTER.

The aha! Accessibility Solution that Ensures Ongoing Compliance

Many sites that are built to be accessible lose their level of compliance as soon as the first update is implemented. After just one year, entire sections of the site become non-compliant.

This happens as software on your site is updated for feature enhancements, bug fixes,  and security updates. These changes and additions do not undergo accessibility adjustments, which, in turn, create “accessibility gaps” on the site.

As an example, WordPress updates happen usually twice a month on average, and the plugins that are used to add functionality to the site are also regularly updated. The more updates that occur, the more gaps the website has. This results in the site becoming non-compliant in about 6 -12 months. With aha! Accessibility, this is not a concern, as the site is rescanned every 24-hours. 

We see this happen every day on websites that have paid thousands of dollars to be compliant, and because our clients hold us responsible, we needed to find a way to address the issue. As a result, we did not frequently offer ADA compliance unless specifically requested by a client.

We have worked to provide a solution that doesn't need us to audit and analyze the website constantly, that cost would become prohibitive. So, we now offer a solution that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to do exactly that.

These technologies, scan, analyze, and decipher your website every 48 hours, thereby assuring you that your site is compliant and accessible at all times, regardless of any updates you may post, or that we may make to the WordPress software used to build your site.

What are the costs?

We recently visited the site of an industry leader in ADA compliance to see what the cost of going through a website, making it ADA compliant, and then updating the site. We based this on a relatively simple site, similar to our site, we told them it was a content-only site with just 25 pages, and assuming a monthly blog and monthly software updates. They wanted $14,163 to audit the site and document the issues, another $25,423 to Plan, Fix and Verify, and then another $17,093 a year to maintain the compliance for updates. So the total damage would be over $56,679 the first year and then $17,000 each year moving forward. I would rather be sued than spend that kind of money.

aha! Accessibility utilizes Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to achieve the same result and can do so in days, not weeks or even months. For this same website, our solution would be under $500 a year . 

ADA Compliance by a Competitor

Will it work on my site?

First of all, it is important to understand that the aha! Accessibility system can fully operate on any site, in any system, and even without any system at all. Our system works on the client-side and is not dependent on the server or the server-side language on which your site is built.

Our solution has been installed in many different systems, which are built-in different server languages such as NET, Java, Python, NODE.JS, and PHP of course. Some of the systems it works on include the obvious ones like; WordPress, Joomla, Wix, Magento, and other popular sites: .NET Nuke, Umbraco, Drupal, Webflow, Weebly, Instapage, PrestaShop, SquareSpace, Blogger, Volution, BigCommerce, Confluence, dotCMS, DJANGO, Plone, Ghost (node.js) and many others.

As you might understand by now, there is no connection between the system on which the site is built on, to whether our accessibility solution will work on the site or not.