At Cavera Inc., we’re pushing for a more accessible web by designing and developing websites that are compliant under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 guidelines. WCAG is a set of generally accepted web accessibility standards that were developed by the World Wide Web Consoritum (W3C); the internationally renowned web experts.
Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), there are clear expectations for private and public organizations to meet:
Levels of Accessibility
There are currently 3 levels of accessibility for each guideline under WCAG 2.0. Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA.
Who must comply
By law, the organization that controls the website must meet the AODA guidelines for all new, or significantly refreshed, publicly-available websites if you are:
- a private or non-profit organization with 50+ employees
- a public sector organization
Deadlines for compliance
Beginning January 1, 2014: new public websites, significantly refreshed websites, and any web content posted after January 1, 2012 must meet WCAG Level A
Beginning January 1, 2021: all public websites and web content posted after January 1, 2012 must meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA other than criteria 1.2.4 (live captions) and 1.2.5 (pre-recorded audio descriptions)
Working with a web developer to make a website accessible
The criteria for meeting Level A, AA, and AAA is a combination of adjusting the website’s appearance, functionality, and content.
While content and appearance may be simple enough to manage using the website’s Content Management System, adhering to the functionality guidelines may prove to be more difficult without the help of an experienced web developer.
We recommend the following steps for working with a web developer to make your website accessible:
1. Make sure the developer you hire is experienced in making accessible websites. Do this by asking the following questions:
- “Are you familiar with the WCAG 2.0 Level A, AA, and AAA guidelines?”
- “What websites have you recently made accessible to Level A or higher? Can you provide links to these projects?”
- “Do you code manually or with the assistance of a program? If you use a program, does it support accessible coding?”
- “Do you test the website for accessibility? If so, what tools and techniques do you use?”
2. Determine what your expectations are from the web developer. Will you need appearance, functionality, and content made accessible? Two of the three? Just one?
3. Get a few quotes and compare.
Making your website accessible to all potential visitors, is a step towards making the web a better place for everyone. While for many organizations in Ontario it’s the law to be compliant, taking the extra steps towards accessibility shows an above-and-beyond commitment to your current and future customers who may suffer from a disability.
Looking to make your website accessible?
Let us review your website, and we’ll prepare a proposal on how to best approach making your website accessible!