Client Accessibility Guide

Accessibility is a major focus at Cantilever. Sometimes clients ask us if we can share our knowledge and practices on the subject so that they can elevate their game on other projects. We are excited to help. We are nowhere near perfect at achieving accessibility in our work, but we have learned a thing or two over the years.

This guide explains our general philosophy around accessibility and is a good primer on the subject if you are just getting started:

Key Knowledge

  • The WCAG are the best practices rules for web accessibility. The WCAG 2.1 AA spec is the commonly-accepted definition of “accessible”.
  • Accessibility is not just for code! The design of a site is make-or-break for its accessibility.
  • Ensuring a site is accessible requires continual attention throughout the design and development process. It is very hard to “make something accessible” at the end.
  • Many people have a permanent or temporary disability that affects how they use computers. Over a billion people live with some sort of disability. Further, a disability can occur at any time to anyone: “we are all pre-disabled”.
  • Yes, accessibility is important for legal protection, but the most important reason to make a site accessible is to provide an excellent user experience to anyone.

Checklists & Audits

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These are a little out of date (2019ish). They are still useful as general guidelines.

These checklists are a plain-english summary of the WCAG 2.1 AA criteria, sort of a “shorthand” for achieving the spec. They also include some particular things we like to do to improve the user experience for people with assistive technologies.

It is important to also understand the actual WCAG criteria instead of just one company’s interpretation, but our checklists should help give a big-picture view that is less verbose than the WCAG itself.

To ensure a site is accessible, we have a process for utilizing these checklists in an Audit. These procedures outline the basics of how to use automated and manual testing to assess a website’s accessibility.

Common Questions

Can you guarantee complete ADA compliance?
Are your websites fully WCAG 2.1 Level AA conformant?
Will our website get us sued?
What about accessibility overlays? Are they a viable solution?
What can Cantilever offer?

Resources

Some external resources we recommend: