Web Accessibility & What You Need To Know As A Website Owner

BY LESLEY JEAN

Web Accessibility Piciture of Wheelchair with Oranages

Have you been hearing rumors about attorneys sending demand letters to website owners not complying with Web Accessibility WCAG 2.1 and GDPR? Not sure how to protect yourself and your business from getting slapped with a lawsuit or what any of these crazy acronyms even mean?

Let’s get you up to speed on some terms/acronyms, what your role as a website owner plays and some best practices to follow.

Web Accessibility & What You Need To Know As A Website Owner

SOME TERMS & BACKGROUND

WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 – WCAG 2.0 and 2.1, or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (versions 2.0 and 2.1) was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, (W3C).

W3C  – W3C, or the World Wide Web Consortium, is an international community that developed the WCAG 2.0 and 2.1.

Section 508 – In 2017 The U.S. Access Board updated Section 508’s accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) to include WCAG 2.0 level AA as a means of meeting standard compliance. 508 applies to mostly government entities, but also includes any entities that receive federal funding.

ADA – ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act, is a civil rights law passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. The ADA law prevents the exclusion of disabled individuals “from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services” of a publicly accessible business.

The internet is considered public domain and part of public life. Much like a park, library restaurant, retail establishment, doctor’s office or any public place, their buildings need to have handicap accessible bathrooms, braille on restroom signage and meet other ADA criteria. All the same the ADA law says our websites need to offer disabled visitors an equal website browsing experience.

When the Section 508 or the ADA is violated, this is where the lawsuits and demand letters come into play, sometimes costing business owners thousands and thousands of dollars.

GDPR – GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, and is Europe’s new data privacy and security law. This law was put into effect in May of 2018, and targets websites everywhere as long as they have or could potentially have visitors from the EU. The law covers how you manage people’s privacy and data on your website and in your business. If your website has tracking devices such as Google Analytics, HotJar, Social Media or Google Ad Tracking, the law says you need to announce that you are tracking their data, you will tell them how you will use, store and distribute their data, and give them the option to opt out of having their data tracked. You can do all of this by using a cookie consent bar on your website that includes your privacy policy information.

DON’T BE SCARED. BE AWARE. BE CONSIDERATE. BE INCLUSIVE.

This article is not intended to scare you into shutting your website down. It’s meant to educate you on how to be inclusive of disabled website visitors and respect the privacy of everyone visiting your website. Theses regulations aren’t intended to harm business owners in any way, rather enforce behaviors and standards of ethical responsibility.

You can test your website’s WCAG compliance for FREE using this auditing tool by clicking here.

RESOURCES & TOOLS TO HELP!

Here are some of Moonshine’s recommendations for Web Accessibility and GDPR Compliance, but please keep in mind that you should always consult your legal council on the best solutions for compliance to cover your business.

AccessiBE Logo

WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the provider we liked best for a fully Automated Web Accessibility Solution for ADA WCAG Compliance. Their code works on practically every website platform, including WordPress. They include certifications, statements and do daily and month audits to your website to keep it in compliance.
COST: $490 / Year
SET-UP TIME: 5 Minutes
LINK: AccessiBE.com

Privacy Policies Logo

WHY WE LIKE IT: We like how their system walks you through the privacy policy creation process. It’s easy to understand and pretty straightforward to get setup. We also like that it gives you the option to make changes later and that the policy terminology automatically updates on your website for you.
COST: Free – $200
SET-UP TIME: 1 Hour
LINK: PrivacyPolicies.com

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR WEBSITE?

Not only do we totally geek out over creative design, but we’re here to help you make your website a safe, inclusive and enjoyable experience for your visitors. For more information or for help with your website, click here to schedule a strategy call with us!