Accessibility Is Not Easy, But It Is Essential to Success

Accessibility Is Not Easy, But It Is Essential to Success

A major jewelry store chain in New England recently upgraded its website with an accessibility tool that can be accessed from a floating widget at the bottom left corner of the home page. The widget is the work of accessiBe, an information technology company that focuses on providing tools that comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Clicking on that page element brings up a menu with different options you can choose for specific disabilities.

In the United States, there are various schools of thought related to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. On one hand, many designers and professionals believe that 100% adherence to the Americans with Disabilities Act is a must, which means that all WCAG recommendations should be closely followed before thinking about the implementation of widgets. On the other hand, many clients will simply be concerned with minimum WCAG compliance; in other words, just enough accessibility to avoid a lawsuit.

There is no question that 100% accessibility should be in the minds of all designers and developers when taking on new projects; in fact, developers should make a priority to recommend full WCGA compliance to each and every client, but we know that few will not consider such level of accessibility based on aesthetic and budgetary factors. Some clients will hesitate when they realize that full compliance may require significant work at a higher cost, which is when they are more likely to consider solutions such as accessiBe widgets.

The problem with accessibility add-on elements is that they may not always work across all platforms, and this could end up turning into a lawsuit. The case law that has been building up around the issue of website accessibility is leaning heavily towards plaintiffs, and court opinions on this matter suggest that we are heading towards a future of 100% compliance.

As cool and functional as accessiBe widgets are, they will not fend off potential lawsuits, and this is what most clients are really interested in. The best approach for 2020 is to err on the side of complete accessibility. Focusing on full compliance will always be better than looking for silver bullets such as widgets. For more information click here

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