If you’re not building accessible websites, you’re opening up your clients—and yourself—to potential legal claims.
97% of the top 1 million websites fail a basic test of accessibility. That means users:
- may not get content in the correct reading order,
- may not have access to some information and
- may leave the website.
And you can’t solve this simply using an accessible overlay, theme or plugin.
Why Should You Care About Creating Accessible Websites?
1. It sets you apart from other designers and developers.
There aren’t enough good designers out there, and there are fewer who know about accessibility. Plus, most designers and developers are not having this conversation and do not possess these skills, so this is a great way to add value (and charge more) for your services. Those designers and developers are doing their clients a disservice and putting themselves—and their clients—at risk.
2. It prevents potential legal issues—for you and your client.
As a web developer, you need to be aware of accessibility legislation and protect yourself. There have been cases where clients have been ordered to pay hefty settlements as part of an accessibility case and then looked to reclaim that from the website developer. Can you afford tens (or hundreds) of thousands in fines and legal fees? (And don’t think professional liability insurance will protect you!)
Whether or not your client is legally required to comply with accessibility laws, you should insist on it (or protect yourself if they refuse) due to the potential for legal repercussions to them. The number of website accessibility lawsuits has been dramatically increasing. In the United States, the number tripled in 2018.
3. It’s good for SEO.
What’s good for accessibility is good for SEO, meaning the site will rank better and get more traffic.
4. It’s good business.
A whopping 71% of disabled users leave a website that is not accessible, and the number of people who have a disability is anything but negligible.
According to the World Bank, 1 billion people worldwide have a disability. Disabilities can be visual, hearing, ambulatory or cognitive in nature. You may not be affected by one now, but your future self could suffer a disability one day (temporarily or permanently) as a result of an illness, an accident or increased age.
Can you or your clients afford to turn away up to 20% of potential or existing customers, clients, donors or members?
5. It provides a better experience for all users.
Accessibility doesn’t affect visitors who don’t have a disability. They won’t notice if the site is accessible, but they will appreciate the benefits:
- the enhanced speed of the website thanks to cleaner and leaner code;
- the ease with which they can visually scan a page and find content;
- better readability due to good typography and color choices;
- clearly distinguishable hyperlinks;
- being able to read transcripts along with videos;
- notification of links that go to another website.
What the Course Will Cover
The course will cover usability issues and most accessibility issues from WCAG AA. The course is platform agnostic, although several WordPress techniques and tools are covered.
- Module 1: Understanding accessibility and legal considerations
- Module 2: Structure
- Module 3: Color
- Module 4: Text and icon fonts
- Module 5: Media
- Module 6: Hyperlinks, buttons and forms
- Module 7: Testing and ongoing compliance
I’m Colleen Gratzer. I’m an award-winning designer in the Washington, DC, area, with more than 22 years of experience in branding, print, and web design and development. I started my client-based business, Gratzer Graphics, in 2003.
In 2016, I was trained by one of the top accessibility providers to the U.S. government who knew of my solid design and technical skills and wanted me to take her InDesign and PDF accessibility course. After taking the course, I spent a lot of time learning about designing and developing accessible websites and educating clients about the importance of accessibility.
I’ve since provided InDesign accessibility training to the U.S. Department of the Interior (May 2019), appeared on several podcasts and given presentations about website accessibility. My business also provides accessibility consulting to nonprofits, creative firms and developers.
There is a lot of gray area when it comes to addressing certain aspects of accessibility. Some guidelines are open to interpretation, and not all guidelines are consistent or even good for usability. I reveal practices that have worked based on my experience designing and building accessible websites, years of research and consulting with other accessibility providers.
I want you to be able to take all of this information and get right into building an accessible site right after completing this course—knowing what to do and when. Over time, you may find yourself adding to or tweaking the checklist and guides I provide to suit your workflow.
“Colleen really knows her stuff when it comes to accessibility. She not only understands the guidelines and what they mean, but she knows how to best implement them in your website design and development. She saved me hours of research and guess work!”
Get notified when the course comes out.