The WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines): what it is and why it’s important for your business.

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Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, is considered to be the benchmark for website accessibility. The WCAG guidelines is the best and the most efficient way of making your website accessible for all of your customers.

What Is WCAG 2.1

WCAG 2.0 was released 2008, superseding WCAG 1.0 and consisting of 12 guidelines arranged under 4 categories.

WCAG 2.1, the most current iteration, expanded upon 2.0 with additional criteria to better support users with cognitive disabilities, users with low vision, and users with disabilities using mobile devices. WCAG 2.1 was released in 2018 and follows POUR:

  • Perceivable

Put quite simply, this means the content must be detectable to a user’s senses. Therefore, it’s key to present information that can be perceived in a variety of ways where a visitor can make changes to enlarge the size of font, changes to colour contrasts and caption videos.

  • Operable

This is all about making sure your users can comfortably navigate your site, navigation must be operable to users in ways they can operate. Therefore, required interactions can be performed using keyboard or voice commands and don’t restrict how long it takes someone to read a piece of content.

  • Understandable

Users must be able to process the information in front of them and this covers for example, information and instructions are clear and navigation methods are easy to understand and use.

  • Robust

This covers the importance of thinking about the likely ways that technology could evolve. Therefore, content needs to be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of users and different assistive technologies. As a rule, if technology and the user change and develop the code and content should remain accessible.

What are the WCAG 2.1 levels of conformance ?

The WCAG 2.1 has three levels of conformance Levels, A, AA and AAA and each guideline has its own principle and success criteria.

Level A defines the lowest level of conformance, and Level AAA defines the highest level of conformance, which is the most difficult to achieve.

Currently, much web content is able to achieve Level A conformance thanks to awareness of basic techniques such as alt text, keyboard navigation and colour contrasts.

 However, it is rare for content to meet even Level AA of conformance, and Level AAA conformance is exceptionally rare and difficult to meet. Many large businesses and government organisations around the world mandate for their content to meet Level AA conformance of WCAG 2.1.

How does the WCAG 2.1 Impact your Business ?

  1. Lawsuits

From 2017 to 2018, the number of website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal court under Title III of the ADA shot up from 814 to 2,258. This trend will likely continue as more users hold noncompliant websites and other digital tools accountable.

Recent high-profile suits have called out Winn-Dixie, Beyoncé and Burger King. In a particularly unsavory 2019 story, instead of fixing its online ordering feature and Domino’s pizza which was originally brought by a blind man named Guillermo Robles, who sued the pizza chain after he was unable to order food on Domino’s website and mobile app despite using screen-reading software.

  1. Good Customer Experience

The experience you provide to all of your customers can be greatly improved when it’s accessible to them. Your goal should be to make your website for your visitors and not for yourself. Try to view your website from multiple angles to make sure you are consistently adhering to accessibility standards across device types and browser types. improve customer experience by making your website accessible to all.

Simply put, keep customer experience in mind as you’re developing your website for accessibility standards, and you’re bound to see business results. In fact, 84 percent of companies that prioritize customer experience report revenue increases.

  1. Search Engine Optimisation

When you apply WCAG 2.1 compliance standards for your website, search engines respond favourably. Google analyses your website for accessibility violations by having an accessible site It improves usability and functionality which impacts the SEO of your site and allows your rankings to improve.

Writing accurate and descriptive alt tags for images on your website is a good place to start to bring your website up to date. Adding alt tags to your images allows someone who uses a screen reader to get an accurate idea of all the information on your website, including your images.

Most often your image descriptions contain keywords that are helpful for the person visiting your site and for your search rankings.

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