13 Common Web Accessibility Questions Web Design Agencies Need to Know

Web accessibility is a growing trend nowadays. The fact that in 2018, the number of federally-filed website accessibility cases skyrocketed to 2,285 from a mere 815 in 2017 is proof that a lot of people want to make it mainstream. An increasing number of businesses are also interested in building accessible websites.

As a web design agency, your clients are likely to ask you to build an accessible website. In this regard, they may ask you a few questions to gauge your knowledge of web accessibility.

Here are a few of the most common accessibility questions that you should be prepared to answer as a web design agency.

1. Is Your Own Website Accessible?

Is Your Own Website Accessible

One of the first questions you are likely to be asked is that “Is Your Own Website Accessible?” As a web design agency, you should be able to provide a positive response to this one.

Having your own accessible website is the first step to convincing your potential clients that you can do the job for them. It also creates positive brand publicity for your web design agency. So, make sure to incorporate accessibility into your own website.

2. Do You Have Experience in Building Accessible Websites?

In the world of web designing, experience is one of the critical factors. Besides, designing an accessible website is no easy feat. Make sure to flaunt your skills. However, never lie about or exaggerate your work experience.

Also, make sure to ask your previous clients if it is okay to share the details of their project and contact information with your prospects. If you can create a catalog of your past work, that would be great.

3. What Web Accessibility Standards Do You Follow?

You will need to explain to your clients the specific web accessibility standards you will follow when designing their site. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 has the most universally accepted technical specifications and standards for web accessibility.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), however, has rolled out the most recent update, WCAG 2.1. You can even share a checklist to help them understand which standards you are going to follow.

If you can share the outline of your designing process, you will have a better chance of convincing your clients. You can also use web accessibility development tools like accessiBe to build accessible sites for your clients with increased efficiency and ease.

You will also get the information of latest web accessibility standards W3C website. Keeping track of the news and other publications on this site should help you and your clients stay updated about the changes you may need to make in your clients’ websites.

4. Is Web Accessibility Really Necessary?

Is It Really Necessary

Although the prospect has decided to choose web accessibility, they will still have a lot of concerns, one of which will be if web accessibility really is necessary. You may want to talk about the changing regulations about internet accessibility and the rising number of lawsuits pertaining to ADA.

Passed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that people with disabilities also get equal access to public services like everyone else. The language in the ADA is broad enough to extend to the web accessibility. According to the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, the number of federal website accessibility lawsuits nearly tripled, from just 814 in 2017 to 2258 in 2018. Having an accessible website can help your clients avoid a potential ADA lawsuit.

However, you should also emphasize that it is the morally right thing to do, and your design agency can help them do it. You can lay down the advantages of having an accessible website like a positive brand image, broader market penetration, and improved SEO, among others.

Make sure to tell your clients that incorporating accessibility isn’t going to make their website unappealing. Thanks to advancement in web development and designing technologies, today web design and accessibility can go together seamlessly.

5. How Do You Test the Web Accessibility of a Site?

Whether you are building a new website or redesigning an old one, you will need to check the accessibility at every stage of the development. Your clients will want to know who performs accessibility testing, how is that testing performed, and who will make the fixes and when.

You must tell your clients about the various methods you will use to test the accessibility. While web designers and developers still use manual methods to test accessibility, automation is rapidly evolving. You may want to inform your clients about online web accessibility testing tools if you are using any.

Make sure to have third-party accessibility Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) take a look at each project as well. A combination of automated and manual testing will generate better results. Be sure to mention this to your prospects.

6. What Happens to Accessibility When the Website Gets Upgrades?

As a web designing agency, you already know that accessibility isn’t a one-time fix. You need to maintain your website’s accessibility on an ongoing basis.

So, every time a website gets updated, the said changes also need to be made accessible, no matter how small they are. For example, if the website has a blog, every time you add a new post, the content needs to be accessible, including the text, images, videos, links, and any other graphics.

As a result, you need to have a long-term strategy in place to make these changes accessible, just like the rest of the website. It would be better if you can demonstrate this strategy to your clients in advance.

7. What are Text Alternatives for All Non-Text Content?

Text Alternatives

Most people are aware of the screen readers that people with visual disabilities or poor vision use to read online content. However, screen readers can’t help you understand non-text content like images, graphics, audio, and video. In other words, any multimedia on an accessible website needs to have a text substitute.

For example, images need relevant and easy-to-understand Alt Text, while videos require detailed transcripts. In addition to making a website more accessible, these steps will also help improve the search visibility of the content. You can translate these transcripts and other content into multiple languages to further increase accessibility.

8. What If We Have a Unique Web Accessibility Requirement?

Web accessibility usually depends on the scale and scope of your website. For example, a simple law firm website is far easier to make more accessible compared to a complex one like an e-commerce store. Further, depending on your client’s niche, they may also have a specific design element or feature that needs to be accessible.

You will need to convince your prospect that you can offer the customized solutions they want. If it is a feature or design element that no client has requested before, make sure to conduct thorough research. Make sure to find out various customization options available for the said issue. You should also explain the process of incorporating accessibility in detail to the client.

9. How Do You Report While Working on the Project?

Making a website accessible is a time-consuming and intricate process if you don’t have the right tools. So, the client will expect you to keep them informed of the progress. Hence, you will need to keep your clients updated on the progress.

You need to have a reporting strategy in place. Most web design agencies offer a stage-vise project report via email. However, for real-time communications, you can use tools like Skype or Slack. For keeping track of your project, you can use tools like Trello or Basecamp.

You can also have in-person meetings during the crucial stages of the project to review the progress. Make sure to lay out your reporting process in detail to the client. Remember, being transparent is key here.

10. Do You Offer Real-Life Accessibility Testing?

Real-Life Accessibility Testing

Testing is a crucial factor in developing accessible websites. While there are different web accessibility testing tools, real-life testing offers a better insight into web accessibility.

If possible, you should involve the disability community in the testing processes apart from the tools and subject matter experts. Getting real feedback will help you build a near-perfect solution for your clients.

It also shows your commitment to making the web more accessible, creating a positive image of your web design agency. Further, field testing will also help your clients get a better idea of what people with disabilities expect from their website. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Connect with the nearest community of disabled people. Try connecting with local schools, community centers, and non-profits to see if you can find volunteers to test the websites built for your clients.

11. Can You Make Video and Audio Content Accessible?

Most websites have audios and videos on their websites. However, blind people can’t see these videos, and hearing-disabled people can’t listen to audio. As a result, most of your prospects will ask you about this.

Make sure to talk about the various ways in which you can make the audiovisual content more accessible. For example, adding captions, transcripts, and descriptions for the video content will help people with hearing-disability to enjoy the same.

Audio descriptions, on the other hand, can help highlight various elements included in an infographic, a graph, an image, or a chart. It would be better if you show your prospects some samples of your previous work.

12. Do Your Developers Have Any Accessibility Training or Certifications?

Training or Certifications

Having accessibility-certified and trained web developers on your team will help you attract more customers. It will also bring the much-required professional expertise and knowledge to your team.

Currently, there are only a handful of institutes offering web accessibility certifications and training. The IAAP or International Association of Accessibility Professionals is one of the leading institutes offering different certification programs for digital professionals.

13. How Much Will Web Accessibility Cost?

Perhaps, this is the most crucial question of all. While the exact cost of web accessibility will change from project to project, you need to tell your clients to view it as an investment, rather than an expense.

Accessibility will not only reduce the chances of potential ADA lawsuits, but also allow brands to build positive experiences for a large segment of the population. Your clients will be able to show that they value and welcome every customer. Be sure to emphasize how these benefits outweigh the initial investment in web accessibility.

Wrapping Up

Designing an ADA-compliant website is a challenge. Any client willing to build an accessible website will expect you to clear a few things before going for it. Hopefully, going through these common questions should help you convince your clients to embrace web accessibility more willingly. Do you think web accessibility is important? What steps are you taking to promote it among your clientele? Do express your thoughts in the comments section.

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