From part one of this series, we understood that a website’s inaccessibility has social and legal ramifications. Today we’ll look at what happens when popular brands don’t adhere to those guidelines (aside from an accessibility audit) and how we can avoid that by following the four principles.
Accessibility Offender #1: Beyonce
In January 2010, it was reported that a certain Mary Conner brought a legal case against the organizers of a Beyonce concert because she had difficulties buying tickets due to several problems with the accessibility of the purchasing process, namely:
- No alternate text for images.
- Prevention of keyboard access.
- Absence of drop-down menus.
Accessibility Offender #2: Domino’s Pizza
A legal case initiated against Domino’s Pizza in 2016 due to their website’s incompatibility with screen reading technology, making them inaccessible to customer Guillermo Robles, was decided in favor of the plaintiff. Robles was awarded $4,000 in damages.
Accessibility Offender #3: Nike
In 2018, Nike faced legal action for not being compatible with screen readers. The lawsuit pointed out problems related to empty links and images without alt text.
Avoid Being an Offender with the Four Principles of Accessibility
To prevent your brand from accidentally discriminating against customers, it is not enough to conduct an accessibility audit. You must be mindful of four key principles, also known as POUR:
- Perceivable: This means getting rid of anything that could prevent a user from being able to access your content. This involves creating websites that can be easily used with screen readers by providing text options and a clear organization.
- Operable: To ensure a website is functional, it’s essential to prioritize the user’s experience by emphasizing the interface and navigation. The website should be accessible to all users, regardless of their device, and provide sufficient time to complete tasks.
- Understandable: Website users need to comprehend the data presented on a web page and easily comprehend the user interface to navigate the website. To achieve this, the website must have a navigational system that is consistent and predictable.
- Robust: For a website to be strong, it should be accessible and understood by various technologies and platforms, including screen readers. Furthermore, it should continue to be reachable even after updates to all platforms.
Search Engine Optimization Is Also a Factor
Although our primary goal for SEO is to ensure that search engines easily find websites, we also prioritize improving the user experience by addressing various aspects of website accessibility.
In February 2020, Web Aim utilized its WAVE accessibility engine to examine all pages after scripts and styles were added to identify obstacles to accessibility for end-users and any violations of web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG).
According to this research, almost all home pages (98 percent) had issues adhering to WCAG guidelines for accessibility, and a similarly high percentage (97 percent) of the deeper content pages also failed the accessibility tests.
The main reasons for the failures were text with low contrast, lack of alternative text, and links that needed to be filled in.
All is not lost, however, as we have direct control over two of these three factors:
- Alt text.
- Empty links.
Stay Tuned for Part Three
As we have realized in today’s section, even popular brands and personalities can suffer from the legal ramifications of inaccessible websites, especially at a time when online commerce is commonplace. With those examples and principles in mind, you are closer to building a more usable website for all.
Ensure Your Website Is AllAccessible
Our remediation system is the most comprehensive, offering non-invasive adjustments and eliminating the need for developers to tackle a lengthy punch list of code changes. Head on to our website and take our accessibility audit to see how user-friendly your site is!