Web Content Accessibility: What It Is & Why Your Law Firm Should Care


When it comes to digital content, accessibility refers to the design and development that enables people with disabilities to access and use mobile applications, websites, and other digital technology. With as many as 25% of adults in the United States living with some form of disability, ensuring your law firm websites are accessible to everyone is vital.

People living with disabilities tend to process data and information differently. Accessibility makes sure that users with disabilities have a similar experience to those who navigate the website using point-and-click and keyboard-based methods. All visitors should be able to access your entire website, from submitting a consultation request to making payment.

With 25% of the adults in the United States disabled, a fourth of your audience cannot use your law firm’s website effectively. Thus, it’s your responsibility to take all the necessary steps to ensure that the site is effectively accessible to all. Fortunately, web content accessibility is nothing complicated. In this article, we discuss how you can make your site accessible to everyone.

What Is Web Content Accessibility?

In a simple sense, we can define web content accessibility as all the strategies you use to develop a website’s design and make it easier for people with disabilities. The W3C or World Wide Web Consortium established a set of guidelines called the “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0” or WCAG 2.0 back in 2008.

The WCAG 2.0 provides a clear standard for web developers to ensure that a website is accessible to those living with disabilities. It includes different compliance levels ranging from A (the lowest) to AAA (the highest). This guideline seeks to enhance a site’s accessibility in four areas –

1. Perceivable: Perceivable refers to providing information in such a way that all users can understand. For example, providing alternative texts that users can convert into speech, large print, symbols, speech, or simple language
2. Understandable: Web designers must ensure that all information and features on a website are understandable. They should assist users in avoiding and correcting errors and ensure that web pages are consistent in their operation and appearance.
3. Operable: All features of a website should be accessible via a keyboard. Furthermore, all the content must be designed so that the users have enough time to read them. The site’s navigation design should be simple as well.
4. Robust: Websites should be robust enough to be compatible with different user agents such as assistive technologies.

Why Web Content Accessibility Matters For Your Law Firm’s Website

Web content accessibility ensures that everyone can access the web content regardless of their abilities or limitations. Ensuring web content accessibility isn’t only a moral obligation and financially advantageous for your practice. When your law firm’s website is accessible to everyone, it demonstrates that you care about everyone in the community.

Thus, you create an inclusive environment that stands against any discrimination people with disabilities face. In addition, you won’t have to worry about users with hearing or visual impairments facing any hindrances when navigating through your website. This way, you increase your law firm’s ability to attract more clients.

Your website ADA compliance is also important to maintain social responsibility and improve accessibility. Even as a moral obligation, your website should ensure accessibility to all as it brings us closer to a user’s experience. One of the most vital reasons for prioritizing accessibility is to provide a friendly user experience to website visitors.

Every visitor should find the website appealing, and there shouldn’t be any differences in the content or user experience based on their level of vision or hearing. Improving accessibility also benefits older people who can’t see well and those with slow internet access.

Ways To Make Your Law Firm’s Website Accessible For The Disabled
Let’s take a look at all the easiest ways you can make your website accessible to the people with disabilities –

1. Ensure That All CTAs And Forms Are Easily Accessible
Online forms are the primary key to your website’s lead generation. So it’s important to have forms that are both functional and accessible to ensure that more users can input their information. You can make forms and CTAs easily accessible on your site through –
1. Adding short and clear instructions.
2. Labeling all the form fields appropriately.
3. Make all the button instructions clear, like – “Submit consultation request” rather than “Submit.”
4. Check that all the forms are entirely operable through a keyboard.

2. Text Explanations For Audio And Video Content
In recent years, infographics have become hugely popular for a proper reason. However, they can make information inaccessible to people with visual disabilities.
So it’s important to use visual aids in your websites like labeled tables, detailed alternative titles, tags, and numbered or bulleted lists. Adding Image alt text can benefit both SEO and web content accessibility.

3. Enable Keyboard Navigation For Your Website
Many disabled internet users may be unable to navigate using a mouse. Such people tend to rely on a keyboard or various other input devices. Unfortunately, keyboard navigation may be frequently overlooked.
You can improve ADA website accessibility by keeping the most common keyboard navigation tools on your website. For example, –the ‘Enter’ key to access dropdown menus, the ‘Esc’ key to close the menu, and the ‘Tab’ key to alternate between web pages.

4. Remove Or Modify Time-constrained Elements
Individuals who use pointers or keyboard navigation often take longer to navigate a website. Unfortunately, many websites have timed elements, especially during the checkout process.
If your customers don’t get enough time to navigate the website, they may be timed out and lose their data. You should take proper steps to ensure no data is lost, even when an automatic time-out should occur.

5. Pay Attention To Usability Across Platforms And Technologies
According to current guidelines, websites need to evolve with the times. You may want to keep your website strong, but you should also ensure its content is valuable and serves a purpose.
Developing a user-friendly website is probably the most critical aspect to consider when making changes to your site. Check your site’s performance across devices and platforms regularly to ensure it remains high.

Making your law firm’s website content more accessible and usable ensures lead generation, SEO, and all visitors to your site have a positive experience, including disabled people. This article explains what web content accessibility is, why it’s crucial for your law firm websites, and how you can make them ADA compliant.

To remind you, website accessibility lawsuits are very real and it could really affect the image of your law firm if it gets one when you yourself deal with the lwa. We hope it was helpful, and thanks for reading till now.

Working on a website can be difficult. Adding new media and updating pages is chore, even though you know your company website needs to evolve and become more accessible to the many users you are trying to reach. Maybe when you first built it, accessibility wasn’t even really discussed. But now you’ve taken a step back, looked at your customer base with a desire to include everyone and you’ve realized just how important it is to make your site accessible. However, the thought of building a robust site that can do all the things you want it to do is overwhelming.

What is Web Accessibility

A practice of designing and coding the website in order to provide complete compatibility in accessing it by people with disabilities. In addition, it is a way to improve search engine optimization only an ADA Compliant Web Designer will help you to make your website Compliant. Is your website compatible? By going through the checklist below, you can get the answer.

Assessing Current Web Pages and Content

  • The website must include a feature like a navigation link at the top of the page. These links have a bypass mechanism such as a “skip navigation” link. This feature directs screen readers to bypass the row of navigation links and start at the web page content. It is beneficial for people who use screen readers to avoid to listen to all the links each time they jump to a new page.
  • All the links should be understandable when taken out of the context. For example, images without alternative text and links without worded as “click here”.
  • All the graphics, maps, images, and other non-text content must provide text alternatives through the alt attribute, a hidden/visible long description.
  • All the documents posted on the website should available in HTML or another accessible text-based format. It is also applicable to other formats like Portable Document Format (PDF).
  • The online forms on the website should be structured so assistive technology can identify, describe and operate the controls and inputs. By doing this, people with disabilities can review and submit the forms.
  • If the website has online forms, the drop-down list should describe the information instead of displaying a response option. For instance, “Your Age” instead of “18-25”.
  • If the website has data charts and tables, they should be structured so that all data cells are associated with column and row identifiers.
  • All the video files on the website must have audio descriptions (if necessary). This is for the convenience of blind people or for having a visual impairment disability.
  • All the video files on the website must have synchronized captions. People with hearing problems or deaf can access these files conveniently.
  • All the audio files on the website should have synchronized captions to provide access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • All web pages should be designed so that they can be viewed using visitors’ web browser and operating system settings for color and font.

About Website Accessibility Policy and Procedures

  • One must have a written policy on website accessibility.
  • The website accessibility policy must be posted on the website at a location where it can be easily found.
  • The procedure should be developed to ensure that content is not added to the website until it has been made accessible.
  • It should be confirmed that the website manager has checked the code and structure of all new web pages before they are posted.
  • While adding the PDFs to the website, these should be accessible. Also, the text-based versions of the documents should be accessible at the same time as PDF versions.
  • Make sure that the in-house and contractor staff has received the information about the website accessibility policy and procedure to confirm the website accessibility.
  • It should be confirmed that in-house and contractor staff has received appropriate training on how to ensure the accessibility of the website.
  • The website should have a specific written plan if it contains inaccessible content. Also, it should include timeframes in place to make all of the existing web content accessible.
  • A complete plan to improve website accessibility should be posted along with invited suggestions for improvement.
  • The homepage should include easily locatable information that includes contact details like telephone number and email address. This is useful for reporting website accessibility problems and requesting accessibility services with information.
  • A website should have procedures in place to assure a quick response to the visitors with disabilities who have difficulty in accessing information or services available on the website.
  • Feedback from people who use a variety of assistive technologies is helpful in ensuring website accessibility. So make sure to ask disability groups representing people to provide feedback on the accessibility of your website.
  • Testing the website using a product available on the internet is helpful, These tools are of free cost and check the accessibility of a website. They may not identify all accessibility issues and flag issues that are not accessibility problems. However, these are, nonetheless, a helpful way to improve website accessibility.

Checklist of Action Items for Improving the Accessibility of a Website

In addition, while considering the above suggestions, the following checklist initially prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Federal Agencies provides further guidelines on ways to make websites more accessible for persons with disabilities.

This practical advice, as well as another checklist, are available at:

Satisfying all of these items does not necessarily mean that a website complies with ADA, but it will improve the website’s accessibility and decrease the risk of litigation. Again, an Expert or Web Accessibility Consulting & Services provider should be engaged to conduct a comprehensive review of your website.
Nothing brings you closer to reality than actually facing it. This is the premise of my latest attempt to spread awareness about Web Accessibility.
For better understand, here is a link in which a practical example is shown to make the websites’ user experience better by following the guidelines. Also, it tells the issues affecting various users on the internet with solutions.
You can make your website ADA compliant in an easy way by consulting the professionals, who can do this job effortlessly. Also, you can get a quick website audit from To Be ADA Compliant that offers complete web accessibility consulting & services in California, USA.

Resource: https://dev.to/chinchang/an-interactive-and-practical-introduction-to-web-accessibility-22o1