Data protection may have grabbed most of the recent headlines, but web accessibility is another realm where the digital experience roadmap has become more complex for global marketers.
Fortunately, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines laid down in 1999 (with some updates since) have provided a de facto set of standards followed by regulators worldwide. These dictate three increasingly stringent levels of compliance: A, AA, and AAA.
As building blocks meeting those standards, a global company should follow these basic “POUR” principles
- Perceivable: Visitors must be able to perceive information that is being presented to them; it can’t be invisible to all of their senses.
- Operable: They need to be able to come to a website and navigate and operate it, regardless of the device, disability, or assistive technology they’re using.
- Understandable: The information and operation of a website has to be reasonably understandable for that audience.
- Robust: The content must be robust enough to accommodate any assistive technology or user agents that are used, or might be used, when visitors are coming to the website.
In the United States, the accessibility of digital content for the disabled has been a focus of litigation. A landmark lawsuit settlement between the National Federation of the Blind and Target saw the department store giant pay $6,000,000 in damages and over $3,700,000 of the NFB’s legal fees.
In similar cases, accessibility standards are being defined in courtrooms, not in legal codes. When the Trump Administration curtailed a previously planned DoJ implementation of WCAG 2.0 AA as a guideline for user accessibility, its ironic effect is that a lack of such clear-cut regulation means the current tidal wave of accessibility lawsuits may actually increase.
Sr. Director - Customer Success
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