In recent years we’ve seen a greater area of focus around the need for “digital accessibility’.” As more people are using the internet, inclusive technological innovation of your web content needs to be a priority for your organization.
In fact, 22% of Canadians aged 15 years and older have at least one disability that limits their everyday activities. These disabilities can be related to pain, flexibility, mobility, vision, hearing, learning, memory or development.
With the AODA deadline for digital accessibility requirements extended until June 30, 2021, now is the time to prioritize the diverse needs of users to ensure your company is compliant with current accessibility laws.
Who needs to be AODA compliant?
The upcoming deadline has two parts:
- Private businesses and not-for-profit organizations with 20 or more employees must complete and file AODA Compliance Reports.
- Private businesses and not-for-profit organizations with 50 or more employees must ensure that their website and web content is accessible.
AODA Compliance Reports
Originally slated for January 1, 2021, but because of the current pandemic, the deadline to turn in these self-assessments has been extended to June 30, 2021. Public sector organizations will not receive an extension and must turn in compliance reports by December 31, 2020.
Accessible websites and web content
AODA website compliance requires that your public website (not intranet) and its content be carefully evaluated. Having your website and web content accessible means ensuring that public websites and web content follow WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 Level AA standard, an internationally accepted standard for web accessibility.
Align with best practices
All organizations in Ontario must follow the AODA; it’s the law. But from a content perspective, it’s the right decision for your business. Following the AODA aligns you with best practices in mobile and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and it’s going to supply a better, more intuitive experience for your users.
How to get started
Ask yourself these foundational questions:
- How does the AODA define the size of my organization?
- What are the requirements for an organization of my size?
What web content does your organization currently have? Web content may include your website, web-based apps, PDFs (documents, forms, sell sheets, brochures, infographics, etc.) and videos (informational, instructional, online seminar recordings, etc.).
Cull, caption, curate
After completing an inventory, it’s time to tackle the content. Cull, caption, curate.
If you’ve been using your website as a content archive, that means it is meeting your company’s needs, not your customers’. Make sure the content that lives on your website is addressing the needs of your primary audience. If you must keep an archive of content, consider whether there are alternative solutions for hosting that information.
Caption images and videos
YouTube offers some amazing tools for you to caption videos – but you should not rely on the auto-generated captions.
Fact: Fifth Story can create caption files for videos whether we produced the video or not.
Curate legacy content
Make sure to update your legacy content using proper semantic markup and design rules that ensure all future content will meet expectations.
Fact: Fifth Story can help with document remediation to help you move quickly and systematically through your legacy content.
Maintaining a compliant website and web content can feel like a moving target. With every new post on your blog, brochure published or instructional video posted, it’s important your digital content does not fall out of compliance.
If you would like help with the required changes and implementing accessibility requirements, we’re here to help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.