An automated accessibility checker for websites

Automated accessibility checker for websites

According to Statista, about 60% of the disabled population (in the US) live in a household with Internet access. While this number is expected to continue to rise in the coming years, the unfortunate reality is that many of these individuals are unable to fully interact with digital content, especially those who rely on assistive technology such as screen readers and keyboard navigation.

A surprising number of websites are currently considered inaccessible to those who need such assistance, meaning they cannot obtain information, purchase products, or interact with the services they need. In light of this, there are several laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

If you’re a business owner who uses digital channels to interact with consumers, you’re legally bound to comply with these laws or risk fines and potential lawsuits. But what exactly is web accessibility and how is it measured?

How web accessibility is measured

Web accessibility is the inclusive practice of ensuring that digital content is available to all users. This includes people with disabilities such as blindness, deafness, motor difficulties, cognitive and learning disabilities, and so on. The way web accessibility is scored is governed by guidelines published by the World Wide Web Consortium called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

These guidelines include a wide range of recommendations that website owners can follow to make their digital content more accessible. WCAG 2.1 covers four major accessibility principles (observable, usable, understandable, and robust), each of which has its own subsections describing the exact criteria that websites must meet.

For the most part, Plaintiff’s Act usually first cites violations of the ADA and Section 508 by highlighting WCAG 2.1 errors, making these guidelines one of the most important documents for website owners. The Department of Justice has also clarified the federal stance on web accessibility, citing WCAG 2.1 as the guidelines they implement for all government sites.

What is accessScan?

Rather than manually comparing your web pages to WCAG 2.1, accessiBe, the global leader in providing web accessibility solutions, has developed an innovative solution that automates the entire process for you. accessScan, a free to use tool, uses AI technology to simulate user testing by quickly scanning your website for accessibility issues.

To use the service, go to the accessScan webpage, enter your domain name in the search bar and click ‘Get Audit’.

accessScan

The tool immediately starts evaluating your website before providing results on how it performed. After flagging and diagnosing accessibility errors from start to finish, your site gets one of three accessibility scores. These are:

  • Compliant – Your website complies with legislation and is accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Semi Compliant – Your website is mostly compliant, but some areas need improvement.
  • Non-Compliant – Your website is at risk because it doesn’t meet multiple criteria of the WCAG 2.1 guidelines.

Which elements does accessScan evaluate?

accessScan performs a comprehensive audit of your website and evaluates all critical factors present in the WCAG 2.1. The tool will rate your website in 11 different categories/web elements before giving you a score of 100 for each. Here’s a brief overview of each category:

  • Clickables
  • titles
  • Orientation
  • Menus
  • Graphics
  • Forms
  • Documents
  • legibility
  • carousels
  • tables
  • General/Miscellaneous

When you get your results, you can click on each subcategory and find out more about what your site should achieve and how your site performs against these criteria. This, in turn, will give you a clear answer as to whether your website is accessible to users with disabilities.

Why is web accessibility important?

Many business owners make the mistake of neglecting the importance of web accessibility. It turns out that companies that implement a robust digital accessibility strategy can reap many benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits.

Building a more inclusive internet

First and foremost, striving for an inclusive internet is simply the right choice. All Internet users must have access to the information and services they need. So, prioritizing web accessibility gives you the opportunity to be part of a movement toward a fairer, more accessible world.

Reach more consumers

According to the CDC, about 61 million adults in the US live with a disability† That is about 26% of the population. By improving the accessibility of your site to these individuals, you can reach more consumers and even gain a competitive advantage over your rivals.

Reduce the chance of an ADA lawsuit

Web accessibility lawsuits hit an all-time high in 2021, with over 2,895 federal cases filed by plaintiff’s law firms. With this in mind, achieving regulatory compliance should be at the top of your agenda if you want to avoid being on the wrong side of the litigation process.

Strengthen your brand

DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) is a hot topic right now, and for good reason. By focusing your efforts on building a more accessible website, you can confidently say that you are an advocate for equal rights and inclusivity, which will only help strengthen your brand and gain the trust of your customers.

Overview

With online accessibility becoming an increasingly pressing issue, it is critical that business owners understand how their website complies with various regulations and guidelines. accessScan, a free online tool created by accessiBe, allows you to quickly check your website for accessibility issues. This in turn allows you to fine-tune your strategy by developing a more accessible and user-friendly website for all visitors.

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