Examples of accessibility in the real world are so commonplace that you may not even notice them. Special parking spots, wheelchair ramps, closed-captioning on the television- these are all examples that we have become accustomed to even if we’ve never needed to use them ourselves. But these accessibility features make a world of difference for the people that do require them. So now that most of our lives are increasingly conducted online, web accessibility for the handicapped is as important as ever.
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What is Web Accessibility?
‘Web Accessibility’ refers to the idea that everyone, no matter their abilities or constraints, can take part in accessing the web. This might include accommodating those who have permanent disabilities (the visually impaired, hearing impaired and those with limited movement), temporary disabilities (such as a broken arm), or situational disabilities (living in an area with a lagging internet connection.) Where someone might experience restrictions that prevent them from full use of the internet, web accessibility is about leveling the playing field so they can join in and participate. In the early days of the internet, when web use was a novel and complementary part of our daily lives this was not as big of an issue. But now that we have become fully integrated into an online world it is important that everyone has access.
Legal Liability Considerations
The American Disabilities Act features web accessibility compliance as a standard. In fact, many businesses may have legal liability if their websites do not provide basic accessibility features to the public. It is a space that has not yet been heavily litigated but opens new avenues for the law. Over the years, several different guidelines have been created to create a uniform understanding of what the minimum in accessibility would be for websites. These have been compiled in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The latest version is WCAG 2.1, but it will undoubtedly be updated soon as technology changes.
Accessibility is Good for Business
Aside from web accessibility being the law, the fact is it’s also good for business in general. Accessible sites are inclusive in nature and address the needs of a range of audiences. The more people that can enjoy your website and buy your products or services the better, right? Because it is such an important topic, our team of tech analysts conducted over 100 hours of research and did the heavy lifting for you to sort through the web accessibility service providers that can help get your website on track. Here is our definitive list of top recommended providers.
We’ve done the research so you don’t have to - here’s our list of the top ADA website compliance solutions
AccessiBe has landed the top spot on our list because of its value for money and easy-to-use automated features. The company was founded in 2015 to make it easier for companies to comply with the ever-changing requirements surrounding web accessibility- and they’ve done just that with their product offering. The company uses artificial intelligence to review your site and with the plug-ins, they’ve created for different platforms like WordPress, Wix, Joomla, and others it makes it easier than ever for businesses to take advantage of this service.
- $490/year for websites with under 1,000 pages
- $1490/year for websites with under 100,000
- $3500/year for websites with under 1,000,000 pages
- $990/month and up for unlimited pages and customizes solutions
- Free Plan with limited features
- Auto Remediation – $1,200 per year
- Full Remediation – Contact the company for pricing
Most questions can be fielded through their ‘contact us’ page or email. If you need immediate assistance there is a phone number where customer support representatives can be reached.
3. Essential Accessibility
As an accessibility service provider to some of the most well-known companies in the world, Essential Accessibility takes their job very seriously and it shows. The company provides a highly personalized consulting service to ensure that your website is not only accessible but speaks directly to your clients and lets them know they are welcome in your corner of the web.
Because Essential Accessibility provides such individualized services, they do not have standard pricing tiers as some other services do. The quote they provide to you is completely customized based on what your website’s needs are. They create a package that will ensure you reach the level of ADA and WCAG compliance that suits your business. This might include ongoing web audits, implementation of assistive technology, and multimedia accessibility. Whatever options you decide to go for, you can be sure that Essential Accessibility will create a streamlined user experience for all your visitors.
Customer support for the company is extensive and includes a collection of blogs, guides, and webinars that you can view. They include troubleshooting for common problems but also provide great information about accessibility in general. If you still can’t find the answer to your question you can reach out to them on their social media accounts via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
4. Online ADA
For those that want a bit more hand-holding when it comes to accessibility compliance, Online ADA could be a good choice. They have compliance experts that can work directly with you to make recommendations about what you may need and make sure that your site remains current with the latest regulations. Even if you are just starting out on your search for a compliance partner, the Online ADA website is an excellent place to start. They have a plethora of free information and resources on accessibility in general.
There are plenty of free resources on their site, but unfortunately what is not there is the pricing guidelines for their services. Because they are a manual service performed by compliance experts who can certify both WCAG 2.1 and Section 508 accessibility, their pricing is based on your specific project. For example, if you need magnification tools or text to speech options, they can include those in your quote. If you do want a taste of what they can offer you have the option of participating in a free home page audit of your existing site. This is an automated service, but it still gives you an idea of what they can do for you.
Online ADA does have a customer support number where you can speak to a live representative. There is also a messaging field and contact page if you do not need an immediate answer. As mentioned before there are tons of articles that complement their services.
Considered one of the leading accessibility compliance companies, Make-Sense has a wide range of pricing plans and services for companies of any size who need to fulfill WCAG 2.1, Section 508, and ADA compliance standards among others. Make-Sense makes it easier for you to handle this important aspect of your web presence and ensure all your visitors feel welcome on your website.
- $249/month for 1 domain and up to 100 pages
- $599/month for 1 domain and up to 1,000 pages
- $,1099/month for 3 domains and up 10,0000 pages
- $1,699 for 5 domains and up to 20,000 pages
- $2,499/month for 10 domains and up to 50,000 pages
The Personal, Bronze, Silver, and Gold plans all include a dedicated support team you can contact directly for any questions. Make-sense also has a support ticket system, email, and telephone number where questions can be answered.
6. Criterion 508 Solutions
Criterion has been around since the early 2000s and has worked with some of the largest companies in the world. Their reputation alone is perhaps enough to sell you on their services, but they also offer a free one-on-one consultation if you are looking to partner with them for your web accessibility compliance. Criterion uses a mix of both automated and manual remediation techniques. Unlike other services, there is no dashboard where you can see these changes and updates happening, but you do get the help of a dedicated expert to work with you personally on your account for the time of your subscription with them.
Criterion works with your company to create a customized plan, so there is no exact pricing information on their site. If you are interested in learning more, you can complete a free consultation and they will provide a quote to you regarding what services you might need to be fully up to date with the latest WCAG standards.
As mentioned before, when you work with Criterion you will be working with a dedicated expert who is your liaison for the project. They can answer any questions and discuss ideas you might have. In addition to a dedicated point of contact, a phone call to the support team or an email is the best way to reach out. Currently, Criterion does not have an online database of articles.
Understanding WCAG 2.1 Compliance
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were first developed at an industry summit and have been around since the late 1990s. They have routinely been the industry standard for web accessibility. In fact, WCAG compliance is considered to be the minimum standard by the American Disabilities Act (ADA.) The guidelines ensure that people who may be visually impaired, hearing impaired, or physically impaired can have the same access to the websites that populate the internet. As you can imagine, the WCAG has undergone a few different versions over the years but the newest version of these guidelines was published in June 2018 and was named WCAG 2.1.
The benefit of having an agreed upon list of guidelines is that there is an easy point of reference for web developers to work with. They help companies to understand what is required to meet the legal standards but also, and more importantly, these standards make each website a more enjoyable experience for visitors. It makes just as much business sense for companies to comply with the regulations that serve their disabled patrons. Web compliance providers will become increasingly important now and into the future in ensuring companies are best positioned to cater to everyone.
The Benefits of Making Your Website ADA Compliant
If you fail to comply with WCAG 2.1 and other accessibility standards, you may not only be in legal hot water, but you’ll also be alienating a large part of your potential customer base. If your site is not accessible, the fact of the matter is you won’t be getting as much traffic to your site as you could be getting. Making the extra effort to welcome as many people as you can to your site is a smart business decision as well as the right thing to do to make the internet a more inclusive place.
You may feel like understanding the rules and regulations and finding a way to integrate them into your already amazing website is going to be a huge undertaking. You’re probably right, that is, if you chose to do it yourself. Partnering with a web accessibility expert takes away the guesswork of wondering whether you are fully compliant or if you’re leaving yourself open to legal liability. An expert can make sure that your website has all the features it needs now and into the future as standards change.