Your Responsibility to the Community.
Digital Accessibility goes beyond just online content; it plays a crucial role in creating an awareness and inclusive environment for digital content in various forms, such as Learning Management Systems, Content Management Systems, websites, ePubs, and PDF documents to name a few. Ensuring all digital content and products are accessible to all, regardless of abilities or disabilities, leads to equal access and enables a better user experience across various platforms. Here are some primary reasons why making all forms of digital content accessible is essential for businesses and organizations:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a legal requirement that companies in the United States must comply with in order to ensure equal access for persons with disabilities. The ADA provides specific accessibility requirements for a wide range of products and services, and failure to comply with these requirements can result in legal action. Under the ADA, individuals can file complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice or file lawsuits against companies that do not comply with accessibility requirements. The penalties for noncompliance can include fines, legal costs, and damage to the company’s reputation. This can also result in a loss of business, as persons with disabilities may choose to take their business to a competitor that prioritizes accessibility. Negative publicity surrounding accessibility issues can also damage the company’s image and brand.
If your website or software is available to the public, then the ADA applies to it. The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees equal access for all consumers.
There is no official standard defined by the ADA. However, the vast majority of court cases thus far have cited WCAG 2.0 AA is a standard for compliance.
WCAG 2.1 AA
WCAG 2.1 AA is the acting legal web content accessibility standard in many parts of the world. It adds upon the guidelines put fourth by the WCAG 2.0AA standard. In particular, compliance with WCAG 2.1 AA provides additional accessibility support for users on mobile devices.
Adhering to this standard will ensure that your content meets and exceeds the requirements of the items above.
Section 508 Compliance
If you are or intend to work with a government organization in the United States, then Section 508 standards apply to you. Simply put, Section 508 requires that electronic documents and processes be made accessible to a standard of equal access. An employee with a disability should be able to do anything that an employee without can. Equally, a consumer of content or services who has a disability must also have equitable access to the content or service.
The standard defined in Section 508 is WCAG 2.0 AA. Adhering to this standard will not only fulfill the requirements of Section 508—it will also make your content and materials easier to use and understand for all of your employees and/or clients.
European Accessibility Act (EAA)
The European Accessibility Act is a legal requirement that mandates companies must conform to within the European Union. Like the Section 508 requirements, the EAA is based upon the WCAG 2.x AA standard. While the legislation has an implementation period (deadline is 2025), organizations are encouraged to start meeting these requirements now. The act provides specific accessibility requirements for a wide range of products and services, failure to comply with these requirements can result in legal action. Under the Act, companies and individuals can sue companies that do not comply with these accessibility requirements. This can include filing a report with a national authority, or seeking unwanted legal action in court. The penalties for nonconformity can include fines, legal cost, and damage to your company’s reputation in the same ways as stated above.
Other Legal Standards
Global organizations may often find themselves contemplating other digital accessibility legislation (for example the AODA in Canada). Fortunately all of these other legislations base their compliance requirements upon the WCAG 2.x standard as well. Talk to us about your needs in these instances – we’re here to help!The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Outside of the legal ramifications of not focusing on accessibility there is also the social requirement. By implementing accessibility measures, your company is not only creating an inclusive environment but also opening up opportunities to reach a wider customer base. When you prioritize the needs of persons with disabilities, you demonstrate that your company values diversity and equality. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and positive brand reputation. Moreover, being socially responsible is not just the right thing to do, it can also result in a competitive advantage for your business. By embracing accessibility, you can tap into an underserved market and differentiate yourself from competitors.
Promoting accessibility in all forms of digital content ensures that people with disabilities can actively participate in our community and contribute to our collective growth and progress. As responsible businesses and organizations, it is essential to take the initiative to create a more inclusive environment for all. The organization needs to make a decision and commitment to accessibility. Make an investment today that will pay back dividends tomorrow and not leave your organization behind.
What does accessibility mean to your organization?
What does your organization hope to see in return from accessible digital content?
Are you ready for an investment?
It may seem like a lot to navigate, but we can help you every step of the way.