A little bit about web accessibility
The mission of web accessibility at the core is about making sure that technology works for all people. According to W3C, “The mission of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is to lead the Web to its full potential to be accessible, enabling people with disabilities to participate equally on the Web.”
W3C goes on to say that accessibility is about building in the web tools that will best allow those with challenges or disabilities to access content on the web. You can learn more about W3C and accessibility by visiting this link about web accessibility.
Examples of Accessible Features
There are many different features that can be added to a website to make the website more accessible. Here are a few examples of accessibility features a developer may add to a website.
- Alternative Text for Images
- Alternative text is often referred to as “alt text”. This is text that may accompany images on the web. A visually disabled person could use a screen reader to read aloud the alt text on a website.
- Keyboard Input
- Some people cannot use a mouse. Thus, accessibility may sometimes mean using helpful technologies to navigate a website.
- Transcripts for Audio
- Audio files are sometimes problematic for hearing disabled individuals. Audio files may need to be accompanied by transcripts.
What are the standards for accessibility?
W3C produces a set of standards for web accessibility across different types of websites, applications and technology services. The standards are often referred to as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG. Here is the link to the standards – W3C Standards.
How can businesses build and maintain an accessible website?
To build and maintain a fully accessible website requires ongoing attention, expertise and consistent maintenance. Many websites are now built with a combination of plugins and platforms. For example, a Shopify website may use apps and a theme. Every third party app and theme deployed on website will need to meet acceptable accessibility criterion in order for the website as a whole to meet designated accessibility criterion.
How do businesses test and monitor a website for accessibility?
Three examples of ways businesses can monitor a website for accessibility are through automated testing, manual testing and use case testing.
- Automated Testing involves using a software tool to evaluate and check a website for accessibility concerns and features.
- Manual Testing involves code reviews and manual reading of code to evaluate and check a website for accessibility concerns and features.
- Use Case Testing involves reviewing a website through the use of assistive technologies.
What does Liquid Offer in terms of accessibility?
Liquid offers to scan your website using the WebAIM WAVE Accessibility Tool. A web developer will look for any accessibility features flagged as ‘errors’ by the Wave Accessibility Tool. The web developer will manually address/improve/correct any ‘errors’ that the Liquid team (1)has access to fix within your Shopify website account and (2)were introduced as related to the activities or services provided by Liquid. The WAVE Tool may identify issues introduced by third party applications, Shopify Themes or Shopify Apps. Liquid may not have access to correct third party errors and does not offer the service of correcting accessibility related concerns introduced by third parties. Furthermore, Liquid is not responsible for the accessibility errors of third parties.
Liquid will perform a scan with the WAVE Accessibility Tool upon customer request and up to once per year. Additional scheduling is available upon request for additional service fees.
Liquid’s does not claim to achieve WCAG 2.1 standards for accessibility by scanning your website with the WAVE Accessibility Tool. We recommend customers enlist additional service providers to achieve WCAG 2.1 standards for accessibility.
What vendors can help me improve the accessibility of my website?
There are vendors that specialize in web accessibility services. Here are a few vendors you may contact to discuss accessibility compliance services.
A note on accessibility audits.
Accessibility vendors such as those noted above may provide reports of what should be corrected on a website without physically making the corrections. Liquid does not offer the service of web development work related to the implementation of accessibility audits as part of its managed services. Requests to implement changes outlined in accessibility audits requires a third party development agency or specialized project proposal.
We hope this information proves helpful in your efforts to provide accessibility features for your customers and website visitors. For more information please review Liquid’s Standard Service Agreement.