a keyboard with an accessibility key on it to represent handicap friendly websites

Why your website should be WCAG 2.0 compliant

If your website doesn't comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards, 25% of your customers won't find you properly online, and your website may not even be legal!

What are WCAG 2.0 levels of conformance?

The WCAG 2.0 are a set of technical guidelines designed to make websites

  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust

If your website conforms to one of the three levels (A, AA and AAA), it ensure customers and users get the best experience from your website, regardless of whether they are see it on a desktop computer or mobile devices like a smartphone, e-reader or a tablet. The technical requirements for conformity also enables people with disabilities to access your website content. Level A is basic, Level AAA more advanced.

Why am I loosing 25% of my customers if my website isn't compliant?

Simple - 25% of website users access the web through a mobile device. So, if your website doesn't work on a smartphone or tablet, they won't see your content, and will probably simply click on a competitor's website that does work properly! With over 40% of all Canadian mobile device users living in Ontario, that's a lot of customers looking for information on the move.

Why might my website be illegal?

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), all public sector organizations, private businesses and non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees will need to make their websites accessible. Non-compliance with the rules can result in a fine of £15,000 per day for companies and large organisations, and £2,000 per day for individuals or unincorporated companies. (source: http://enforcement.aoda.ca/bates-fines/)

What do the three levels of AODA compliance involve?

The three levels are:

  • A
  • AA (double-A)
  • AAA (triple-A)

They cover a range of technical features your website offers to help disabled people access your information, from the way it shows the titles of your pages to the levels of contrast between background and text.

Accessible and responsive websites

In order to comply, your website's code needs to be responsive, which means the way users view your website can change according to the user's requirements. All Akira Studio responsive websites have all the code you'll need to ensure your content is Level AAA compliant, so your content is potentially accessible to all users, including:

  • Captions
  • Text versions
  • Alt tags
  • Captioned video
  • Pdfs with tags

We ensure our sites meet the contrast, text size, web standards, responsive, text size changer, built in screen reader functions requirements.

This is waaaay too technical for me - can you talk me through this?

Absolutely - call us today! If you're local to our web design studio in London ON, we're happy to come and see you, or make an appointment to see us!

Is it just techie stuff or do we need to do something more for AODA compliance?

To comply with Level AA and Level AAA, your business or organisation will need to work on two main areas:

  • You need to write all your webs content in clear, easy to understand language
  • All your audio and video (known as time-based media) needs to be understood in a different form by disabled people. For example, audio like a podcast should have transcript (text) version available, and your videos need captions or audio descriptions, etc. (source: http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/)

Akira Studio can advise you on the best methods to make your website fully compliant from top to bottom - call us to discuss your requirements.

Deadlines for Compliance for Ontario Businesses

The whole issue of adapting websites to meet the requirements of the AODA started back in January 2012 for government and public sector websites. Larger Ontario businesses have been obliged to conform since January 2014. At Akira Studio, we future-proof all our new websites by making them Level AAA ready.

From January 1, 2014:
If your existing site undergoes a significant refresh, your site and any of its web content published after January 1, 2012 must conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A.

From January 1, 2021:
All public websites and all web content on those sites published after January 1, 2012 must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, other than providing captions on live videos or audio descriptions for pre-recorded videos.
(source: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/publications/accessON/accessible_websites/what_do.aspx)

AODA Government Related Deadlines

Timelines and the Provision of Accessible Websites and Web Content under AODA

Type of Organization Type of Web content Compliance with WCAG2.0 Level A Compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA
Government of Ontario and Ontario Legislative Assembly
New* internet and intranet websites and web content   January 1, 2012
All* intranet websites and content   January 1, 2016
All internet and intranet websites and web content   January 1, 2020

Designated Public Service Organizations

New internet and web content January 1, 2014  
All* internet and web content**   January 1, 2021

 Large Organisations (50 or more employees)  New internet and web content January 1, 2014  
All* internet and web content**   January 1, 2021

* Exceptions include captions on lve videos and audio descriptions for ALL pre-recorded videos

** Web content published after January 1, 2012

Source: http://www.gaates.org/aICwebdev/s1y2z4.php

I'm only a small business - does all this apply to me?

Organizations with less than 50 employees are *currently* exempt from this requirement, (http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/accessibility/info_comm/index.aspx) but we think that will probably change in a few years' time.  

What's more, until your website is Level A compliant, it won't be properly visible to that 25% (and rising) accessing the web on their mobile devices. You'll also potentially miss out on the 1 in 7 Ontarians who have a disability, a figure predicted to rise to 1 in 5 by 2036.

Want more information?

You can download a useful guide from the Ontario government website on "Making your website more accessible" from http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/accessibility/iasr_guides/website_en.pdf

Or call us to discuss how to make your website accessible – we’re happy to help.