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Why Comply To WCAG 2.0 Accessibility

Why Comply To WCAG 2.0 Accessibility

Why Comply To WCAG 2.0 Accessibility

Being a public website now means that you have to be accessible to all users, even if you are not a government organization. In the past, only government and federal websites needed to be in compliance with Section 508. Section 508 is a set of rules and regulations that websites need to follow to make them accessible to those with disabilities. The update in 2001 was based on the WCAG 1.0. However, WCAG 2.0 Accessibility is going to be added to the Section 508 guidelines in the near future. WCAG 2.0 Accessibility guidelines have already been adopted in Canada, and other countries have their own similar guidelines.

What Can Happen Without WCAG 2.0 Accessibility

With these new website guidelines being put into place, the question then becomes “what happens if you are not compliant with the guidelines?” The simple answer is you can end up in a court of law, which has been happening more in the last few years than ever before.

One of the biggest and most recent cases was against the H&R Block Corporation. The reason for this court case was based on the fact their websites were not accessible to the blind. This was one of the first cases where a company was sued because they did not meet ADA requirements, it also maybe the first time that a website was stated to be a place of public accommodation.

However, this was not the first time a website was asked to follow the Website Accessibility Guide. Monster.Com, which is one of the largest job search websites, signed an agreement to create a new web accessibility program by National Federation of the Blind, and the Attorney General’s. More companies may be asked to do this in the future.

One of the most famous cases was in 2008 and involves the NFB and the Target Corporation. The result of this case was a settlement of $6 million dollars to the California NFB. Target also agreed to work with the NFB to certify their website with the NFB’s Non-Visual Accessibility Web Certification Programs.

The Extent of The Risk

While many of the cases have been settled outside of court, there is no known number of how many websites have been threatened with lawsuits. Avoiding these lawsuits about how accessible a website is started by using the Website Accessibility Checklist.  This checklist describes the basic needs of a website that is seen as accessible.

Another method to check how accessible your website is to have a website audit done, a website audit checks much more than what is on the Website accessibility checklist. An audit checks the whole website and recommends what changes should be done to the website to make it accessible. Since many guidelines are changing, and lawsuits starting to clarify what websites need to have, the work needs to be done now.

For more advice and to get your free, bespoke  web page audit, click here.

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