Web accessibility isn’t a one-and-done effort

Website accessibility experts hear a common question from clients: If my website was built to be accessible, why do I have to continue remediation efforts?

Target, the retail corporation, faced legal challenges related to website accessibility in 2006. In 2008, Target settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay $6 million to plaintiffs and make its website more accessible. As part of the settlement, Target committed to improving its website’s accessibility and implementing design and coding changes to make it more user-friendly for individuals with disabilities.

Just this week, Target is once again facing a class action lawsuit from visually impaired plaintiffs. Web industry professionals claim the retail giant has fallen off in its accessibility efforts since their commitment in 2008.

Here, we’ll spell out the reasons it’s important to stay on top of accessibility for your website, and it’s not just about avoiding lawsuits. Read our post about accessibility and your website to learn why accessibility is important in the first place.

Changing standards and guidelines

Accessibility standards and guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), evolve over time. Regular updates and improvements are made to reflect technological advancements and better practices. Continuous efforts ensure that your website aligns with the latest standards.

For example, we previously audited sites to match WCAG 2.0 guidelines, and recently, we made the switch to the more contemporary WCAG 2.1.

Technological advancements

Web technologies are constantly evolving. New features, functionalities, and design approaches may be introduced. Ensuring ongoing accessibility remediation allows you to adapt your website to these changes, ensuring that new elements are also accessible to all users.

This situation arises when security updates are made to a website. At times, the back-end code is affected, and adjustments need to be made for compliance.

Content updates

Websites are dynamic, and content is regularly updated. New pages, features, or images may be added. Each update provides an opportunity to review and enhance accessibility. Failing to address accessibility during content updates could lead to the introduction of barriers for users with disabilities.

An example of this is loading a new blog post with incorrect heading hierarchy and no alt tags on images.

Technology compatibility

Changes in web browsers, assistive technologies, and devices may impact the accessibility of your website. Continuous efforts ensure compatibility with the latest technologies, preventing issues that may arise due to changes in the technological landscape.

We audit websites using the latest assistive technologies to ensure we’re staying on top of these technological advancements.

Competitive advantage

Companies that prioritize ongoing accessibility efforts gain a competitive advantage. Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility not only meets legal requirements but also positions your brand as inclusive and customer-focused.

Also, better accessibility oftentimes means better SEO. Many of the steps required for accessibility on your website make your website more available to search engines for indexing, which means better search engine performance.

Ongoing website accessibility is a proactive approach that aligns your website with current best practices and ensures it remains accessible to all users.

If you’re interested in accessibility compliance for your website, please shoot me an email at [email protected].