WCAG is an acronym for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The guidelines are developed through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) process in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, in order to create a single, universally accepted standard for web content accessibility that satisfies the requirements of individuals, organizations, and governments around the world.
The WCAG documents, including the VPAT WCAG edition, provide criteria, specifications, or explanations about how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.
In WCAG contexts, the phrase “web content” refers to the data on a web page or web application, encompassing both naturally occurring data like text, images, and audio, as well as codes or markups that specify the content’s structures, presentations, etc.
The nexus between WCAG and the ADA
The Department of Justice, attorneys, and webmasters alike increasingly use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as the primary point of reference for digital accessibility, particularly in the assessment of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Even legal judgments have compelled some companies with ADA-incompliant websites to redesign them un accordance with WCAG standards.
The WCAG, which supports web accessibility, helps in the accomplishment of ADA objectives. Making sure that everyone can use the Internet is all that is required, and doing so makes financial sense if you’re operating a website for commercial gain. Having an accessible digital presence not only enhances the user experience of your website but also the general perception of your brand.
The Internet has also been determined to be a place of public accommodation under the ADA provisions, which means that every public-facing site must accommodate Americans with disabilities.
Website owners who fail to comply with ADA regulations run the risk of facing serious legal repercussions and severe penalties. Penalties for first offenses range from $55,000 to $75,000, while repeat offenses can result in eye-poppingfines of $150,000.
The Information Technology Council (ITI) developed the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to help vendors of information communication technology (ICT) products and services, like websites, document the compliance of their products or services with the established accessibility standards and guidelines, including WCAG, Section 508, and the European Union’s EN 301 459, as well as to facilitate government market research on ICT with accessible features.
VPAT vs WCAG
The version of the voluntary product accessibility template that website owners should use for website accessibility and ADA compliance is called VPAT WCAG. In creating the template, the four WCAG guiding principles were taken into consideration: perceivability, operability, understandability, and robustness.
Users must be able to easily understand the offered digital information in order for it to be deemed perceivable. This can be made guaranteed of, among other things, by using voice captions, color contrast, and image alt texts.
User interfaces that are simple to use, including straightforward navigation, guarantee website operability. Robustness refers to the content’s dependability over a wide range of technologies or digital platforms, while understandability refers to the digital interface’s ability to provide information and carry out activities in a way that is predictable and clear.
Your provider of WCAG for website ADA compliance needs to understand all these WCAG, ADA, EN 301 549, and Section 508 dynamics so that the VPAT statement for website accessibility that will be developed with respect to the website does not have accessibility problems.
Choosing your website WCAG provider for ADA compliance
Deciding on the right WCAG provider to ensure ADA compliance for your website requires hindsight on the question, “What is VPAT compliance supposed to deliver for my website?” Once you answer this question and have clarity about the goal of your pursuit for website VPAT compliance, it will help you know the right WCAG accessibility provider to help you achieve the goal.
The following are important factors that ADA compliance experts emphasize for choosing the most suitable WCAG ADA compliance service providers:
A consideration of objectivity refers to being fair or not being biased. To ensure that your website is accessible to as many users as possible, choose suppliers who objectively encourage you to comply with a broad range of accessibility requirements and specifications.
Select service suppliers who have a track record of providing accurate and consistent quality. This can be achieved by reading service testimonials from previous clients of the providers and recommendations from people who have benefited from the providers’ services.
Select WCAG service providers that have a strong track record of assisting various types of website owners to achieve website accessibility. This is because they will apply their wealth of experience to provide you with results that are superior in terms of accessibility.
Need help choosing the right WCAG provider for your ADA compliance?
If you need help with choosing the right WCAG provider for your ADA compliance, please feel free to call (626) 486-2201 to speak to a WCAG ADA accessibility expert.