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Web Accessibility Answers


The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requires rules to be followed anywhere the public is served to ensure that all visitors are accommodated. This often means having ramps, elevators, lights, and appropriate signage when discussing buildings. The goal is to ensure that all visitors can gain the same information, services, or value regardless of their condition or disability.

On a Federal Level, courts have interpreted ADA to apply to websites as places of public accommodation. This does make sense, in that our website is often our office, store, and even our salesforce that works 24/7. Like buildings, websites have similar rules that work to make sure that everyone who comes in can have access to information. Furthermore, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies and those receiving federal funds to ensure electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. A public-interest non-profit organization called the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was formed to clarify matters. They developed internally accepted web standards called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG. These are consistently being updated, with the current version (WCAG 2.2) released in October 2023.

Most states require that websites adhere to the accepted WCAG guidelines; however, the guidelines read like a giant legal textbook. In sum, the standards explore four basic principles. Is your site:

Perceivable. Are visitors aware of all available content? For example, if one has vision issues, can the content be understood through screen reader software?

Operable. Can your visitors use your site without disruption? Can they utilize all of the functions, navigate through all menu items, and play all videos?

Understandable. Can visitors understand both the written and graphic content? Is it digestible and easy to find?

Robust. Is the content robust enough to be interpreted by folks with various assistive technologies?

Websites should be developed with these basic principles in mind. On a base level, the design, content, and navigation should be developed to enable easy finding and understanding by all visitors. A website should be created using a responsive design or one that will adjust for you depending on the device you have.

Accessibility is big business. States monitor websites, and liability is real, meaning there is a market that wants to profit. Sites that check accessibility and offer "free reports" are prevalent, and sales representatives aspiring to sell new websites or remediation software are ever-present. Scare tactics are often used and it's often hard to know who to trust and what information is correct.

Many online sources are available for you to use to "check" your site for accessibility. Many, such as the one found at, will even offer details on what could or should be modified to ensure compliance. Remember that countless efforts can be taken to improve accessibility on every website, no matter how or when it was built.

All websites should be developed with best practices in mind; we recommend reinforcing these efforts with accessibility components that further support ADA/WCAG guidelines. Those produced by companies such as those offered by UserWay and accesiBe are easy to install. They will enable users to change the color or contrast, pause animations, and modify the cursor to manage navigation more efficiently. While some components have free versions that handle many needs for compliance, they often also have paid versions that offer much more functionality. If your industry or visitors require the highest level of WCAG compliance, paid versions should be considered.

For website compliance consultation, contact the team at Business Builders Marketing. We offer options, information, and support for clients throughout all industries seeking compliant websites that work as effective marketing and communication tools.