Building your organization’s capacity
A web accessibility audit is not an aim in itself. It is a tool to make your website more accessible and to improve your organization’s capacity to operate an accessible website. These are the outcomes that really matter when you do a website audit. Use the auditing process to increase capacity within your organization around web accessibility. Commissioning a website accessibility audit is an opportunity to not only up-skill staff on the technical issues involved in web accessibility but also to raise their awareness of how people with disabilities use the web. This will lead to a deeper understanding of the issues involved in web accessibility. This increased awareness and capacity will also help to ensure that future developments on the website will result in more accessibility. The preferred approach to web accessibility auditing is to buy in outside expertise. This approach has some strong advantages, such as:
- access to specialist expertise in web accessibility;
- an independent, external point of view;
- status of report enhanced by external, expert viewpoint.
Self-audit alone is not recommended unless your organization is large enough to provide skilled staff who have not been involved in operating the website and can maintain full objectivity in looking at it. Self-audit is most useful as new content is being published to the website. It may not be practical to have new content audited externally on an on-going basis. Staff with responsibility for ensuring the accessibility of new content being published to the website should receive training in web accessibility and have access to appropriate tools and expert advice as required.
Automated auditing tools
Software can be very useful in testing website accessibility, but only up to a point. Most WCAG requirements cannot be verified by software alone. There are a number of underlying problems associated with using just automated tools to test for accessibility. Generally speaking, automated accessibility testing tools are very limited in being able to uncover real problems. They can’t adequately check for the majority of accessibility guidelines and can sometimes report problems that aren’t actually problems. The only real benefit of using an automated testing tool is to get a top level feel of how accessible (or inaccessible) your website is. In terms of getting real recommendations for fixing real problems, an accessibility audit is the approach to take. Automated auditing tools are best used by experts who can interpret their results accurately. In particular, auditors need to be able to quickly identify false positive and false negative results from the tools.
“We have been working with Accessibility Services Canada for several years as part of our process to maintain our corporate website in compliance with the AODA. We have appreciated their vast expertise, keen eye for detail, and clear, comprehensive explanations during our annual website accessibility audits. Their guidance has been instrumental in ensuring our website and PDFs are accessible and user-friendly. Many of our staff have also attended their training courses, which are always well-run and informative.”
FREE Website Accessibility Audit Quote
Accessibility Services Canada offers free website accessibility audit quotes. To prepare your quote, we do a quick review of your website to ascertain the complexity of the content and functionality, as well as how many accessibility barriers are immediately apparent. Each website is unique and our quotes are based on the amount of time it will take us to assess your website and prepare your individualized report.
Email us your website address and we’d be happy to send you a quote!