Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the international standard for making websites and website content more accessible to disabled persons. This covers a wide range of recommendations for making your website content more accessible.
Following these guidelines will make your website’s content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, such as blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these.
A website using the WCAG recommendations will often make your web content more usable to users in general and help rank better with search engines because of it’s clean systematic approach.
In 2005, the Ontario legislature passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). It was passed with the intent of improving access to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises in Ontario for all individuals with disabilities.
This means if you are a large organization (over 50 employees) you are required by law to ensure that new websites or those undergoing a significant redesign (new look, navigation and/or change to content) to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level A.
- Text Alternatives
Ensure text alternatives are in place for non-text content such as images or video. This could be as simple as using larger print, symbols, or simpler language.
Adaptable content means your site may be presented in different ways. This could be a simpler layout, while still maintaining the same information and structure.
Ensure your text is readable by providing a strong colour contrast between text and background and that the font size is at least 14 points or easily re-sizeable.
Links and controls should be easily identifiable with keyboard or mouse focus.
- Keyboard Accessible
Your entire website should be completely keyboard accessible without using a mouse.
- Provide Enough Time
Make sure that any content that is set to change automatically (such as banners) has pause or manual control as people with dyslexia or other reading disabilities may need more time to take in the information.
- Do Not Cause Seizures
Avoid rapidly flashing images/objects or any other elements that are known to cause seizures.
Make your links visually distinguishable, and structure your site intuitively to help users navigate and find content and always easily identify where they currently are.
Ensuring your product, service or message content is easily readable and understandable enables everyone easy comprehension.
Make sure your text is distinguishable and easy to read in size, style, colour and format.
Keep a consistent style / structure across the different pages of your site.
Such things as keeping your navigation in a consistent location and notifying users if links will direct them away form your site or open new windows help keep your site predictable.
- Input Assistance
Any forms or request for user input should be clearly explained, keyboard accessible and even provide ‘help’ links. If a form is rejected because of incorrect or missing fields, these should be very clearly marked with instructions on how to fix to proceed.
Make sure your website is compatible with screen readers and other assistive technology softwares and tools.