5 reasons to get ahead of the upcoming AODA deadline
Guest article by:
Written by: Jasmine de Guzman, Field Marketing Manager at Monsido – a SaaS company focused on web governance and accessibility compliance.
Jasmine has a background in the website builder and SaaS space, and she's all about sharing her knowledge to help others improve their digital marketing and communications. On a daily basis, Jasmine focuses on sharing insights on web accessibility via Monsido webinars, blog posts, partner channel, and more.
Prioritizing accessibility in your organization
Accessibility continues to be one of the most talked about website trends, yet to many, it’s still an intimidating topic to tackle. And it’s true —web accessibility isn’t something that can be fixed overnight. In order to successfully implement a fully accessible website, it needs to be strategically and consistently prioritized as an initiative within your organization. But legislation like the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Acts makes it even more important that your organization understands what changes need to be made to make your website more inclusive, as well as help you get ahead of the upcoming December 31st, 2021 deadline. So why should you kickstart your accessibility efforts now? Here are five key reasons why:
A whopping 73% of disabled Canadians have encountered some kind of accessibility barrier when interacting with federal sector organizations, and nearly 45% of those barriers were related to technology. Websites are often overlooked as a public accommodation, but are vital for your community to be able to digitally engage with local, provincial, and federal government. Getting ahead of web accessibility will not only ensure better engagement, but also ensure that your branch is prioritizing inclusivity on the digital front.
2. User experience (UX)
Did you know that many web accessibility principles also benefit the overall user experience? Many good user experience principles are founded upon accessibility practices. For example, carefully designing your menu for simplicity benefits the average user, as well as those with learning disabilities and cognitive limitations. Another example: consistent and predictable website design. Unorthodox (or extra creative) designs may confuse users, and lower their ability to achieve certain goals on your website, regardless of their ability.
An unexpected benefit (at least to many!) of web accessibility is that it can also positively impact your search engine optimization (SEO). Just like search engines crawl your website, many assistive technologies rely on the same kind of technology to relay information to users. A classic example is alt text on images. By ensuring consistent and accurate use of alt text on the images on your website, you can boost your SEO as well as the web accessibility of your site.
4. Risk of fines
Legislation is there for a reason, and the consequence of not living up to them may result in fines. In fact, the AODA imposes a maximum daily fine of either $50,000 or $100,000 (depending on if you’re an individual or organization) if non-compliance is not addressed. So take a proactive approach to mitigate the risk of fines, and better serve the user of your website.
5. It’s the right thing to do
Last, but not least, it’s just simply the right thing to do. Ensuring equitable access to government websites (here under community resources and information) is fundamental to fostering an engaged public. No matter the reason that your organization decides to prioritize web accessibility, it all goes back to: it’s the right thing to do - and the other reasons are simply added benefits.
Join our upcoming FREE digital workshop
To help organizations better prepare for the deadline, eSolutionsGroup and Monsido are hosting a digital workshop on Tuesday, October 5th at 1 PM (ET). Sign up for our webinar here. Can’t join live? Sign up anyway, and we’ll send you the recording and slides afterward. We hope to see you there!
Curious to learn more about how eSolutions can help with accessibility? Contact us and we’ll help you devise an accessibility action plan for your website, online documents, communications, and more.