COD

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    The Premier AT Conference

Making Web Accessibility a Priority

Description
Organizations and companies have many issues clamoring for attention today. Often, they find accessibility of websites is not a priority concern. Just what is web accessibility and why should it be made a priority? In addition, how does an organization or company go about making web accessibility the priority it needs to be? Web accessibility has been defined by the Web Access Initiative of the Worldwide Web Consortium as “actively designing, developing, and creating content in such a way that it does not hinder any person from interacting with the website.” Web accessibility especially benefits those with disabilities, but, in reality, it creates a better web for all users. This presentation will discuss various types of disabilities, along with accessibility needs of people who have those disabilities. In addition, several assistive technology devices and programs will be mentioned. Web accessibility should be made a priority for three reasons. First, it has been estimated that 15 to 20% of the world’s population has some sort of disability. This means that up to 20% of visitors to any given website may need accessibility considerations. Thus, web accessibility is simply the right thing to do. Second, making web accessibility a priority makes sense financially. It is estimated that people with disabilities have $1.2 trillion in spending power. Thus, inaccessible websites cost money. People with disabilities may not buy from businesses whose sites are not accessible. In addition, students looking for higher education opportunities may pass up a university with an inaccessible site in favor of one whose site is accessible and usable. Finally, people with disabilities may not be willing to donate to not-for-profit organizations whose websites are not accessible. After all, a study done by Click Away Pound shows that 71% of disabled users will leave a website that is not accessible. Third, web accessibility should be a priority because of the legal landscape. In 2021, a record number of web accessibility-related lawsuits were filed. In addition, OCR complaints regarding lack of accessibility of college and university websites continue to increase. It often costs significantly more to fight lawsuits and complaints than it does to make the site accessible. Making web accessibility a priority will help organizations, educational institutions, and companies avoid legal complaints and lawsuits. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines have been developed in order to help make websites more accessible. In order to gain a broader view of web accessibility, the latest version of WCAG will be briefly discussed, along with WCAG levels of compliance. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of how to make web accessibility a priority. First, accessibility champions need to step forward. These champions are those who are convinced of the importance of web accessibility, and they work to convince stakeholders that web accessibility is the right thing to do. They work with various stakeholders in an effort to develop an accessibility policy and an accessibility plan. Then these champions begin the process of an audit of their website. Audits of websites need to use both automated checkers and manual testing. An audit that is well done will show the accessibility champions what the major accessibility errors are on the website and where remediation needs to begin. The champions take the website data and develop a workable remediation plan. In addition, the champions work toward implementation of the accessibility policy and plan they have developed with the stakeholders. When these things occur, web accessibility is a priority for the organization or company. And when web accessibility is a priority, the organization or company is making a good start on their accessibility journey.  
Audience
  • Higher Education
  • Disability Specific
  • Marketing
  • Retail & Wholesale
  • Sales
Audience Level
Beginning  
Session Summary (Abstract)
This presentation will define web accessibility and discuss how it benefits individuals with disabilities. Attendees will learn three reasons why web accessibility should be a priority for their organization or business. In addition, they will learn how to become accessibility champions and how they can help make accessibility a priority.  
Session Type
General Track  
Topics
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Education
  • Employment & Workplace
  • Evaluation & Remediation
  • Web

Presenter

  • Keith Bundy
    Siteimprove, Inc.

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