Accessibility means that all websites, tools and technologies are designed and developed to be used by everyone, including individuals with a variety of disabilities. Everyone should have the ability to understand, navigate and interact with a website and contribute to the web, including by the use of assistive technologies.
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
– SIR TIM BERNERS-LEE, INVENTOR OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Examples of disabilities that web accessibility supports are:
Web accessibility also benefits users on different devices; older people with changing abilities from age; temporary disabilities like a broken arm; situational disabilities (like bright sunlight or an environment where they cannot listen to audio); and users who have a slow internet connection.
Web accessibility is required by law in many situations.
The WCAG standards are developed and maintained by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium, the main international standards organization for the Internet.
508 is shorthand for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires federal government websites and applications to be safe and accessible for people with disabilities.
508 Compliance is equivalent to WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines (note that it's the older version!) – so they represent a subset of the current accessibility guidelines. They are mandatory to follow for government websites.
In this checklist, we have highlighted where 508 Compliance comes into play but including a 508 tag. Note that this checklist does not include an exhaustive list of 508 Compliance standards, which you can find here.
Studies show that accessible websites:
While inaccessible websites lead to:
Providing an equal experience for everyone is also just the right thing to do.
There are many ways to include accessibility best practices into every department of your business. Here are a few suggestions to get you started so you can have a more accessible brand and web presence:
"The web was meant to be an equalizer, a level playing field for everyone. Ensuring accessibility on the web is everyone’s responsibility."
Laura Swartz LookThink
Learn how to make your website more accessible and inclusive with LookThink's Self-Guided step-by-step audit. This self-guided audit will help you figure out where you can make your website more accessible