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Are there tools to see what conformance gaps you currently have on your website?

There are free automated tools available to test website compliance. The problem is a lot of these free tools fall short of providing an actual understanding of the site’s accessibility. Many of the tools are not able to recognize advanced techniques that are now utilized. These tools can be a good start, but the business or organization should use something more comprehensive. Automatic testing is a good start, but manual testing is essential, as well.

There are many aspects of compliance that can only be discovered through manual testing. AudioEye engages in both automated and manual testing, ensuring a comprehensive view of gaps in compliance.

What does “Conformance” mean?

As it relates to digital accessibility, “conformance” refers to the conformance of digital materials with ADA-related digital accessibility requirements. The level of conformance required is dependent on the company and industry. For example, places of public accommodation such as banks, grocery stores, amusement parks, etc., are required to make their digital content fully accessible, using WCAG 2.0 Level AA as the standard.

What does “Digital Accessibility Compliance” mean?

In general, “compliance,” as it relates to digital accessibility, refers to compliance with regulations and laws. As it relates to legal demand letters relating to digital accessibility, “compliance” refers to the actions a company is taking to address or comply with the demands.

While AudioEye always recommends seeking legal counsel in the event a demand letter is received regarding digital accessibility, in general, once you begin the process of addressing – or complying with – the demands outlined, and you detail these actions in your response through legal counsel, you are working toward compliance and therefore, generally eliminating your risk as it pertains to the legal demand letter. That is, of course, assuming you complete the process of making your website accessible.

What are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Compliance?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), are a set of web standards that ensure the Internet is a more inclusive and accessible space for all. They provide a set of formal guidelines for site owners, authors and developers to create accessible web content for users of all abilities.

In 2018, the W3C published WCAG 2.1, which added additional standards to WCAG 2.0, first published in 2008. WCAG has three levels of conformance categorized, Level A, Level AA and Level AAA. Level A indicates a lower level of conformance, while AAA indicates the highest level. WCAG compliance guidelines apply to dynamic content, multimedia, mobile content and non-web information and communications technologies.

What is WCAG Compliance?

As defined by the guidelines, to achieve WCAG compliance, digital content must be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust in order to be accessible to all users.

  • Perceivable content means that all users must be able to perceive and understand all digital content and information featured on a website.
  • Operable content means that all users must be able to easily navigate information throughout the website.
  • Understandable means that all users should be able to follow, read and digest digital information displayed on a website.
  • Robust means digital content should be compatible with assistive technologies and should evolve with assistive technologies.

Who Needs to Follow WCAG Guidelines?

In January 2017, Section 508 adopted the WCAG 2.0 Level AA success criteria, meaning any federal agency (or their respective subcontractors) must ensure their digital content complies with Level AA of the WCAG 2.0. Additionally, the Department of Education (Office of Civil Rights), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Transportation, U.S. District Courts, and various State Courts have consistently demonstrated the enforcement of website accessibility using WCAG standards as the benchmark. Consistently, established legal precedents require conformance with WCAG guidelines to fulfill obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a globally adopted set of standards, it is recommended that any business, education institution, federal, state and local government agencies with an online presence comply with WCAG, ensuring their platforms are accessible to users of all abilities. Without WCAG compliance, these institutions, agencies, and organizations face the risk of costly web accessibility lawsuits.

How to Test WCAG Compliance?

Our proprietary technology can quickly assess whether your online content is compliant with WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards. If risks and errors are identified, not only are you at legal risk, millions of individuals with disabilities are unable to access your site. The good news is that our fully managed solution will get you on the path to compliance on day one of implementation, and we keep you there from initial assessment to ongoing content changes.  

What is Digital Accessibility?

Digital accessibility is to the digital world what ramps and rails are to the physical world. Digital accessibility allows individuals that rely on the use of Assistive Technology, or AT, such as screen readers, to access and consume digital content.

What is Universal Design?

Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.

For example: the cut in a curb – this allows wheelchairs to access sidewalks from parking spaces, but it also allows strollers to be easily pushed on to the sidewalk, or shopping carts to be pushed off a sidewalk. A curb cut also allows someone with a walker or cane to more easily access a sidewalk.

Learn more about Universal Design

Common misconceptions about accessibility

People who are blind don’t use the Internet.

False. The only difference between people who are sighted and those who are blind is their vision. People who are blind participate in the world in every way like everyone else – they simply require accommodations for equal access. Braille, audio cues and other modifications allow people who are blind to participate equally. The Internet is no different; they use screen readers, keyboards and other assistive technology to access information. Unfortunately, if not coded for accessibility, these screen readers don’t work. It is this type of exclusion that can lead to legal action.

People with disabilities comprise a very small portion of the population.

False. According to the World Health Organization, between 15% – 20% of the world’s population are disabled. It is critical that we widen our view of what “disability” means. The range of disabilities are more than blind, deaf or immobile – people with color blindness, low vision, dyslexia, those who suffer from seizures and a range of cognitive disabilities impact the ability of individuals to consume digital content.

To achieve digital accessibility, you need to redesign your website.

False! AudioEye is solving technology issues with technology, remediating issues of accessibility on existing websites without altering the form or function of a site and helping companies mitigate risk. From Day 1 the AudioEye technology identifies and fixes the most common issues of accessibility –all behind the scenes. AudioEye goes beyond accessibility to enhance usability for all site visitors, but especially aging populations with low vision, the nearly 1 in 10 people with dyslexia, and anyone who better understands information by listening rather than reading – the Ally Toolbar which is part of the AudioEye Ally Managed Services – addresses these and a range of needs.

What is accessibility?

“Accessibility” as it relates to the Americans With Disabilities Act, is about providing equal access to individuals with disabilities. Usually, we tend to think of accessibility in terms of ramps and rails; many think of the physical world and the accommodations required for people experiencing barriers to access due to vision, hearing or mobility disabilities.

AudioEye focuses on digital accessibility and providing the “ramps and rails” needed for access to the digital world. The ADA Tile III prohibits “… discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations …” Today, that includes the Internet; which means “accessibility” poses a much bigger issue, and like the Internet itself, impacts a much bigger population. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 15% of the world’s population has a disability that may prevent them from equal access to digital content.

What is a disability?

The following excerpt is taken directly from the ADA National Network: Information, guidance, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act

It is important to remember that in the context of the ADA, “disability” is a legal term rather than a medical one. Because it has a legal definition, the ADA’s definition of disability is different from how disability is defined under some other laws.

The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability.

It is important to note that the World Health Organization, in 2016, has estimated between 15% – 20% of the world’s population has some level of disability. That equates to between 1 billion and 1.4 billion people worldwide.