The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) will require the websites of large organizations in Ontario to follow the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. This takes expertise, and compliance won’t happen overnight.
But while you’re working towards it, there are other steps you can take to improve website accessibility – and improve the customer experience for people with disabilities in the digital world.
Obviously, it’s preferable for websites to be fully accessible. But if you’ve got an inaccessible site now, it might be overwhelming to fix it all at once. That’s ok. Do it incrementally.
Here’s a quick suggestion: if you run a restaurant, and you’re putting your menu online, make sure it’s not a scanned graphic, but a text page. It’s a simple step, but text will be easier for everyone to read – including smartphone users.
Assistive Technology: a Turnkey Solution
Rather than make ad-hoc accommodations as situations come up, many organizations are thinking ahead and offering assistive technology that’s free to the visitor, right on their website.
Assistive technology products and services can boost accessibility with minimal expense and hassle. And they can transform the customer experience for many of your customers. They can make it easier for customers with disabilities to browse and interact with your website, make purchases, conduct financial transactions, and even book travel.
With the technology, customers who can’t browse the website using a keyboard or a mouse have the option of navigating completely hands-free, using tools such as face tracking and voice-activated navigation.
The beauty of featuring a software solution is that you can improve customer experience today, even if your company is not ready to become fully WCAG 2.0 compliant.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stop after implementing one solution. Accessibility needs to be part of what you do every day. It’s not an afterthought, or a problem you only deal with if someone complains.
There may be an up-front cost to achieve the accessibility standards, but the upside is significant growth in your potential customer base: you’ve just opened up your market to 15% of the population who have disabilities.
And that’s quite a payoff.
An Innovative Solution
eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY has developed a comprehensive accessibility solution to help organizations follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and achieve and maintain compliance with standards and regulations. This includes integrating web compliance evaluation services with assistive technology to deliver a transformative experience for people with disabilities.