Businesses in the UK need to make sure that their services are accessible to everyone including disabled individuals. One in 5 people in the UK has some sort of disability making it hard for them to use websites and services online.
Accessibility, however, isn’t just limited to disabled individuals rather it applies to everyone. People have varying needs based on circumstances e.g. someone using a website in a noisy public place.
If you are doing business in the UK, you are legally bound to follow the government’s accessibility requirements to ensure you aren’t breaking the law.
Let’s see the requirements and how you can meet them and stay safe.
Accessibility requirements in the UK
According to the accessibility and assisted digital service manual by UK Government, digital services are required to meet the following accessibility requirements:
- Follow WCAG guidelines and meet AA level
- Create and publish an accessibility statement
- Make your digital service compatible with common assistive technologies (screen readers and magnifiers and speech recognition)
- Add disabled people in user research.
These requirements are for all types of digital services that include websites, apps, online tools, and any service on the web.
Out of the four requirements, the toughest one is meeting the AA level as WCAG guidelines aren’t easy to follow. Once you have met the AA level, your website will be compatible with assistive technologies. Creating an accessibility statement and including disabled individuals in user research are easy tasks that aren’t resource intensive.
The real challenge is meeting WCAG guidelines and making your website compliant.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 are international accepted and recognized rules and standards for making the web accessible. The original document is very detailed. The UK Government has created a shorter version here.
WCAG guidelines have four design principles that focus on accessibility. These principles include:
The perceivable principle refers to making your website easy-to-recognize and ensuring visitors can use it to achieve their purpose.
Operable refers to the user’s ability to find and use the content on your website irrespective of device or technology they’re using.
Understandable means your content and website are easy-to-understand.
Robust refers to using standard methods for content creation so that it can be interpreted by a wide range of new and old agents and tools.
Technically these principles make sense and look generic, but the detailed instructions show the depth and what needs to be done to fully meet each design principle.
These guidelines and principles can be implemented by an expert designer and coder. Of course, it needs time and resources. Since it is such a detailed process, businesses are reluctant to invest resources.
How artificial intelligence is helping with accessibility
Making your website accessible and meeting the UK government’s requirements is possible with an artificial intelligence-powered web accessibility solution – accessiBe.
It makes your website accessible and adds a fully customizable accessibility interface. It uses an AI-powered tool to scan your website and makes it WCAG 2.1 compliant automatically. Your website works seamlessly on all assistive technologies without an issue.
accessiBe will help you meet WCAG requirements and assistive technologies computability. You’ll have to add the accessibility statement and add disabled persons in user research internally to meet all the requirements.
Making your website accessible and meeting government requirements is essential for all UK businesses. You don’t have any excuse now as you can make your website accessibility and WCAG compliant on autopilot without spending a dime on coding, restructuring, or redesigning. The fully automatic and instant process will save you from legal issues, customer concerns, and will improve your website’s experience significantly.