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How to Overcome The Digital Accessibility Challenge

In our increasingly digitized society, it’s essential that business ensure their online platforms, whether they be websites, apps, or other forms of digital content, is accessible to all. With over 40 million Americans living with some form of disability, the need for digital accessibility isn’t just a societal requirement but also a business necessity.

However, many firms grapple with prioritizing this issue due to factors such as cost implications or technical difficulties which result in millions being unable to fully utilize the various online services that have become so integral in the modern world.

This article aims at sharing actionable strategies and best practices that any company can adopt to achieve adequate digital accessibility. We will walk through the steps on how to initiate your journey and how you might implement the ideas within your organization.

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Get Familiar With Digital Accessibility Requirements

Digital accessibility is a vital pillar of inclusivity in online spaces, transcending user ability. Businesses must grasp the nuances of the idea and spirit behind digital accessibility to surmount its challenges effectively. Essentially, this means creating an online environment that caters to individuals who may have disabilities such as visual, auditory, physical, or cognitive impairments.

In order to succeed in this endeavor, there are numerous established standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). A thorough understanding of these stipulations can help companies pinpoint potential obstab]cles and develop powerful solutions for them. 

Moreover, in order to ensure that those with disabilities aren’t left behind, the government has implemented multiple initiatives. One such piece of legislation is Section 508, and while its intentions are good, its requirements can be fiendishly complicated to enact.

That’s why most businesses and agencies will turn to ADA Compliance Pros to help them come into compliance and ensure their digital properties can be accessed by all who visit them. More than just solving issues, though, mastering this discipline paves the way for more intuitive and inclusive website design.

This enhances user experience and broadens a company’s reach by tapping into an overlooked demographic, thereby making further strides toward genuine inclusivity.

Create An Accessibility Policy Statement

Creating an accessibility policy statement is a crucial step in tackling any accessibility obstacles your organization may face. This statement should distinctly communicate your organization’s dedication to making all facets of your digital presence available and usable to every individual requiring its use.

The policy should highlight specific targets and strategies along with a timeline for execution. It must also detail the measures your business will implement to adhere to all current and relevant accessibility guidelines and legislation.

The creation of this statement illustrates your pledge toward creating a more inclusive environment for your users and clear the path toward reaching these goals. Your accessibility manifesto news has high visibility on your company website, ensuring that all stakeholders, from your employees to your partners, can access it and fully comprehend your objectives.

Carry Out An Audit Into The Accessibility Of Your Various Digital Offerings

Performing an audit is a crucial stride in getting to grips with the tasks you may face on your journey toward better accessibility. An audit will scrutinize your website, app, or other digital content to ascertain whether it complies with the various laws and guidelines vis-a-vis digital accessibility.

It will identify any and all issues that could impede disabled people from accessing your content and should suggest solutions you should be able to utilize to ensure that anyone visiting your platforms can use it, regardless of ability.

It’s advised to outsource this procedure to specialists who are skilled in conducting this specific type of audit, as it is unlikely that you will have the staff on hand to carry it out. Moreover, companies dedicated to compliance issues will be up to date with any changes in the law and be better positioned to offer suggestions for resolving the problems that arise.

Train Your Design And Development Teams In Accessible Design Principles

If you choose to go down the outsourcing route, you will gain tremendous insight into where you’re going wrong. You can use this data to inform your design and development teams on what they need to do regarding the results. Equipping your teams with appropriate knowledge and expertise in crafting accessible digital products ensures that accessibility becomes a core part of your design process right from inception.

This education can encompass various subjects, such as the tenets of inclusive design, methods for testing accessibility, assistive technology usage, and user-friendly content creation. It’s crucial to have continuous training sessions so that your staff remains current on all evolving best practices and guidelines regarding accessibility.

Investing time and resources into this initiative fosters an atmosphere where inclusivity is valued within the company, ensuring every digital product caters to people regardless of their abilities or limitations.

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Create A Platform Where Everyone Can Access The Content

Once your development team is on board, you can begin designing new ways of interacting with your site that allow your website to be accessible to everyone. The aim is to ensure that people with disabilities can engage with your online content as effectively as those without. Key considerations are:

  • Providing image captions
  • Maintaining language simplicity and clarity
  • Ensuring enough color contrast
  • Refraining from using flashing or rapidly changing visuals which could induce seizures in people living with epilepsy

By incorporating these concepts into the design process, you’ll be able to develop digital platforms that are open to everyone, regardless of their capabilities or impairments. 

Conduct Tests Using Various Assistive Technologies

Once you have your team on the job and have begun the transformation process, you’ll want to make sure to perform extensive testing to ensure you aren’t taking two steps forward and one step back. Fortunately, when it comes to digital accessibility, a plethora of tools are available to make this job slightly less challenging.

By examining your content through the various assistive technologies that currently exist, you will discover and eliminate potential bottlenecks that could derail the whole project. Experts in the field usually advise evaluating your work using several different assistive platforms to ensure the broadest access possible. 

Ensure That Your Site Is Compatible With Screen Readers

Ensuring compatibility with screen readers is crucial to helping the visually impaired use your site efficiently and without hindrance. In order to make your website or application user-friendly, it’s vital it works seamlessly with these types of assistive technologies.

The reason why this is a separate point from the previous one is that visual impairment is often a tricky obstacle to overcome and requires a different thought process to cover. It involves adhering to web development best practices like using appropriate HTML markup, supplying alternative text descriptions for images, and labeling any form fields appropriately (particularly crucial if your users need to enter personal or financial details).

In other words, it requires a great deal of attention to detail.

Furthermore, testing your site across different screen readers (are you starting to see a pattern here?) will help to confirm full compatibility, thereby ensuring your users can effectively navigate and interact with every aspect of the website. 

It Is Important To Provide Customer Service That Is Easily Accessible

If you really want to go above and beyond, it’s vital to have a customer service approach that inclusive of all and easily usable when a disabled user might have issues surrounding the use of your platform. This will include ensuring every customer or user, irrespective of their ability level, can readily engage with and receive support from your service team.

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A variety of communication channels, such as phone calls, email, and even live chat, should be readily available to all customers to select according to their preferences. The outlier here could be your live chat functionality, primarily if you use a third party.

If this is the case, you will need to either contact the developer and see if it’s possible for them to enact changes to their product that comply with disability legislation or to develop your own. Furthermore, your service team needs thorough training on how best to interact with and aid persons with disabilities. Establish guidelines addressing any concerns related to accessibility.

Keep An Eye On Your Adjustments And Make Improvements As New Guidelines Emerge

As you venture toward enhancing your digital accessibility policies, it’s vital to have a robust system for tracking and refining these initiatives. This will involve frequent audits, gathering feedback from disabled users, and effecting changes based on this input.

Furthermore, keeping abreast with the most recent guidelines and best practices in digital accessibility is necessary, alongside educating staff about crafting accessible online content. Taking an aggressive stance towards improving accessibility measures continuously ensures that every user, including those with disabilities, can engage seamlessly with the business’s online material.

Enacting measures to ensure your online presence is accessible to all who visit them isn’t merely a nice thing; it’s a business necessity. Not only will you lose out on a considerable amount of business if you were to ignore this huge demographic, but you may also run into legal trouble.

Fortunately, you have numerous options to enhance your internet visibility, including the ideas mentioned throughout this post.

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