First, we outline existing and potential issues, and then we share detailed recommendations to address each one. There’s no vague or high-level language here: we offer you specific, actionable, and realistic next steps to bring your site towards accessibility compliance requirements and improving user experience.The Starter package in detail The Detailed package in detail The Custom package in detail
Tools like AxE, Lighthouse, SiteImprove, or WAVE are great starting points. But they are largely focused on code and strictly technical compliance, not on usability, design, and content. In fact, even for some technical items, these tools are not sufficient to be compliant, since many WCAG items can only be evaluated manually, or are up to the discretion of an expert.
Additionally, these tools do not consider an inclusive lens, which can leave your site open to alienating potential users, or inadvertently making content that excludes people.
Although you can meet many accessibility objectives with automated tools, a full manual review will take you much further; towards a site that can be used and enjoyed by a much wider audience than just those whose needs are covered by compliance standards.
Usability, accessibility, and inclusion together give you a much better picture of how users experience your website. Technical testing can help you see immediate issues and bugs on your site, but evaluating these three areas in addition to technical testing will help you make lasting improvements to the user experience on your site, ultimately improving engagement and conversions.
Simply put: these three ways of evaluating a website are the three areas that impact your site’s users the most.
Usability is a general term that describes how an interface or experience functions for users. It refers to how users can perform tasks in a non-frustrating, efficient, and delightful way.
Accessibility is about working towards WCAG AA accessibility standards and ensuring a number of ways to interact with and access the content on your site.
Inclusion is the consideration of how to best serve a diverse and complex market. Considering a spectrum of identities, abilities, and backgrounds, this approach means being aware and intentional of how the imagery and language you use throughout your website will be perceived by your market.
Why these three areas matter: the users of your site—and the people who make up your addressable market as a whole—are not part of a singular group who will all behave and engage with your website in the same way. There is no average user, and if your site is designed in a way that only meets the needs of a handful of users, you’ll be limiting your market access, and risk alienating a significant percentage of your market.
Inclusion is about welcoming diverse people to engage with your organization. When we talk about our inclusive design services, a big part of this is being intentional about connecting with diverse people. When we talk about the website audit, we’re focused on removing barriers of engagement. How can you welcome diverse people to engage with your organization if you are preventing that from happening?
So the audit itself is a great first step to being more inclusive.
But what about usability, accessibility, and performance.
Often people talk about inclusive websites and really what they’re talking about is accessible websites. But inclusivity goes well beyond accessibility and includes intentionally welcoming the full diversity of markets. But accessibility is a part of inclusive design. If your website is not accessible, that’s another barrier that prevents the diverse people who make up your market from engaging with you.
The same can be said about usability and performance. If your website is difficult to use or so slow that people give up, you’re putting up more barriers that limit engagement.
From our point of view, inclusive means all, and so the “Inclusive Website Audit” is our way of helping you remove any and all barriers that prevent the full diversity of your market from engaging with your organization.
With the foundation of an inclusive website in place, you’re then ready to take the next step in improving your organization’s inclusive maturity.
Depending on your location, and the size and type of organization, there are different accessibility compliance standards that may apply. We audit your product according to these standards. We do not guarantee compliance as there are many factors that impact compliance beyond our audit that we cannot control, but we do provide you with the steps to work towards compliance.
WCAG 2.0 / WCAG 2.1: the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are the standards that the majority of national and sub-national (provincial, state, etc) legislation is based on. These standards include guidelines for content, code, and technical guidelines for how colour, interactivity, and more is handled on a website.
AODA: the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, is Ontario’s version of accessibility legislation. Based on requiring compliance with WCAG 2.0, AODA has general compliance requirements that many organizations must meet by January 2021. However, it is strongly recommended that all organizations in Ontario work towards WCAG 2.0 AA compliance to meet AODA legislation in the future in order to ensure future compliance requirements and simply to improve website user experience for all users.
ADA: the Americans with Disabilities Act is the legislation that defines accessibility standards at the federal level in the United States. ADA is also based on WCAG 2.0 standards. If you’re an organization based in the United States, it’s important to comply with these standards to avoid legal action under ADA or section 508 (defined below).
Section 508 is American legislation that mandates all federal entities—and any private corporations that do business with federal agencies—make their digital platforms accessible to people with disabilities. This includes healthcare, legal, financial, and numerous other private sector organizations, in addition to public sector organizations.
Depending on where your organization operates, not complying with accessibility standards can have a range of implications.
For those in the United States, enforcement of accessibility compliance can fall under both ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and Section 508. As these compliance standards are established as legislation, civic action groups and individuals have already taken companies to court over accessibility issues. It is critical that your site’s accessibility issues be resolved as soon as possible.
For those with organizations in Ontario, Canada requirements fall under AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities act.
AODA compliance can have the biggest consequences for any public sector organization, any non-profit, and any private sector organizations with more than 50 employees. For private sector organizations, the timeline for complying is the end of 2020 for full website compliance with AA standards.
If you don’t comply with these timelines and requirements, your organization could be subject to legal action, from either the government itself or from users who could file a case against your organization in the Human Rights Tribunal.
Although Canada-wide requirements vary across provinces, federal legislation is in progress, so it’s ideal to get a head start on compliance before future deadlines are set.
For organizations in the United Kingdom, accessibility compliance is covered by the Equality Act of 2010. This act requires organizations to take reasonable actions to make their websites and communications accessible.
This is especially critical for public sector organizations, as additional requirements clarifying the need for accessibility came into law in 2018 for public sector, and compliance must be met by September 23rd, 2020. If these regulations aren’t followed, after this date, organizations may be subject to legal action and fines.
Although private sector organizations are not yet explicitly required to comply, this legislation is expected to follow shortly after, so it’s ideal to get a head start on compliance before those deadlines are set.
Using our audit to work towards WCAG AA compliance is a strong step towards meeting the obligations of your local legislation, but you should consult with an accessibility compliance lawyer to verify your obligations.
The short answer is: no.
As a starting point, the recommendations we provide through the audit report need to be implemented. The implementation will impact the outcome of the accessibility.
Additionally, we work to continually understand compliance requirements and strive for WCAG AA compliance alongside other requirements of AODA, ADA, and more. However, local compliance factors, ongoing operational factors and website updates, and possible changes to legislation mean that compliance requirements may differ based on where you operate and the client base you serve. You should consult an accessibility compliance lawyer for more detail on your specific compliance requirements.
We claim no guarantee or responsibility for your business to meet accessibility compliance legal obligations.
After you’ve made significant updates to your site, it is always a great idea to do user testing. User testing will help you and your team identify issues that were not encountered during design and development, and get significant insight into how real users navigate your site.
In all likelihood, your team doesn’t fully represent the needs and behaviours of your market, so it’s key that user testing is done to ensure that users aren’t running into product, service, design, or technical roadblocks that you’re unaware of when testing internally.
In addition to this, when you consider users of different abilities, and especially those who use different interaction models like keyboard navigation and voice navigation, or who think, see, hear, or move in different ways, seeing how they interact with your site first hand will help you know how to best serve them.
If you haven’t launched or even designed your site yet, we can help ensure your upcoming site follows the very best usability, accessibility, and inclusivity practices.
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or have already started coding, get in touch and we can talk through next steps.
Hi! 👋🏽 We’re Say Yeah! For over 10 years we’ve been helping organizations unlock their potential through our digital management consulting services. We believe in digital excellence and the importance of making products and services more usable, accessible, and inclusive.
We’re truly excited about the opportunity to help make your website more usable, accessible, and inclusive! 🚀
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We have shared all the details of each of the services relating to the Inclusive Website Audit, including a sample report for the Starter service and our step-by-step comprehensive audit process for the Detailed or Custom audit. Please be sure you have read through the details of this online service before ordering one of our packages. We will not offer refunds for a package that is ordered once we begin reviewing the website.
We cannot guarantee accessibility legislation compliance. We work to continually understand compliance requirements and strive for WCAG AA compliance alongside other requirements of AODA, ADA, and more. However, local compliance factors, ongoing operational factors and website updates, and possible changes to legislation mean that compliance requirements may differ based on where you operate and the client base you serve. You should consult an accessibility compliance lawyer for more detail on your specific compliance requirements. We claim no guarantee or responsibility for your business to meet accessibility compliance legal obligations.
With any order that is placed, we reserve the right to refuse service. We generally would not do this, but if it is an illegal site or if there are extenuating circumstances that prevent us from reviewing a site, we will cancel the order and reverse the transaction at no cost to you and with no further obligation.
All reviews will be completed in English only. If there is another language on your website, we will review only the English-language aspects of the website unless we provide a Custom quote for additional languages.
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