Accessibility Policy vs. Statement: The Difference Between Each and What They Consist of

The terms policy and statement are often used interchangeably when referring to the notice that we provide on our website regarding accessibility, but they are different.

There is a difference between a statement and a policy.

And so with a statement, this is going to be that notice that is available on your website, it’s going to be public-facing and you’re going to state your commitment to accessibility and then you’re also going to provide means of contact for both support and feedback for accessibility.

And those are the core components, but you can add more to an accessibility statement.

There aren’t a lot of rules for accessibility statement, but I like to make mine as detailed as possible.

And so you have many options for what details you’d like to add.

You can add known technical and or practical issues when using your website or with certain browser combinations or certain environments or with assistive technology – you can add that.

You can have it- you can demonstrate the investments you’ve made in accessibility.

So, for example, we’ve hired a specific provider, we’ve had audits conducted, etc.

You can also demonstrate your actual accessibility.

So you might have a conformance statement, you might have a report from a panel of user testers, you might have you might state the actual accessibility- the actual accessibility principles and/or specific success criteria that have been implemented into your website or any changes that you’ve made.

You may want to add laws that you are that you believe you are compliant with or you’re seeking compliance with.

You can add so many different things to an accessibility statement.

It really depends on your sophistication, your legal counsel, your- what stage of accessibility you’re in – those are all going to those are all going to affect what is in your accessibility statement.

Now an accessibility policy is generally meant for internal use.

So this- and it’s really, it’d be inappropriate to provide the level of detail to the public.

And it- it might actually it and in some instances it might be more than the public wants.

Because with an accessibility statement you’re really trying to make it practical for people to use.

With a policy this is so that you can carry forward your accessibility statement.

So there is overlap and then in that your policy is going to have wording and language around your commitment to accessibility but then it’s going to stay your what your policy actually is.

So a policy is going to be a set of formal rules principles guidelines and or a framework in place that you have in place and that is implemented to drive accessibility and this policy is going to be adopted by the organization.

So it’s going to be an official organizational stance.

So you’re going to then provide the details of everything that’s involved.

So what are the accessibility standards adopted, who is your on your accessibility team, what- what is your current level of accessibility, what is in the scope of this policy what are the requirements for procurement and for internal processes for making different assets or items accessible.

So, for example, how do we make our PDFs accessible, what standards are we following for PDF and document accessibility.

Word – what about word documents, what about live presentations, what about webinars, what about closed captioning, who do we hire for closed captioning, and on and so on and so on.

And then you set priorities, you set objectives, you set deadlines, and then you assign responsibilities.

And you want to make sure that your accessibility policy is as objective as possible.

So there are many details, but all the details are in place so that you can carry forward your policy and you can ensure accessibility on an organizational level.

So that is the difference.

Generally, the accessibility statement is public and generally the accessibility policy is internal.

But the accessibility policy is going to be reflected in the statement and so really the statement is what your commitment is and making sure that there is the availability of any practical-making sure that practical use is assured on the public level and then the policy is the carrying out of this statement and making sure that everything is in place to have an accessible digital experience.