A website accessibility statement is the first step towards ADA compliance. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination of users based on disability—and non-compliance puts you at risk of lawsuits, legal fees, and other headaches. The statement also demonstrates an organization’s commitment to social responsibility.
What exactly is a website accessibility statement—and what should it include? Generally, it can be defined as a declaration of a website’s commitment to accessibility. It shows users that a site cares about their needs—while providing information on what makes the content more accessible. A website accessibility statement should include the following:
A clear commitment to accessibility for users with disabilities: This is simply a declaration of intent. It’s an introductory paragraph that affirms a website’s commitment to ADA compliance.
The accessibility standards and fundamental guidelines applied: To which accessibility standards does the website conform? These standards often include W3C technologies and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). It may also highlight compliance with the EU Web Accessibility Directive or ADA—where applicable.
Technical fundamentals: Such as the web browsers supported
Exceptions or limitations to the desired level of website accessibility: It’s vital to acknowledge instances where the website may fail to adhere to its accessibility targets—including the intended roadmap to solve the issue. However, this should not be seen as a way of skimping on providing accessibility to the inaccessible areas.
Contact information to report/address any problems: What if there is an area in a website that’s inaccessible to the specific needs of someone with a disability? Providing contact information allows users to report any problems or suggest ways to improve accessibility.
Please note that the statement must not make false claims—otherwise, it may harm the website’s reputation while risking a breach of ADA compliance.
Where is the website accessibility statement placed? The statement should be placed or linked in logical places—focusing on making it easy to find. Consider linking the statement from several points—including the about page, sitemap, help menu, and footer. It’s also essential to consistently use the same link names across all your content. And contrary to common practice, a website accessibility statement should be separate from the “help page.”
It’s clear that website accessibility is crucial for ADA compliance and general social responsibility—but it’s not always straightforward. It’s a blend of legal jargon and IT technicalities. If you want an accessibility statement for your website or want to make your website more accessible—but you’re not sure how to go about it, contact Edge Digital. We are well-equipped with technical know-how to make your site available and ADA compliant. Learn more.