Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: What is Section 508 & ADA web accessibility compliance?
Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can:
- perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web
- contribute to the Web
Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including:
Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities, for example:
- people using mobile phones, smart watches, smart TVs, and other devices with small screens, different input modes, etc.
- older people with changing abilities due to aging
- people with “temporary disabilities” such as a broken arm or lost glasses
- people with “situational limitations” such as in bright sunlight or in an environment where they cannot listen to audio
- people using a slow Internet connection, or who have limited or expensive bandwidth
Question: Are there limits to using web accessibility scanning software?
Answer: Yes, automated web accessibility scanning tools use algorithms to analyze HTML markup of websites. However, they can only capture 17% to 20% of WCAG failures because testing most WCAG guidelines requires the use of assistive technologies utilized by end-users with disabilities and human judgment when critiquing the applicable success criterion of each WCAG guideline.
Question: Why is manual WCAG testing so important?
Answer: Manual WCAG testing is “real world” functional accessibility testing conducted by end-users with disabilities using assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, speech recognition, and alternative keyboard technologies. In the web accessibility, field web accessibility auditors with visual, mobility, auditory, and cognitive disabilities have highly specialized skills that people without disabilities cannot replicate.
Question: Can website accessibility plugins, webpage accessibility overlays, or AI bring a website into WCAG compliance?
Answer: No. The only way to bring a website into compliance is to fix a website’s source code and repair all HTML markup errors. Companies that have installed these types of accessibility overlay plugins to their websites remain at risk for lawsuits under the ADA. Plaintiff’s attorneys routinely use automated accessibility scanning tools to evaluate a website’s HTML markup. Suppose a website’s HTML markup has not been properly repaired. In that case, the site’s owner remains at risk for litigation, regardless of the presence of an accessibility overlay.
Also, the accessibility features of these types of plugins and overlays are readily available in computer operating systems and/or browser settings and are simply not robust enough to be used by people with disabilities. Remember, people with disabilities have invested considerable amounts of money and time in licensing their preferred assistive technology and obtaining training on the use of these professional-grade technologies. Companies are responsible for ensuring their website’s source code supports these widely used professional-grade assistive technologies, not to force less robust accessibility features on their customers with disabilities via the use of plugins or accessibility overlays.
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