When you need to make your website accessible, it’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed initially. Follow these steps on your path to successfully making your website accessible to all individuals.
1) Develop a list of stakeholders (Groups or Individuals)
Chances are, you and your team are not the only ones responsible for making your web content accessible. Unless you have both the access to update all web content and the resources to do so, this process will be just as much about getting others involved as it will be about actually updating content. Once you create your list of stakeholders, begin alerting them that process changes are coming do to updates in your web accessibility standards.
2) Perform an audit of your current website
If you’re new to web accessibility, I strongly recommend gathering resources to outsource this to a web accessibility specialist or web accessibility agency. If you’re experienced in doing website accessibility audits or cannot come up with the immediate funds to hire someone, you can audit your website using a similar methodology that the Office of Civil Rights uses:
- Make sure all web content can be accessed using only the keyboard (not using the mouse).
- Ensure that PDFs linked to on your website are also web accessible.
- Ensure that color contrast requirements are met (to the WCAG 2.0 AA standard).
- Use an automated tool to discover code or semantic issues.
3) Develop a Process that ensures all future website content is accessible
While it’s still important to remediate existing website content, it’s more critical to develop a plan going forward to ensure all new website content is accessible. How you can achieve this varies depending on who has access to update your website content, but here’s a checklist that can help get you started:
- All development changes to the website must be accessible — whether a third party develops your website, or it is done internally, each change will need to be audited.
- All files uploaded to the website (PDFs, Word Documents, Powerpoints) must be accessible. This means an audit methodology for files must be in place.
- All new videos must be captioned.
- All changes to content and new content must be accessible. This usually involves relatively simple updates like heading order and alt text.
4) Train All Website Editors and Developers on Web Accessibility
Depending on the setup of your website, many staff and faculty members may be able to update your website.