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A lot has been written on the subject of website accessibility, but there's a lot of confusion about it. Put simply, accessibility refers to designing devices, products, or services for people who have disabilities. Designing for accessibility issues gives the ability of potentially everyone, regardless of their condition, to have access your website. Not only is it law in several parts of the world, it's a way to respect the basic rights and dignity of everyone, regardless of their abilities. What things should you look for when trying to improve accessibility on your website?

 

Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) defines several areas addressing accessibility issues with government agencies, organizations, and businesses, including websites. If you are a private or nonprofit organization with 50 or more employees, or a public-sector organization, your website is required to meet the accessibility requirements. The compliance deadline for new websites to comply was January 1st, 2014, and beginning January 1st, 2021, all public websites must meet level AA requirements.

 

Thankfully, when Ontario codified guidelines into law, they adopted the W3C WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The guidelines are fairly thorough, covering everything from making sure images have alternative text, to making sure that pre-recorded audio and video have captions, to making sure your website can be navigated entirely by keyboard. Since Ontario requires double A compliance, it also requires things such as minimum contrast ratio of text to background, and making sure that artwork on the website doesn't trigger people with photosensitive epilepsy.

 

If you're looking to upgrade your website while maintaining compliance, contact us. Our experienced staff is always ready to answer any questions you may have or assist you with developing your online presence. Our guiding principle is that you, the customer, come first, and will work to build a compliant website optimized for desktop and mobile use.

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