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Tuesday Aug 15th, 2023

WCAG 2.1: Understanding ADA Compliant Websites

ADA Compliant Websites

User experience guides every web design or app project we take on here at Werkbot. It doesn't matter how sleek the design is or what kind of bells and whistles it features if a visitor can't find the info they are looking for.  

Central to user experience is Accessibility.

Hearing and visual impairments shouldn't prevent users from navigating a website. They must be able to view images and copy, submit forms, and complete calls to action as easily as users without impairments. 

Beyond being a moral imperative, it is also a legal requirement to ensure your website is accessible to all individuals. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been actively working on setting clear guidelines for web accessibility, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA has emerged as the gold standard.

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Additionally, the DOJ is publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, (NPRM) explaining proposed updates to the regulations for Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Its goal is to add more specific requirements about web and mobile application (app) accessibility. You can view information about this here.

What is WCAG 2.1 Level AA?

WCAG 2.1 is an evolution of the earlier WCAG 2.0 guidelines. It incorporates all the requirements from WCAG 2.0 and introduces 12 new Level A and AA requirements. These additions, which have been around since 2018, are particularly beneficial for individuals with low vision, manual dexterity disabilities, and cognitive and learning disabilities.

WCAG 2.1 Highlights

  1. Text Formatting: One of the standout features of WCAG 2.1 is its emphasis on text formatting. The guidelines require text to be formatted in a way that's easily readable when magnified, catering to individuals with low vision who use magnifying tools.
  2. Conformance Levels: To be labeled as ADA compliant, websites must meet both Level A and Level AA success criteria and conformance requirements specified in WCAG 2.1. This comprehensive approach ensures a broad spectrum of accessibility features are covered.
  3. International Consistency: Adopting WCAG 2.1 Level AA aligns ADA requirements with standards that have been widely accepted internationally. This global consistency is a testament to the robustness and relevance of the guidelines.
  4. Dynamic Web Content: Websites today are dynamic, with content that's frequently updated. The DOJ acknowledges the challenges this poses in ensuring continuous compliance with accessibility standards. However, with the right tools and strategies, this can be managed effectively.
  5. Feedback and Remediation: An interesting approach that is under consideration is allowing entities to demonstrate compliance by establishing robust policies and practices for accessibility feedback, testing, and remediation.

The Werkbot Commitment

We understand the nuances of web accessibility and specialize in helping organizations, particularly those in the financial, healthcare, and utilities sectors, build ADA compliant, accessible websites. With the spotlight on WCAG 2.1 Level AA, our team is equipped and ready to guide you through the process of ensuring your website is not only compliant but also user-friendly.

Web accessibility is more than just a checkbox; it's about inclusivity and ensuring everyone has equal access to online information and services. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying updated with guidelines like WCAG 2.1 is crucial. Partner with experts like Werkbot to navigate this journey seamlessly.