When designing your business website to be accessible, you are ensuring that all of your users, including those with disabilities, have a seamless user experience when interacting with your site and its content.
This provides a wide number of benefits to the website owner, such as increased revenue, improved SEO, and the building of positive public relations. In addition, making provisions for disabled users by adhering to the guidelines set out in the WCAG 2.1 ensures that you will avoid discrimination while greatly reducing the likelihood of lawsuits and legal complications.
For these reasons, web accessibility has come to the top of many business owners’ agendas, especially as the number of digital accessibility lawsuits continues to rise year-on-year. On that note, If you want to make accommodations for your disabled users by enhancing the level of accessibility you provide, you have two options: do the coding manually or purchase a web accessibility overlay solution to do it for you. Each of these solutions has advantages and disadvantages, and your company's circumstances largely determine the one you choose. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
When coding your website manually, you can either do it yourself (as long as you have sufficient knowledge in coding) or hire a professional to do it for you. Of course, the latter tends to be the more expensive option out of the two. Whichever method you decide to pursue, your first port of call will be to perform a site-wide audit to check for current accessibility problems on your website.
In general, you should be checking small samples of your website against the international WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standard to see if your content and functionality are compliant. Unfortunately, websites that are content-heavy or have troves of complex code will have a much more difficult task conducting an audit. Furthermore, even the most basic of websites should expect to pay at least $1,000 for the services of a web accessibility expert, with more sophisticated sites being charged well over $15,000.
Once the audit is complete, it’s time to get to work fixing any accessibility issues. By the time you have finished coding and have addressed all the accessibility issues, your website should be fully optimized to be used with screen readers and keyboard navigation. Remember to make sure all future content and features that you publish on your website are fully accessible and meet the standards.
If all of the above sounds too costly or like too much of a headache, you may find that web accessibility overlays to be a more appealing option. To put it simply, web accessibility overlays are a set of automated software solutions that can detect and fix web accessibility issues. All you have to do is insert a few lines of code into your site, and the overlay will do all the hard work for you.
When these issues are detected, the software will automatically fix them and make the necessary adjustments. These include making alterations to the UI and design of the website and the more complex, back-end adjustments required for screen reader and keyboard navigation optimization. In addition to this, overlays continually scan your website each day, which means that any new content you upload to your site will be automatically optimized.
As you might expect, web accessibility overlays are becoming an increasingly popular option for SMB website owners, as they significantly reduce the time and costs associated with improving web accessibility and reaching compliance with the various guidelines.
While accessibility overlays can seem appealing, they may not be a viable solution for extremely large websites with substantial users. Even though the software may handle their content and make it accessible, these major organizations are significantly more likely to face lawsuits, which means they may want a more robust and specialized solution than overlays can provide.
On the other hand, for SMBS with limited resources, an overlay may be the best choice. With accessibility overlays starting as low as $49 per month, it’s difficult to argue against the tremendous amount of value they bring to business owners, especially when it comes to the peace of mind that comes with knowing their company is safeguarded against litigation.
Furthermore, most small to medium-sized firms lack the resources to retain a full-time web developer, which means they will have to hire someone to manually remediate all of their existing code. This becomes even more of a problem when adding new content to your website, as you must guarantee that all new features and information on your website are compliant. An accessibility overlay is a simple solution to these concerns.
With web accessibility lawsuits on the rise, website owners must demonstrate that they are improving the accessibility, usability, and functionality of their services for all users. Hiring a professional may be the best option for organizations that can afford the initial outlay, although this is a luxury that the majority of businesses cannot afford.
Fortunately, web accessibility overlays offer a straightforward, low-cost method for bringing your website (and all of its content) up to compliance. Moreover, the 24/7 automatic coverage that the overlays provide is hard to pass up, as it means that any fresh content that gets published is automatically optimized and corrected without the website owner having to lift a finger.