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Key Standards to Look for During a Web Accessibility Audit in 2020

You may be new to the concept of web accessibility, and you are not sure how accessible your website is for people with disabilities. The first thing you need to consider is auditing your website. An audit is conducted either by experts or by automated software, and it is the most effective way to understand what needs to be done to your website to make it accessible.

You must be aware that making a business website accessible to everyone is a legal requirement. According to Article III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a website is a public front for a business, and users with disabilities must be able to access every part of it.

If you leave your website inaccessible, you can face a hefty fine or an expensive lawsuit. You could also miss out on a lot of business since people with disabilities, and their well-wishers, form a large chunk of your target market. 

Standard Accessibility Audits

There are several types of accessibility audits that can help you to understand how accessible your website presently is. Accessibility audits can be done manually or with the help of automated software.

The manual methods are much more expensive and time consuming compared to the software audits. These are some of the factors of standard audits that can help you to address the accessibility of issues of your digital presence.

– The report must give you details about the severity of the accessibility problems present on your website and how much it would cost to solve them. It must also tell you how many pages on your website has accessibility issues.
– The audit should be able to draw your attention to the severe accessibility problems that users with disabilities might face while accessing your website.
– You should be able to understand how much your website complies with the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) and which areas need improvement.
– The audit report must contain details about how compatible your website is with assistive technologies, such as screen readers, Braille readers, head pointers, and other assistive devices.
– You should be able to learn if the images and media present on your website are optimized for accessibility or do they need to improve.
– Making a website accessible doesn’t mean it is user friendly. An accessibility audit must be able to draw your attention to the usability of your site. The report must point out if the UX and UI of your website are accessible by people with disabilities or not.

The Ideal Accessibility Standards

The purpose of an audit is to determine whether your website can meet the guidelines for digital accessibility. So before you conduct the audit, you must know about the standards against which you are testing your website.

Adherence to the WCAG 2.1 guidelines is the most widely accepted solution to make a website accessible to customers with disabilities. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has created the guidelines with the specific intent to ensure that people with different types of disabilities can access websites all over the world without facing problems.

The success criteria have been divided into three levels, which are:

– Level A, which is a subset of level AA, comprises 25 guidelines related to lack of vision, hearing loss, and motor disabilities.
– Level AA has 13 more criteria that deal with barriers faced by the visually impaired and people with cognitive disabilities.
– Level AAA has 23 criteria that deal with advanced stages of disabilities.

For ADA compliance, most websites need to fulfill the criteria set forth by levels A and AA. Level AAA is for specialist websites that cater to a specific segment of people. Even though the AAA guidelines need not be met by your website to make it compliant, they are still helpful in understanding the ways to achieve web accessibility in a better way. 

This all may sound way too complex and time-consuming. However, making your business website accessible to these guidelines can be achieved without hiring a web development team specializing in web accessibility. 

A much simpler solution is to employ AI-powered web accessibility solutions. Simon Sterne writes about one of the leading companies that offer automatic remediation, using AI technology to quickly convert any non-compliant business website into a fully WCAG compliant site.

An audit is the essential first step towards achieving website accessibility for any organization. You must know what factors must be covered under an ideal audit, or the purpose might be defeated. It is equally essential to choose the right accessibility partner to conduct the audit and get accurate results to improve the accessibility of your website.


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.