The purpose of National Accessibility Week (NAAW)

What if you couldn't keep up with our world's fast-paced digital lifestyle, not because of your abilities, but because of digital limitations? What if...

Friday May 29, 2020

What if you couldn’t keep up with our world’s fast-paced digital lifestyle, not because of your abilities, but because of digital limitations? What if you were missing key pieces of news articles or safety instructions because your community website didn’t use image alt text to describe images or videos that were being used to replace text? Or you missed an important pandemic or extreme weather update because the colour contrast wasn’t accessible on the alert banner? Accessibility barriers like these continue to exist for millions of people as our world becomes completely reliant on the digital world.

We want to do our part to spread awareness for National AccessAbility Week (NAAW), which runs from May 31 to June 6, 2020, and share with you how important it is, especially now, to serve your web visitors with accessible technology and services.

Building an accessible Canada

NAAW exists to bring awareness to accessibility and inclusion. It recognizes the achievements made by persons with disabilities and highlights proactive actions already made to reach equality in the digital landscape. NAAW encourages communities to talk about these remaining issues of accessibility, get involved, and find solutions that meet everyone’s needs. Although NAAW happens only once a year, the goal is to keep the momentum going every day as technology and the way people access information continues to evolve.

NAAW is also a great annual reminder to educate yourself on—and ensure you’re compliant with—your local accessibility laws. Provincial legislations across the county have online accessibility deadlines on the horizon that affect public and private corporations alike. Visit the Government of Canada NAAW to learn more about National AccessAbility Week.

Accessibility laws that affect you

Website accessibility laws act as motivators to bring equal opportunity to everyone in the digital environment. They hold organizations accountable and ensure that you provide the same level of accessibility across digital platforms. To ensure widespread and global compliance, most lawmakers adhere to the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as these are widely available and have become international standards. The way local laws differ is by selecting which version of WCAG the law adheres to. Today, this is most often WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

It is best to stay ahead of these accessibility requirements so your organization has time to make the necessary updates before local legislation deadlines. Turns out, keeping up with these laws provides your website with many value-added benefits.

For those in Ontario, the next level of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) comes in effect January 1, 2021. Contact us to learn more about which laws affect your business and how to make your web presence a fully accessible experience for your community.

Meet the demands of the new normal

These past few months have caused a rapid shift in the way we serve our community. As businesses begin to safely open again, citizens rely on digital platforms to maintain key services so they can continue to do things like pay their bills, apply for community support and catch the latest updates without massive interruptions or barriers.

Did you know that making your website accessible is the best way to giving everyone in your community a chance to benefit from your online services? Despite the costs and effort it might take to get your website on board with accessibility requirements, the benefits for overcoming these extraordinary times outweigh the steps it takes to get there.

If you’re not sure where to start, learn how auditing your website is now more important than ever and see what cost-effective plans we can provide you to boost your website with the right accessibility tools.

Level the playing field

As the community of people with disabilities continues to grow, we encourage you to be the leader for your citizens and take steps toward a better, more inclusive community. The definition of an accessible website has vastly changed over the years. Accessibility means more for your organization than having a few accessible alternatives at hand. These alternatives tend to be done in-person, but with our current conditions this type of service is limited or even restricted.

Accessibility now translates to your websites overall function, how it is accessed whether from a tablet, mobile phone or laptop, and even how you communicate with your users with applications, surveys and feedback forms. If they’re not accessible, you’re missing out on the majority of your audience and the chance to make your community a better place to live.

It’s your turn!

Let’s make all of our communities fully accessible and inclusive spaces together! We’re passionate about accessibility and educated in the legislation that affects you. Discover what an accessible website can do for your organization by contacting us at accessiblity@esolutionsgroup.ca.

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