Here’s how to write a web accessibility statement for your organization
- By Christopher Schafer - May 13, 2021 Web Accessibility Web Governance Website Management
“Accessibility statements.” If your organization is looking to enhance its accessibility initiatives, you’ve probably heard the phrase before.
Your web accessibility statement is a public-facing page that outlines your company’s efforts and goals surrounding accessibility. It’s what you believe, and it’s also a great place to highlight your past efforts to remove barriers to access and create a better web for all.
A web accessibility statement is your chance to show users you value them and have a long-term commitment to accessibility. And it provides you an opportunity to guide users to any other content or guidelines you have surrounding your content’s accessibility.
All of this sounds great but to really bring your efforts to life, you need to understand what your web accessibility statement should include, how to write one, and where it should live.
Your accessibility statement should include the following
There are a lot of variables, but at the bare minimum, your web accessibility statement should explain your overall commitment to inclusion of people with disabilities.
It should also outline the accessibility standard you are applying to your organization. This could be the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 or, if subject to European consideration, the Web Accessibility Directive (WAD). Your accessibility statement should also indicate what level of conformance your organization holds itself to (for example, WCAG 2.1 Level AA).
Lastly, contact information should be included for users to report a problem on your site.
You can further improve your accessibility statement by including:
- A detailed outline of your efforts to improve and ensure accessibility
- Any environments where your content was tested to identify accessibility issues
- Existing limitations so users understand challenges going in
- Any technical prerequisites that can help users eliminate accessibility challenges on your site
What should your accessibility statement sound like?
With so many things to consider above, it may be tempting to give your accessibility statement the feel of a legal document.
Technical jargon will only add confusion and deny your statement the chance to benefit your users. Instead, treat your web accessibility statement as you would a value or mission statement. Be open and candid with your users. Let them know where you shine in accessibility and don’t try to cover up any challenges users may experience on your site – they can’t hide forever.
It’s also important that you explain any flaws of your website in common terms instead of legal rules. If you’re photos lack captions, say that. Don’t cite the guideline you’re failing to meet. Remember that users simply want to understand what’s possible and not possible for them on your site, not check it against statute.
Make it easy for users to find your web accessibility statement
A hidden accessibility statement might as well have never been created. Make sure yours is read by putting it somewhere prominent on your website. Place it under your “about us” tab or link it to a footer or banner on your home page—and make sure the page is mobile-friendly.
Once you’ve published your accessibility statement, make a commitment to update it – at least annually. It’s a great way to showcase your continued web accessibility growth with all of your users.
Read more on the EU Web Accessibility Directive and the European Accessibility Act