An accessibility statement is a page on your website that contains your commitment to making your site accessible to the widest audience (which includes people with visual, hearing, cognitive and motor impairments). Plus, the accessibility statement includes information about the guidelines and standards that the website uses to adhere to web accessibility.
“This website conforms to level Double-A of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1.”
“As part of our commitment to accessibility, we ensure that our website is compatible with…”
And we’re not giving you advice that we didn’t take, see our accessibility statement here.
Is it that simple?
Yes. Your accessibility statement should have at least two things. The first is a statement regarding your current compliance standards or that you are in the process of making your site compliant. Next, it needs contact information to the individual that handles requests for braille, large print, audio, pdf remediation, and general website accessibility. Everything else is a plus.
Lately, we’ve noticed that accessibility statements are starting to look alike. That might be because there are only so many ways you can say it, or that some organizations are using an accessibility statement generator. Not being one to knock it before we try it, we tested out this resource.
Note: The creators of the tool, Nomensa, spelled the word “organisation” which tipped us off that the creators of this resource are European. This is noteworthy because each country has different compliance regulations and accessibility laws protecting its citizens, but that didn’t stop us from testing the resource.
Thanks to the generator, you can have an accessibility statement in three easy steps.
Everything under this step is straightforward. You only need to provide your company’s name, website, person to contact if visitors have questions or concerns (A.K.A. point of contact). Then designate if you are a public sector organization, as opposed to a government agency.
The only thing outside of the ordinary that you must know to complete step one is your accessibility target. The target options are WCAG Level A, AA, and AAA. Level A has 30 total items on accessibility, AA has 50 total questions (including level A), and AAA has 78 total questions (including Level A and AA).
Level A questions encompass items essential for your website to be accessible. If you have these bare-bones items checked off, then any screen reader or assistive technology should provide access to the content on your website. It means the screen reader software can do the heavy lifting because you’ve provided a suitable environment.
The level AA provides criteria to make your website meet more needs and situations for the individual with disabilities, and Level AAA is the highest you can be as it goes far beyond what compliance requires. If you meet Level AAA compliance, you also satisfy Level AA and Level A. For this generator, all the boxes start out checked. It’s your responsibility to uncheck the items you don’t have completed on your website.
Note: Your WCAG level is based on your entire website. So, if you have a page that’s not as accessible as the rest, you need to take that into account.
Your marketing team and web developer should be able to answer most of these questions about your website. However, to answer each section correctly, they will need to know about the website default language, content that requires input (forms, pop-ups, etc.), meta-data, color contrast, captions, audio, mark-ups, structure (headings and subheadings), and correct reading sequence. If you have questions about a term, see 10 Accessibility Terms You’ll Need to Know to Understand Accessibility.
Do you want to press ‘save’? Yes, that’s the last step. We told you it was easy! All you have to do is create an account for future edits or copy and paste what you got. Here’s the accessibility statement we generated:
Accessibility statement for Braille Works
We want everyone who visits the Braille Works website to feel welcome and find the experience rewarding.
What are we doing?
To help us make the Braille Works website a positive place for everyone, we’ve been using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. These guidelines explain how to make web content more accessible for people with disabilities and user-friendly for everyone.
The guidelines have three levels of accessibility (A, AA and AAA). We’ve chosen Level AA as the target for the Braille Works website.
How are we doing?
We’ve worked hard on the Braille Works website and are working towards our goal of Level AA accessibility. We monitor the website regularly to maintain this, but if you do find any problems, please get in touch.
Let us know what you think
If you enjoyed using the Braille Works website, or if you had trouble with any part of it, please get in touch. We’d like to hear from you in any of the following ways:
- email us at email@example.com
- call us on 800–258–7544
Overall, we’re pleased. If you’re educated on accessibility terms and compliance, you can answer each item in Step 2, and walk away with an accessibility statement. If not, it’s time for you to reach out to a compliance partner who can walk you through meeting WCAG standards and getting an accurate accessibility statement on your website. An accessibility statement that makes false claims will only damage your reputation and could be used as evidence in disputes.
A Disclaimer (…that you should read.)
We ran the accessibility statement tool by our Section 508 compliance expert, and here’s what she wanted us to convey:
Only an expert can guarantee that an accessibility statement is accurate.
While each criterion has an arrow that expounds on the WCAG rule it correlates to, some questions require a bit of education to answer them accurately. If all you’re doing is using an accessibility statement to sound compliant, while doing very little (or nothing) towards making that accessibility true, it will be obvious to those visiting your site and create a negative impression of your company.
An accessibility statement is not an opportunity to be complacent.
Some companies have been using accessibility statements to lie and deter people from suing them. However, most of the companies who were sued for providing an inaccessible website had an accessibility statement on the site. Their sites were not compliant, not even 50% complaint.
Do not pay an outrageous amount.
Accessibility statements are a relatively “new” thing. And, with anything new, there are bandwagoners. Even some that may try to take advantage of you by charging you to create an accessibility statement. For example, our team encountered an individual who went around stating that all you need is an accessibility statement on your website, and you would be compliant. This individual charged $2,000 to write the statement. And before you laugh, or think “NO WAY”, this person had paying clients! If this generator from Nomensa proves anything, it’s that you don’t have to pay a fortune for an accessibility statement.
This post was written by Clerise Phillip Samuel.
Originally published at https://brailleworks.com on January 2, 2020.