There are no instant solutions “solutions” for website accessibility.
These are usually overlay widgets.
There is no such thing as a widget that can make your website accessible.
There are any number of reasons they fail, they don’t work, it’s a waste of money – don’t get one.
You might be lured by promises of artificial intelligence “AI”.
There’s- it’s not AI, it’s not what you’re thinking. If there was really AI and website accessibility there would be there would be robots going in and making their website accessible at the code level, at the content level.
What’s happening with AI claims is – you notice how they’re never specific, too – with AI claims they’re using image recognition software, it’s poor software at that, it doesn’t identify the images correctly, and the alt text is horrible.
You don’t want to use it, it won’t make your website accessible.
So the AI claims- there’s no AI magic; this is just garbage.
You do need an audit that identifies issues.
You do need remediation because it fixes the issues.
So an audit by itself does not make your website accessible – it just identifies the issues, but remediation is what you really need to finish this off.
The services must be performed manually.
What we continually see are accessibility vendors that try to incorporate automation in this and it’s understandable because they want to make it more profitable, they want to make it scalable, but manual professional services are what is needed.
WCAG 2.1 conformance level AA is best practice when it comes to making your website accessible.
So you want to take the 50 different success criteria or requirements and incorporate those into your website to make it accessible and thereby provide meaningful access and be in- follow best practices for ADA compliance.
Now you can have meaningful access short of full conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and this is why prioritization of accessibility issues is key to preventing litigation.
There are certain issues that are frequently named in claims while other accessibility considerations are not.
So 2.1 conformance is best practice.
2.2 is going to be released at some point; I wouldn’t worry about it, I would pay attention to 2.1 or even 2.0.
2.2 just adds a few additional success criteria.
They are by no means the most important, the most important are going to be found in 2.0 level A.
Of course, we want to make our websites as accessible as possible but don’t let 2.2 distract you.
You will hear all about 2.2 from the accessibility industry, but what is more important is taking care of those key core accessibility considerations and then as you mature you can mature into 2.2.
But as it stands there are already 50 things to do under 2.1 AA and really there comes down to about 10 things that I would prioritize in preventing litigation.
Scans are free.
Don’t pay for scans – you can get a scan right now you go to wave.webaim.org and you can run a scan for free.
Do not pay for scans.
So here’s why you may be sold under this idea that you need to have a scan where you can have monitoring or maintenance going on 24/7 or you need to scan 100 pages because your website is 100 pages and you need to know about these distant accessibility issues that could be on page 97.
Well here’s the problem with that: you can only remediate one page at a time because, again, it must be done manually.
So you’re not going to have all of these pages where it’s just there’s so many accessibility issues and you’re just taking care of them as they come up.
No, you’re with remediation you do it one page at a time, maybe two pages if you have a large team.
But I can tell you most companies do not have the resources to be remediating all of the different pages simultaneously.
So this idea that you need to have a premium scan, you don’t need it.
You- you absolutely don’t need it you can scan one page at a time for free and there are several different scans, they vary in how much they will flag.
But WAVE is a great one it is used commonly by plaintiffs’ lawyers and that’s all you really need.
Training is essential. Training your team for accessibility is essential to making any services that you do procure a one-time purchase and not a continual ongoing purchase.
Because if you could train your team then they will be producing pages or content that is accessible as it’s produced.
And not you’re not going back after the fact and remediating.
And then the last thing I have here is caveat emptor when it comes to freelancers because you will have so many freelancers that will promise you everything and they will deliver almost nothing.
And maybe 10% of what they promised they will deliver or they will deliver it wrong and it will just be useless.
So I can understand wanting to pay less and going with a freelancer that says they can do many things, but I can tell you from experience that what freelancers promise and what they deliver are two different things.
And especially when it comes to accessibility, many freelancers have got on to accessibility because they want to get more business and have more orders but they don’t know- they won’t- they only know a very low level amount about accessibility.
And so they’re not they- they aren’t actually not ready to provide the services but that won’t stop them from offering them.
So this is my buyer’s guide and there are many things to look out for but I have condensed this down to the most important.