Wix has taken an updated approach to accessibility with their website builder and they’ve been proactive and so I’m on the wix.com/accessibility page and I’m going to go through it and provide my thoughts from a legal lens, in terms of is this helping with litigation and preventing demand letters and complaints being filed.
And then I’ll also comment on some of the accessibility measures that have taken place.
So it says, the heading of this page is make your website a place for everyone.
Web accessibility gives people with disabilities the opportunity to interact with their website then it.
So then there’s a couple of sections that are talk that talk about the importance of accessibility and then Wix’s commitment to accessibility.
One thing that I read here: it says, our features comply with the highest global standards and then (WCAG 2.0).
Well, that’s not the latest version, not the highest standards.
So they need to that would make me work on my wording.
I mean, I like what they’re doing but that’s just wrong so they should they should look for conformance, they should change comply to conformance and they don’t automatically conform but they’re helping their customers to meet that, so they would want to look at that.
And then it says, there’s a pioneering accessibility wizard, our wizard quickly scans your site to pinpoint accessibility issues and give you a step-by-step guide to make your website accessible to all.
My initial impression is that that seems like it’s claiming more than they can do because the the scans that are currently available you know they at best they flag 25% of the WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria.
So it just to me this gives this likely gives more an impression that it is more comprehensive than it is so I wouldn’t do that.
And then I like this section: accessibility features built into every site this to me is what Squarespace GoDaddy and any other website builders should be doing Shopify this is what they should be doing they should be providing a way- a platform which has done everything possible to have accessibility, like- handed over on a silver platter to its customers and then the customers take it from there.
This is not to say that website builders can make a totally accessible website because they can’t but what they should be doing everything possible so you don’t just because you can’t make you know your website builder can’t automatically make everything accessible for the customer who’s then customizing the website.
They should have the components in place or the prompts in place to make it as accessible that’s possible out-of-the-box and then obviously you customize it.
So one thing here is full keyboard functionality. I love that this definitely comes up in in claims and so that’s that’s a good one to have.
Automatic DOM order and DOM stands for document object model and it says the the Dom order the DOM is automatically arranged so visitors who use keyboards and screen readers can navigate your site from left to right.
I would I would rather- it match I would rather they say it matches what is what is visually presented matches what is programmatically presented, but, you know, it’d be interesting to see how that how this plays out in practice, but it’s good that they’re considering it.
Site language definition that’s very very easy to do, it’s good that they have that in place.
Correct semantics, it’s good that they have semantics in place.
These last three though they are not typically found in litigation I don’t see those claims come up.
Smart focus ring so this is they’re referring to our focus indicator smart focus ring rings automatically appear when a keyboard is being used and feature dual colors so keyboard users can better navigate your site. This does occasionally come up in litigation.
I would be interested to see if you could change the colors to make sure that there’s an appropriate color contrast but that’s getting more advanced.
The next one is ARIA attributes built-in ARIA attributes provide enriched accessible user experience plus you can add custom attributes to apps and components you build yourself.
This, I would like to see this in practice as well this is more complex.
I would like to see them default to HTML where possible I understand that’s makes it more difficult but I would like to use I would like to use the bonus that HTML provides out-of-the-box but ARIA attributes are fine for custom components.
But more elaboration here would be nice but it is good that they’re providing labels.
Heading tags. Heading tags help users who do screen readers understand how your site is organized in order to present their content. True – it’s good that they’re considering it.
Alt text, again, good that they’ve considered it.
Skip to content and, of course, really all text and skip to content do come up as part of claims.
it’s good that they have those in place it’s good that they have the skeptic content in place that is something that customers want to have and so I like that they’re adding prompts for alt text.
And so that’s it as far as the accessibility features listed and there’s some guides and resources and then there is a way to hire an accessibility specialist.
So it says get a WIX professional to audit your site and make any necessary adjustments to ensure compliance with the WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines for your region.
Okay, again, like the way they’ve written this tells me that they don’t quite understand what they’re talking about.
Like the phrase, with the WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines for your region – that’s disjointed.
So I think they need to better understand what they’re doing and then underneath that there are two boxes there’s a feature request, let us know if there’s any accessibility features that you’d like to see.
That’s a really good thing I’d like to also I’d like to see how quickly they can implement accessibility features and then there’s accessibility templates, explore design designer made templates with built-in with accessibility features built-in.
I would love to see how accessible those really are.
And then there are- there’s a section for get more expert tips on making your website more accessible and then there’s some frequently asked questions.
So this is a good start, I don’t think it’s- I’m almost positive it’s not a 100% solution in the sense that they have taken care of everything out-of-the-box, everything is perfect as is and then it’s up to the end user- the WIX user to make it accessible I think there is more that they can do on their end, but this is just my initial impression.
Also, I’d like to see more not like a more knowledgeable page.
I think they’ve done a good job of conveying the basics and they’ve done a good job of getting to where they are, but they need to take it up a notch, especially if they’re going to have a page on accessibility and really embrace this.
I think it’s a good job so far there’s there are more things I would like to see considered there are more things I’d like to see them go through in detail they have provided more detail than anybody else I’ve seen any other website builder.
But you know these nine things you’re a good start but remember WCAG 2.1 AA has 50 success criteria to incorporate into your website, these are nine.
Even if we are going off of 2.0 which just seems like they want to 2.0 has 38 success criteria in conformance level AA.
And another thing as I’m scrolling through the website or the page they mentioned WCAG 2.0 but they don’t mention the conformance level.
Okay, so that’s also that’s another example of why I’m scrutinizing, I’m not necessarily skeptical I think I know about where they’re at like I think they’ve got a basic handle on this but they’re working towards getting better.
But not writing out the conformance level on a page about accessibility, that’s- that’s deficiency right that’s- that’s a weakness right there.
They need to be firm in what they’re doing and not just generally try to say, hey accessibility, here’s a few tips, here’s some guides, here’s some things we’ve done.
While it’s nice that they’ve gone to the level of detail of listing out nine things that they’ve done to create an accessible website out-of-the-box, I need to see this in practice.
And I would want to really look and see what they’ve done and talked to their team and I think there is improvement to be made but the good thing is they’re being proactive.
It doesn’t have to be perfect to start with they’re very fact that they’re working on it and they have an ability to ask for features is a very good start.
So I think good start – if you’re using a web if you’re looking for a website builder this is the best effort I have seen, but we’ll see what comes out in the coming months and, in 2023, I think accessibility will be something that will become increasingly competitive and we’ll see website builders that are really embracing it and not shying away like they’ve done.
So good job for Wix for getting started.