Organizations first looking at the world of website accessibility usually have a lot of questions. That’s great! Blue Atlas Marketing is happy to answer with the right details about making websites accessible to those with disabilities. But one of the most common questions is: “How do I know how accessible my website is in the first place?”
It’s a good question – website accessibility to help those who may be blind, deaf, or have motor control issues can get complicated, and solutions are made of many parts. But if you are ready to begin assuring your website is compliant with accessibility standards, there are a couple of important steps to start with. Let’s take a look.
Use an Automatic Audit Tool to Create a List of Potential Issues
One of the easiest steps any organization can take is to use an auditing tool to scan their website. These tools are built to run through a webpage’s code and look for any signs that there may be something wrong with accessibility, like if certain code is missing when it should be there, or if website elements have telltale signs that something is wrong. The audit then generates a list of potential errors that the organization can look through to see what changes may be needed for accessibility compliance.
One issue is that there are a lot of accessibility auditing tools available online, and they’re not all created equal. Some may only audit for certain things, some create confusing reports, and some are designed to promote a specific product instead of providing helpful information.
To clear things up, we suggest starting with Blue Atlas’ free compliance audit. This audit runs a full check of the website focused on the requirements of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the accessibility standards laid out in the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). It’s one of the best ways to get a clear look at the state of your site with actionable information.
Consult with Experienced Developers
An accessibility auditing tool is only the beginning. Organizations also need to talk with developers experienced in website accessibility. The human element is necessary for several reasons, including:
- Automated audits can’t pick up on everything. There are some aspects of accessibility, such as certain design decisions or including captions on videos, etc., that are hard for auditing tools to pick up on. A human review is usually needed, too.
- The audit’s report isn’t always perfect. Audits create a very useful list of errors to examine, but not all of those errors may be a real accessibility issue. Developers need to look at the list to create a more direct series of steps to ensure compliance.
- Audits aren’t always easy to understand. Organizations unfamiliar with web accessibility or web development may need experts to help interpret the data and show what needs to be done.
- There are many methods to add accessibility. Solutions can vary based on the code used and the overall website structure. Experts can offer invaluable advice for how to implement changes.
Blue Atlas Marketing is Ready to Help
If you’d like to learn more, contact us today to ask a question or arrange a consultation. We also have a guide about tools used for accessibility testing, as well as what accessibility standards currently look like.