Why Accessibility Auditing Is Crucial For Any Organization

  • 26.05.2023

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    What is accessibility auditing?

    Accessibility auditing is performing a series of tests to provide a broader scope of information to support the improvement of accessibility in digital and online experiences. It is usually best performed by an independent organization or team of experts.

    Often, people confuse accessibility auditing with accessibility testing. Accessibility testing is viewed as being more limited in scope than accessibility auditing, despite the fact that both aim to uncover accessibility barriers in a digital product or service in order to improve user experiences.

    Accessibility auditing takes into account the requirements of various demographic groups, goes beyond particular tools, technologies, and procedures, and records the user experience from a variety of viewpoints.

    A website’s performance on a particular browser, for instance, can be the focus of an accessibility test. Such evaluations, however, fail to account for the possibility that some users won’t be able to use their chosen browser and may experience accessibility issues that prevent them from using the service at all. These problems are discovered during an accessibility audit, allowing for their remediation.

    A detailed accessibility audit will look at every aspect of a digital asset’s user experience. When an organization becomes accustomed to conducting accessibility audits, it will realize that downloading an accessibility plugin is not sufficient. It will also realize that a website’s accessibility via a desktop interface or simply on Google Chrome is insufficient.

    Therefore, organizations are able to better understand why all browsers and devices should offer a useful experience when they experience the benefits brought about by accessibility auditing.

    Here are the reasons why every organization requires accessibility auditing

    Every organization needs accessibility testing because of rapidly evolving technologies. Organizations, including those whose core businesses are not in the technology or digital space, are frequently embracing technology to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their products and services.

    Technology, on the other hand, is rapidly evolving, such that the tools considered modern or exciting today might be outdated in a little while. For instance, did you know that a concept like web accessibility was not viewed as the preserve of any organization other than regulators about a decade ago?

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      Instead of a firm set of standards intended to achieve accessibility for everyone, as is the case currently, the web accessibility concept is characterized by adaptable methods for lowering accessibility obstacles. Things are different at present. Every organization now needs to prioritize performing accessibility audits because of the following reasons:

      1. To comply with the existing legal requirements

      All organizations are currently required to abide by a number of regulatory requirements that govern accessible spaces. For instance, the US passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 to shield people with disabilities from prejudice in both the public and private spheres. Similar legislation protecting those with impairments and advancing digital accessibility has been passed in other nations as well.

      In addition to the ADA, the US Congress revised Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require government agencies to provide individuals with disabilities access to information on a par with that provided to individuals without disabilities. To ensure accessibility and usability for people with impairments, the associated Revised Section 508 standards include scoping and technical requirements for information and communication technology (ICT).

      Any entity wishing to conduct business with US federal agencies must comply with Section 508 accessibility requirements. If an entity does not provide ICT products or services to federal agencies but receives financing from the federal government, it must comply with Section 508 requirements. Failure to meet the required 508 compliance standards will jeopardize the organization’s prospects for continued federal funding.

      For the federal agencies and federally funded organizations that must meet certain Section 508 accessibility thresholds, accessibility audits based on an updated Section 508 compliance checklist will ensure they don’t lose their prospects due to perceived non-compliance.

      Section 508 compliance standards incorporate the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which, though not yet legally mandated as standards for Section 508 and ADA Title III entities, are widely perceived as the best practice and most effective path to organizational digital accessibility.

      1. To register growth

      Auditing for accessibility is essential for any organization hoping to expand. It enables organizations to pinpoint accessibility problems that prevent them from growing their customer base.

      It is important for organizations to know that one in every four Americans has a disability, which means that part of the organization’s customer base likely needs to access the organization’s digital assets with some form of digital assistance.

      If an organization is proactive with accessibility auditing, it will improve the usability and accessibility of its digital products and services, including websites, which will in turn provide it with a path to expanding its customer base and revenue growth.

      1. Re-imagining organizational culture

      Organizations can reinvent their cultures by using accessibility auditing to mainstream diversity, equity, and inclusion. Accessibility audits help organizations that already incorporate these virtues into their operations determine whether they are reflected in the goods and services they provide.

      The accessibility audits ultimately assist the organizations in formulating strategies for implementing tangible steps to mainstream diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as working toward expanding the consumer base for their products and services.

      1. Other improvements in an organization’s business

      Additionally, accessibility auditing typically provides intangible advantages that signal real advancements inside an organization.

      For instance, prominent organizations that have widely used accessibility audits say that the practice has helped them improve staff hiring procedures, reduce staff turnover, and boost both employee productivity and sales.

      1. Enhanced sense of accountability in an organization

      A sense of accountability is developed within an organization through routine accessibility audits. You may have noticed that too often, staff in an organization receive the results of accessibility tests but put the recommendations on hold. Staff members will be more motivated to implement the recommendations if they are aware that there will be an accessibility audit performed following the tests.

      Need help with your Section 508 compliance testing or accessibility audits?

      ADACP can help you with all your organization’s Section 508 compliance testing and accessibility audits. Call (626) 486-2201 today to find out how we will be able to assist you in reaping the benefits of regular accessibility auditing.