Check the accessibility of your page

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Prioritize

Break down complex accessibility issues into easy-to-understand, prioritized tasks

With Siteimprove, you can prioritize issues based on where in the content they occur, conformance level, and difficulty to fix, so you can efficiently remove accessibility barriers that affect the way users experience your brand. You don’t have to be an accessibility expert to get started — we pinpoint issues via on-page and in-code highlights. And our built-in education is there to guide you and your team towards compliance and implement best practices that prevent future accessibility issues.

Measure success

Easily measure success and report progress towards accessibility compliance

Use historical graphs and the unique DCI® score to demonstrate progress towards compliance across your sites and benchmark your results against industry standards. Our comprehensive DCI score, customizable dashboards, and automated accessibility reports give you an easy way to measure and document progress, both internally and externally, while keeping your team motivated and on track.

Complete overview

Protect your organization from legal and reputational risk

Siteimprove gives you a complete overview of your web assets. Automatically check all your pages, PDFs, and content against WCAG standards, ensuring that you consistently work towards section 508 compliance or ADA compliance and avoid potential lawsuits or brand damage. Automated accessibility audits help by monitoring thousands of pages at a time to find common issues across your digital assets, enabling you to make impactful site-wide fixes that bring you closer to compliance.

Automated accessibility checks

Siteimprove provides automated testing that strictly adheres to WCAG compliance standards, so you can spot issues and errors across all conformance levels. Automated accessibility testing allows you to simultaneously audit hundreds of thousands of pages across dozens of sites, so you can prioritize the parts of your website that need swift attention. Siteimprove also runs automated accessibility tests on your PDFs to ensure they are accessible and user-friendly.

Guidance and practical recommendations

You don’t have to be an expert to understand accessibility guidelines. Siteimprove helps ensure your users have access to the information they need, creating an inclusive brand experience. We turn accessibility standards into relevant and actionable to-dos – get clear explanations of issues, advice on how to resolve them, and references to official WCAG techniques.

Issue highlighting

Use Page Reports to see accessibility issues highlighted directly on your web page or within your source code so you don’t waste time scrolling to locate the problem. With CMS deeplinking, you can go directly from an issue in the Siteimprove platform to the corresponding page in your CMS to fix the problem. Page Reports also allow you to cross-check your content for other quality assurance problems such as broken links, spelling mistakes, or SEO issues that negatively impact user experience.

Accessibility issue categorization

You can organize and filter accessibility issues depending on their location on your site. This helps you to make smart decisions about which issues to prioritize and which teams should be involved, speeding up remediation and ensuring consistent results across your sites.

Progress monitoring

Stay on top of accessibility issues and document your progress towards accessibility conformance with clear documentation. Keeping track of your efforts is easier with a detailed overview of resolved accessibility issues and how they affect your overall accessibility score. Share your progress and achievements with other teams and key stakeholders to ensure alignment and demonstrate accessibility compliance over time.

Potential issues

Some accessibility issues require a human to verify them. With a simple, guided review flow, you can easily check if a given page element is accessible or if it needs to be fixed. Thanks to Potential issues, you increase your testing coverage and can manage more accessibility issues in-house.

How to get started with web accessibility

Making your website more accessible can be a more straightforward process than you might think. While it’s true that some parts of web accessibility require specialist knowledge, many aspects are quite simple – in fact, a lot of web accessibility rules echo the principles of good design and search engine optimization best practice. Here’s a six-step guide on how to get started with your web accessibility journey.

Familiarize yourself with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Before starting your journey, you need to know where to go – and how to get there. Fortunately, this road is already exhaustively mapped out and documented thanks to WCAG. WCAG is the golden standard for web accessibility worldwide and complying with it is the best way to give your website visitors an accessible experience. It’s also the most commonly-referenced set of standards in accessibility lawsuits 

web accessibility wcag illustration

List your digital assets that need to be made accessible:

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the WCAG framework, it’s time to apply it to all your website assets. Web accessibility is more than the text you have on your website, it also incorporates your website code, as well as multimedia documents like PDFs, videos, images, and audio files.

web accessibility digital assets

Test your website:

Now you know what needs to be accessible, it’s time to perform a comprehensive accessibility audit. Testing is essential for detecting accessibility issues on your website and understanding the scope of remediation. As this can be a truly gargantuan task for larger, more complex websites or organizations with multiple domains, using an automated accessibility testing tool can significantly speed this step up. Combine your automated scan with manual testing for the clearest and fullest picture of your website’s accessibility status.

web accessibility testing

Prioritize the most critical violations:

While all accessibility barriers will need to be addressed in the long-term, it makes sense to allocate your resources smartly. It’s recommended to begin with high-impact, easy-to-resolve web accessibility issues at WCAG level A and AA, then move on to those which affect your website visitors less or that are more challenging and time-consuming to achieve, such as level AAA success criteria.

website accessibility illustration

Integrate automated testing into your accessibility process:

Not all organizations have employees with expert accessibility knowledge or the resources to run regular manual accessibility checks on their websites. Adding an automated accessibility tool to your accessibility testing regime will ensure your site is regularly and thoroughly reviewed. Automated testing also eliminates the possibility of human error and frees up your team to focus on more strategic development and design tasks.

web accessibility processes illustration

Monitor your progress:

It’s important to implement processes for measuring and reporting on your progress towards accessibility compliance. Don’t fall into the trap of seeing it as a one-off project: accessibility is never ‘done’. Any changes to your content or code could introduce new accessibility issues onto your website and harm the user experience. A ‘paper trail’ is also useful for proving your compliance with accessibility legislation over time.

web accessibility progress monitoring illustration

Web accessibility F.A.Q.

How does a blind person order their groceries online? Or someone with a prosthetic arm play an online game? Or how about all the other tasks carried out online by people with diverse abilities for that matter 

The internet has become an indispensable part of our daily lives, which means that it should be equally accessible for everyone – regardless of ability. That is why organizations must now factor web accessibility into both the design and the digital experience provided by their websites. 

Web accessibility is the principle of designing websites to ensure that users with diverse abilities can enjoy a smooth and easy online experience.  

The number of people who need a more accessible digital experience is larger than you might think. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports (CDC) reports that 61 million adult Americans are living with some form of disability, ranging from visual impairment, to auditory loss, to physical disabilities, to reduced cognitive function, to temporary disabilities.  

Designing your website in a way that is easy to navigate, whatever the abilities of your usersis essential to creating a more universal digital experienceAdditionally, building a more accessible website also protects you from the risk of accessibility lawsuitsand can even boost your brand reputation as an organization that advocates for – and acts on – digital inclusivity.

Disabilities that might impact how a person interacts with a website include: 

  • AuditoryAuditory disabilities range from mild or moderate hearing loss to deafness in both ears.  
  • Cognitive, learning, and neurological: These types of disability affect how people hear, move, see, speak, and comprehend information. They include learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, memory impairments like dementia, seizure disorders like epilepsy, and nerve disorders like multiple sclerosis.  
  • PhysicalPhysical disabilities might include missing limbs, arthritis, muscular dystrophy, repetitive stress injuries, involuntary tremors and spasms, and other disorders that cause reduced physical dexterity that can interfere with website use.  
  • SpeechDifficulties with producing speech, including stuttering, mutism, and apraxia of speech, can make it difficult to use websites that require voice interaction.  
  • VisualVisual disabilities include color blindness, low vision, blindness, and deaf-blindness.  

Disabilities aren’t necessarily always permanent conditions. Inaccessible websites can also make it impossible for people with temporary or age-related disabilities, such as a broken hand, an injured eye, or someone missing their reading glasses to use a website.  

WCAG is a set of globally accepted standards that give businesses a clear starting point from which to build inclusive websites that are accessible to all users. WCAG standards are built on four key principles that aim to address every aspect of the online user experience. They are: 

  1. PerceivableThe information on your website should be presented to users in a way that can be easily perceived. This means ensuring that your text is easily readable, that your multimedia components have alternatives, and that your web design is clear and responsive. 
  2. OperableAll the components of your website and your user interface should be easy-to-use with a variety of tools. The interface should not require any interaction that a user with disabilities cannot perform, for example, single-mode inputs, complex interactive elements, or timed elements.   
  3. UnderstandableThe information presented on your site should be easily understandable to all users. This means designing simple processes, increasing the predictability of various on-site actions, and offering input assistance for users. 
  4. RobustYour website should be able to be dependably interpreted by a wide variety of users, including those using assistive technologies.  

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the internationally recognized golden standard for web accessibility today. The most current version of these guidelines is WCAG 2.1, which were published in June 2018.

WCAG 2.2 is scheduled to be published in 2021. All requirements in WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 will also be included in WCAG 2.2. Version 2.2 will also include new accessibility requirements. And as the web is constantly evolving, preparations for WCAG 3.0 are already under way.

The WCAG are split into levels of compliance – also known as conformance. Each level stipulates progressively stricter criteria that need to be met for a website to be considered accessible.

The three conformance levels are:

  • Level A: This is the minimum level of accessibility compliance. Level A prohibits elements that would make a website impossible or extremely challenging for visitors with disabilities to access. It’s the easiest set of success criteria to meet.
  • Level AA: This includes all level A and AA requirements. Most accessibility legislation requires organizations to meet level AA guidelines.
  • Level AAA: The highest level of accessibility compliance.

To be compliant with any WCAG level, you need to meet every one of the guidelines at that level.

You should aim to attain full level AA conformance on your website, as well as any level AAA success criteria you are reasonably able to achieve. With each success criteria you meet, your website will become accessible to a broader audience. Many organizations think about WCAG compliance only in terms of attaining a certain level of conformance, but that should not be the end goal. Instead, think of meeting each level as a minimum requirement. It can then serve as a starting point to think more broadly and progressively about your website’s user experience.

The number of web accessibility lawsuits has surged upwards in recent yearsAccording to Seyfarth Shaw LLP, the number of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) digital accessibility lawsuits filed in the US in 2018 was nearly three times as many as in 2017. 

Though legislation entirely dedicated to website accessibility is yet to exist, several US laws encompass digital accessibility in various ways. The most prominent of these laws are: 

  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973): A new clause added to this Act specifies that government / public sector agencies must make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. 
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)While the ADA does not explicitly mention website accessibility, in the past, the Department of Justice has interpreted its scope to extend into the digital space as well. Lack of accessibility for websites can therefore expose businesses to discrimination lawsuits.   
  • 21st Century Communications Accessibility Act (2010)This Act dictates that advanced communications services and products should be accessible by people with disabilities. 

To avoid the very real risk of legal action, you should ensure that your website adheres to global accessibility standards, such as those defined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). 

Data from an American Institutes for Research study reveals that the after-tax disposable income for working age Americans with disabilities comes to almost $490 billion. That’s a highly significant market by any standard. Yet many American organizations are failing to adequately engage this group – and they are missing out in the process. A 2019 Nucleus Research study estimated that US e-commerce retailers were losing up to $6.9 billion of revenue opportunity to more accessible competitor websites. 

It’s clear that Americans with disabilities represent a significant market opportunity for the organizations that do consider their unique needs. A well-designed website with enhanced accessibility features is key to capturing the attention of – and eventually converting – such users, since it makes their browsing easier (and in some cases, possible) and demonstrates that your business is committed to creating an equal user experience for all.  

Remember, while accessible design is essential for some people, it’s useful for everyoneWeb accessibility also benefits: 

  • Those using devices with small screens, such as mobile phones, smart watches, and smart TVs 
  • Older people whose abilities are changing due to ageing 
  • Users with temporary disabilities, such as a broken armlost glasses, or recovering from surgery 
  • Anyone experiencing situational limitations, like bright sunlight or a noisy environment where reading audio transcript is necessary 
  • Those with a slow internet connection or limited bandwidth 

Apart from increased revenue potential, web accessibility is important to safeguard your brand from potentially expensive and damaging accessibility lawsuits, which have increased by 177% since 2017. Several key pieces of legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Section 508 amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 have extended the scope of anti-discrimination laws to online domains as well, which means that providing a poor user experience for users with disabilities can have serious legal consequences.  

Creating an accessible website is therefore important not just for ethical reasons, but also to position your organization as a proponent of digital inclusivity and to extend your market reach into a relatively untapped segment.  

The benefits of web accessibility include: 

  • Increasing the usability of your website. 
  • Improving your website quality score and search engine rankings by bringing down the bounce rate of users with disabilities. 
  • Increasing organic site traffic by reaching a wider audience. 
  • Increasing the number of on-site conversions by providing more seamless user journey for users with disabilities. 
  • Safeguarding your brand reputation by avoiding damaging and expensive accessibility lawsuits. 
  • Building a positive brand image for your organization as a champion of digital inclusion. 

Comprehensive website accessibility testing ensures that your web content presents no barriers to anyone – including people with disabilities. Besides helping you create a more digitally inclusive brand, regular accessibility testing helps your website stay compliant with both US and international web accessibility legislation, like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act 

Some key ways in which web accessibility can be implemented are: 

  • Providing alt texts to images on your website so they can be interpreted by users who access your site via screen readers, or for those whose poor internet connections make image loading prohibitive. 
  • Organizing content using headings, which makes it easier for assistive technologies to navigate webpages. 
  • Ensuring the right choice of color contrast to make your page content as readable as possible. 
  • Providing users with helpful tips for form fields such as required indicatorsclear input format, and defined form controls. 
  • Ensuring that any anchor text in your page content is descriptive enough to indicate where clicking on it will take users. 
  • Transcripts for media contentespecially for users who are hard of hearing, or have slower cognitive functions. 
  • Accessible menus and navigation to make it easier for users to find the information they need on your site. 
  • Text areas with descriptionsText areas on your site should have a description that is explicitly associated with the area to ensure that users of assistive technologies can know what the area is for. 
  • Choosing simple, perceivable fonts, and offering users with disabilities the option to increase font sizing, parsing, and spacing, to make web content more readable. 

 

A more exhaustive list of implementations is defined in the WCAG, which are available on the website of the World Wide Web Consortium.