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What is web accessibility? Does my website need to be accessible?


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  • Published: 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
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What is web accessibility - Konverge

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.  Ontario has laws under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

Who must comply?

Whether or not your website is subject to the  AODA depends on a few factors.  Firstly, what type of organization are you? (business,nonprofit, public sector organization, municipality, educational institution, producer of educational material, or library board). Secondly, how many employees do you have?

If you are a business or nonprofit with 50+ employees, as of January 1, 2014 you are required to make any new websites, or current websites that are significantly updated, accessible.

From AODA:

"If you launch a new public website or your existing site undergoes a significant refresh, the site and any of its web content published after January 1, 2012, must conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A."

A significant refresh is defined as:

"changing more than 50% of the content, design or technology of the website."

To meet WCAG 2.0, Level A, an organization’s website must:

  • Provide captions and text alternatives for images and multimedia
  • Use strong contrast between text and background, and make text resizing available
  • Create content that can be presented using assistive technologies (such as screen readers) without losing meaning
  • Use structured content and make it keyboard accessible
  • Avoid CAPTCHAs (user challenges involving distorted letterforms) and give users enough time to read and use content
  • Avoid time limits when asking users to provide a response or information
  • Avoid blinking images
  • Avoid the use of color for indicators
  • Help users find and navigate content by making links specific (not ‘click here’)
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes by making error messages specific
  • Make tables and charts accessible to assistive technology

By January 1, 2021 all businesses and non-profit’s websites and web content must be accessible and meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA other than criteria 1.2.4 (live captions) and 1.2.5 (pre-recorded audio descriptions)

What happens if I don’t comply?

Failure to comply with the AODA web accessibility rules can result in fines of $50,000 per day or part day for directors and officers and fines of up to $100,000 per day or part day for the corporation.

What do I need to do?

If you are concerned about your AODA compliance, Konverge can provide you with a free consultation. To contact Konverge, please call (416) 640-2345 x. 208 or email info@konverge.com

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