ADA Compliance Testing & Auditing
Sect 508 & ADA Website Compliance Testing Starts With WCAG Accessibility Auditing
The Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) is the defacto guideline for the Americans with Disabilities Act (commercial entities) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitatin Act (public entities) compliance for digital properties and content. Web apps and mobile apps are considered subject as well, but the overwhelming priority and legal focus has been on websites. The best practices for maximum accessiblity and legal protection for your mobile or online software is the same for websites which combines machine and human testing. We start with a 3 step WCAG audit that includes automated scanning, human assistive technology testing, and manual UX and code reviews. Whether you need section 508 or ADA website compliance testing, our audits are performed by web accessibility experts. All senior level with more than 17 years of experience providing thorough WCAG audits.
A few quick points to be aware of:
- Beware of growing silver bullet solutions that promise a cheap and quick solution with buzzwords like "AI".
- The risk is real and growing, and not expected to go away. Demand letters appear to be increasing during the pandemic.
- There are two parts to the process: Website WCAG Audit followed by Remediation.
- Automated testing alone can only detect ~30% of WCAG issues.
But the first question to ask is where are you in the lifecycle of your website? Has your website been refreshed in the past 4 or 5 years? No? Then consider saving your money on WCAG auditing and website remediation, and invest in a fresh WCAG compliant web site built by web accessibility designers and developers specializing in 508 / ADA compliant websites.
If you’re set with your current site and want to move ahead with Auditing & Remediation, here is what that looks like:
WCAG Website Auditing for Sect 508 or ADA Compliance
To ensure that people with disabilities can access your website and its content, and to reduce legal exposure, we offer two levels web accessibility testing.
1. 360° WCAG AUDIT & REMEDIATION GUIDE
This package provides the most comprehensive web accessibility audit, and the most useful reporting guide for remediation. It follows best practices for ADA and Section 508 website auditing.
360° WCAG AUDIT
1. Automated WCAG Testing
In this process we will use multiple systems to thoroughly test the site. We start by using top industry software for site-wide testing and issue documentation. While software is effective in catching the broad volume of issues, software is “dumb” and can only identify ~30% of issue types. Software alone cannot provide thourough web accessibility and WCAG compliance auditing.
2. Manual WCAG Testing
All templates and unique pages are identified and tested so that systemic errors can be identified and remediation applied across the entire system in an efficient manner. In addition to manual code testing, we use color contrast analyzers, code inspections tools, and MSAA Inspector, which exposes the communication between the application and the Accessibility API layer, which then translates information to the screen readers.
3. Assistive Technology Testing
The third and final step of the testing process is to test using assistive technologies. At this point, the majority of the issues have been identified. But here we put ourselves into the position of the disabled individual and navigate through core use-cases and templates. In so doing, we identify the particular pain points that various Assistive technologies (ATs) have within an experience. The desktop ATs used for this testing include JAWS, NVDA, Zoom Text, and Dragon Naturally Speaking. For mobile we test using TalkBack for Android and VoiceOver for iOS.
360° WCAG REMEDIATION GUIDE REPORT
The key value of the audit is the resulting reporting. Here, we not only report on what's wrong, we show how to fix it. Its more than an audit, its a remediation guide that's designed specifically for designers, developers, and content managers to efficiently remediate the website.
2. AUTOMATED WCAG PRIORITY AUDIT
Many take a phased approach to web accessibility starting with an automate audit. Using top industry software we will scan the entire website and provide reporting that will identify issues and provide remediation guidance for each.
The volume of issues that typically come from a website audit can be overwhelming. This service takes the output of our auditing software and provides a level of analysis to establish priorities. We break down the audit into 5 priority categories, and then segment issues in each category into 5 subsequent levels based on severity. This way you can best proceed with remediation based on priority.
Things to Look Out For
Do Not Rely Only on Automated Audits
The WCAG is nuanced and interpretive. Automated tools, at best can only detect 30% of WCAG issues. Manual and assistive technology testing by trained accessibility experts must be conducted to capture the remaining 70%.
Beware of Quick & Cheap Solutions
The demand is high for quick, easy and inexpensive WCAG compliance auditing and remediation solutions, and there are a growing number of short-cut solution providers trying to take advantage of that demand. While they sound good - especially those claiming AI, ultimately they fail to deliver true website accessibility for people with disabiltites. They also fail to deliver a high level of legal protection. These come under two general categories: 1. Layered "overlays" and toolbars and 2. Alternate "accessibile" websites. While an overlay solution may make sense only as a short-term bandaid, the alternate website approach should not even be considered. Here is why.
Choosing The Right 508/ADA WCAG Web Accessibility Compliance Auditor
The key in selecting a partner to provide web accessibility consulting is to find a team that not only has deep experience and knowledge of the WCAG/ADA/Sect 508 in the US and other countries, but who also understands the marketing and business goals of the client. Further, its essential that the web accessibility expert also understand web design and the code. Our team are all senior level. Each has more than 16 years in digital accessibility. Each also speaks geek. Fluently.
We also pride ourselves as pragmatists who understand the realities of marketing, budgets, and business. That combined with our 23 years in website development and digital marketing, make us the perfect partner to bring your website into compliance.