Is Your Website Accessible?
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As consumers have moved away from yellow pages and turned to Google and Yelp, it’s rare if a company hasn’t yet embraced the internet. Consumers are looking for convenience based on their schedule, ease, speed and assurance that their information will remain private. It’s simple – just give the consumer what they want, ensuring it’s safe, compliant with privacy laws and accessible to those with disabilities.
That’s right, disability accessible. In the current risk arena it’s common practice for companies to evaluate their website vulnerability to cyber exposures, but we don’t often find resources to ensure website disability accessibility.
While the issue of website accessibility isn’t new, it gained momentum in 2015 with actions taken against two universities for failure to provide content accessibility to non-course related material. While the need to ensure all students have equal access to the course material is evident, it didn’t appear consideration had been given to the differentiation in learning experience that had now precluded a group of individuals who didn’t have equal access to material on the website.
As a result of this inequality, in 2015 the Department of Justice stated they were going, “to explore whether rule making would be helpful in providing guidance as to how covered entities could meet their pre-existing obligations to make their websites accessible.” This was a change in direction from the guidance provided by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in their Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released in 2010. This guidance from 2010 claimed as long as an entity provided equal degree of access in an alternative method, this was acceptable. While the DOJ hasn’t published rules for website accessibility, a Federal Judge in the District of Massachusetts ruled the DOJ rules weren’t required for litigation.
When evaluating your company website, below are some key components that should be considered:
- Website compatibility with assistive technology (AT)
- Non-text content available in a text alternative
- Ability to request information in alternative format
- Sensory items that are properly described, providing equal interpretation of content
- Font and contrast considerations
- Accessibility through keyboard functionality
- Ability to extend or eliminate the time of content displayed on a timely basis
If you'd like help in deciding if your website is accessible, we're here to help. Contact an Assurance advisor today.
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