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Which type of accessibility standards apply for ADA compliance mobile app?
By: Skynet Technologies USA LLC
Date Posted: November 22, 2020
Last Updated: November 22, 2020
ADA compliance mobile app

Have ever wondered how many new apps are being born every month? How many app downloads are happening all over the world? We have some breathtaking numbers with us! Nearly 100k new Android apps and 30k iOS apps are being released every month and staggeringly more than 200 billion app downloads have happened in just one year! Mobile has become the highest traffic generator today. With this, many digital companies have started to roll-out their apps to improve their digital visibility. These mobile apps need to be user-friendly and accessible by everyone.

As mobile apps are continuously evolving, just like how web accessibility guidelines have been established by various international guidelines, there has been a need for the slow evolution of standards to address mobile app accessibility. To inculcate the principles of inclusion and fairness on the web, mobile accessibility must also be prioritized. People with disabilities and impairments must be able to utilize the benefits of these digital apps and services. It has to be a standard, not an exception. So logically, after web accessibility, the next logical frontier in the pursuit of a more inclusive digital world is mobile.

ADA Compliance for Mobile Apps

As mobile apps became an indispensable part of our everyday lives, US Federal Courts have interpreted the accessibility clause in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as requiring all the mobile apps to be accessible to the disabled without any discrimination. This is imperative considering that nearly more than 50 million people in the US are disabled and depend on apps every day. And despite the stellar stats about mobile apps, not all hadn’t been created in compliance with the accessibility guidelines.

Mobile apps are also covered by the same accessibility standards as that of the web. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which provided guidelines for web accessibility, the same rules are valid for the mobile apps. They have to follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 standards including multimedia access. Though WCAG doesn’t specify anything about mobile app accessibility, however, the same criteria outlined in WCAG 2 stands relevant in the case of mobile apps as well. The W3C also mentioned the best practices for mobile apps, they are not accessibility specific although they do promote accessibility.

How can you make your mobile apps ADA compliant?

If your mobile apps are not ADA compliant, you could find yourself liable to legal penalties under ADA. Hence, one needs to refocus their design efforts in order to make mobile apps easily navigable. You need to restructure your mobile app by following the accessibility standards namely ADA and WCAG 2.1 guidelines. Before we go further, first conduct a mobile ADA accessibility audit to note down any shortcomings and check where you stand in your accessibility score. There are many accessibility requirements for mobile apps, however, when it comes to ADA compliance, we are presenting here a few elements:

Provide a transcript with multimedia

Many mobile apps come with either audio or video files and how do you think a disabled user will be able to view or hear the multimedia content. Users with visual challenges and hearing disabilities should have a way out of this impediment. They should have an option to use captioning on your video, and a full-text transcript for audio files in order to make your mobile app ADA compliant. When applying captioning, make sure synchronization is happening to avoid unnecessary confusion especially when your app requires quick actions based on the audio commands.

Colors Compliance

Color blindness is one of the most common problems faced by internet users. Nearly 8% of the people face this and this becomes a hindrance while accessing your mobile app. It gets difficult for people to perceive the colors on their apps especially when these colors are in close proximity. For instance, most people suffer from red-green color blindness and if your app uses these two colors, then you need to provide an alternative way to make that accessible to these users. In the majority of the cases, if you could specify what color it is, that itself serves the purpose.

Easy to understand Error Messages

While you are filling out the forms or submitting a form, errors are likely to happen. The error messages are critical here to help the user to understand what went wrong. People with disabilities may find it hard to perceive any onscreen error prompts. So, it is better to make sure you encode your error messages properly so that they would be understood by the screen readers and other assistive technologies to help the users. Also, you need to avoid the common practice of using red color while indicating the error messages as color blind people may have a hard time perceiving the error message. A clear error message can reduce confusion and you can avoid the risk of losing customers.

Other Accessibility technologies

You can take advantage of the accessibility features such as text-to-speech, gesture technologies, haptic feedback offered by iOS and Android platforms. Visual impaired users make us of Talkback in Android and Voiceover in iOS. You can try these and see how your app performs in terms of accessibility. Your developers should be familiar with these technologies and make sure to include them in your strategic plan in order to make your app accessible to all.

You can add these to the web accessibility checklist and make sure you improve your mobile accessibility. You should let your developers know these and find remediation to make your mobile app widely accessible and avoid expensive lawsuits. It might be challenging even for the developers as the regulations are slightly confusing for mobile apps. We recommend an ADA compliance audit to identify the issues, rank them in order of severity, and find remedial measures.

We offer ADA compliance mobile app services, our Mobile App developers can create accessible mobile apps for iOS and Android Platform that are highly functional, robust and accessible for everyone. We also offer ADA Compliant Website Design, Accessibility Web Development, ADA Compliance Audit, and other ADA Compliance Services. We can develop any WordPress website, ecommerce website or online store or mobile app an ADA Compliant.

Why Accessibility and SEO should be a part of your business growth!
By: Skynet Technologies USA LLC
Date Posted: November 20, 2020
Last Updated: November 20, 2020
Accessibility and SEO

Suppose you’re scrolling through a series of blog articles and once you reach the end of the page, you may encounter a text that says “read more”. Once you click through it, you may be directed to a longer list of blog posts. However, if you were a visually impaired person and relying on a screen reader, once you reach the end of the page, you’d be stuck in the endless ‘read more’ loop without further navigation. Instead of such a vague text, had the developer added a “read more blogs” snippet that is more descriptive, your screen reader would perform seamless navigation. However, minor it may seem to you, but for a visually impaired person, it does make all the difference by providing access to meaningful content on your website.

If your visitors find issues with your website such as intricate navigation, poor layouts, concealed call-to-action (CTA), bad web forms, hard-to-read content, etc. chances are high that your visitors abandon your site without coming back ever. This would have a direct impact on your SEO score resulting in a slump in search rankings. Thus, web accessibility offers a path-breaking benefit in the form of higher search rankings that go beyond optimized user experience. Hence, you need to empathize with your target audience and build your site so that it is not just optimized but also accessible to everyone. Website accessibility should thus be one of the important elements of your SEO strategy.

A fine line between Accessibility and SEO

We need to understand that web accessibility practices greatly translate into amazing SEO strategies, however, the vice-versa is not true. That is, not all SEO tactics improve web accessibility. For instance, keyword stuffing in the alt attribute of your image tag works well in terms of SEO, but for a screen reader, this may seem to be nothing but gibberish nullifying your web accessibility strategy. So, the thin line between accessibility aspects and SEO strategy should be carefully curated to pan out the results the way you desired.

Quality Keywords

Keyword stuffing is a common culprit in the proper keyword strategy. It can kill your SEO! Search engines often look for some cues to understand what’s your website is all about. For example, as we talked earlier about stuffing the alt attribute in the image tag, it is not going to improve your search engine rankings in any way. On the contrary, a slump in the search rankings shouldn’t be a surprise. Added to the keyword overloading are the hassles that a screen reader has to face. A quality text providing a proper context to both the screen readers as well as search engines is what is needed. The basic tenets of SEO correspond to accessible web content which should form the foundation stone of your SEO strategy.

Better User Experience

User experience is the ultimate factor that matters the most in SEO. Various factors impact the user experience on your website. A frictionless experience with a simple and easily navigable website structure is a huge bonus to you. The site speed also makes or breaks your user experience. With mobile traffic on the rise, having a great mobile experience is also an added bonus. Proper color contrasts, keyword navigation, descriptive headings, clear language, logical and structured layouts naturally lead to a better user experience even for people with disabilities. And that’s what matters the most for search engines boosting your SEO.

Wider Audience Reach

More than 25% of people in the US are disabled. Hence, making web accessibility an afterthought is actually an ineffectual plan. Web accessibility widens your audience reach by improving your ability to reach more people. Firstly, you are not denying access to people with various disabilities - visual, auditory, neurological, physical, motor, or cognitive ones. Everyone would be able to easily access your website without any hindrances. When your website is accessible, they also get better rankings in the search engines. This is positive reinforcement and it happens in a circular loop. When your website is accessible to a larger audience, it is easy for the search engines too to find your website more relevant, having a knock-on effect on search rankings.

Mobile Accessibility

Mobile traffic has totally eclipsed desktop users today. A huge chunk of traffic has been coming from mobile phones. As more and more content is consumed on handheld devices, mobile accessibility has become a crucial pillar of SEO. Poor mobile accessibility inadvertently hurts your SEO. So make your content flexible and resizable by following WCAG guidelines which reduce the need for third-party assistive technologies. Proper color contrast and font sizes impact the mobile user experience and they are likely to convert. Thus, improved SEO is a positive ramification of mobile accessibility.

Ease of Navigation

With web accessibility measures, one can ensure easier and consistent navigation even across a robust website. Navigation issues shouldn’t be ignored as a person with a disability may feel discriminated against and excluded from web access. Websites should be able to be accessed by keyboard, mouse, or any device for easier access and consumption of website content. There should be a plethora of digital landmarks in the code so that those users who rely on screen readers and other assistive technologies can navigate properly without facing any roadblocks.

Web accessibility entails providing text for non-text content, ensuring that your written content is in a readable format, logical formatting of your webpage content, using headings intentionally, and complying with WCAG standards. These inevitably ease the navigation of the users as they don’t have to rely on the text on the web page all the time.

Conclusion

Don’t get overwhelmed if you’ve never incorporated web accessibility into your SEO strategy. It’s never too late! Plan and prioritize web accessibility. Remember, web accessibility and SEO are overlapping strategies both having a similar scope of improving your user experience and taking you to a wider audience. On the outset, it may seem to be more expensive and daunting requiring web design overhaul, tweaking the layout changes, and rewriting the SEO strategy. However, all it takes is a prudent plan to make minor tweaks, and follow best practices to make your websites more accessible and SEO-friendlier.

When You choose the accessibility option for your website, it becomes universally accessible & it creates a positive user experience that is not only good for your business brand but also SEO. We can make your website ADA Compliant. Our specialized team of website designer ensures a Search engine friendly and user-friendly experience based on browsing patterns of the target audience and business need. Get a Free ADA Compliance Audit!

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What's new in WCAG 2.2 Release and how it impacts 2021 ADA Web Accessibility?
By: Skynet Technologies USA LLC
Date Posted: November 17, 2020
Last Updated: November 17, 2020
ADA Web Accessibility

What is WCAG?

WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. It is an international standard for web accessibility developed by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), the standard organization responsible for HTML and CSS standards. The earlier versions of WCAG are 1.0, 2.0, 2.1 and the latest version WCAG 2.2 is set for official release in the summer of 2021. The latest version of WCAG works on top of the earlier version so the criteria of the older version remain along with the newly added success criteria. WCAG 2.2 is backward-compatible and has a total of 59 criteria with 50 from the previous version and 9 newly added.

WCAG 2.2 Checklist

WCAG has three conformance levels - A(lowest), AA (mid-range), and AAA (highest). You should strive to conform to the AA level. If you want to go the extra mile in improving your web accessibility, you may also try to incorporate AAA into your website/app.

WCAG 2.2 has introduced 9 new criteria taking the total AA guidelines to 59.

Guideline 2.4 Navigable

About how to help the users navigate, find the content they are looking for, and determine where they are in their user journey.

2.4.11 Focus Appearance (Minimum) (AA)

Make sure your focus indicator clearly stands out from the background. For the keyboard focus indicators, the following elements hold true:

  • Minimum Area - The focus indication area has got to be greater than/equal to 1 CSS pixel border of the control or a minimum thickness of 8 pixels along the shortest side of the element.
  • Change of Contrast - The focus indicator color change area has a contrast ratio of 3:1 with the unfocused state colors.
  • Adjacent Contrast - The focus indication area has a contrast ratio of 3:1 against all the adjacent colors or has a thickness of a minimum of 2 CSS pixels.
  • Unobscured - The focused item is not entirely concealed by the author-created content.

2.4.12 Focus Appearance (Enhanced) (AAA)

Make sure your focus indicator clearly stands out from the background. For the keyboard focus indicators, the following elements hold true:

  • Minimum Area - The focus indication area has got to be greater than/equal to 2 CSS pixel solid borders around the control.
  • Change of Contrast - The focus indicator color change area has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 with the unfocused state colors.
  • Unobscured - None of the focused items is entirely concealed by the author-created content.

2.4.13 Fixed Reference Points (A)

Ensure your e-publications have page numbers and if there are any printed versions, see that they match with that version as well. This mechanism helps is easy navigation maintaining the flow of content irrespective of the platforms.

Guideline 2.5 Input Modalities

For ease-of-use, while operating the functionality through various inputs other than the keyboard.

2.5.7 Dragging (AA)

Wherever dragging movements are required, you can provide alternatives such as tapping and clicking. This is helpful for people with mobility impairments.

2.5.8 Pointer Target Spacing (AA)

The interactive targets must take up at least 44*44 pixels of space except when:

  • Enlarge - A mechanism is there to change the CSS pixel size of each target, or spacing, so one can have an area of 44*44 CSS pixels that include it but no other targets.
  • Inline - When the target is in a sentence or a text block
  • User-Agent - The target size is controlled by the user agent and not modified by the author
  • Essential - A specific presentation of the target is important to the information being conveyed.

Guideline 3.2 Predictable

Display and operate the webpages in predictable ways.

3.2.6 Findable Help (A)

If the help option is available, make sure it is there consistently, in the same place so it can be easily located. Help option entails human contact details, self-help options, fully automated contact mechanisms.

3.2.7. Hidden Controls (AA)

The control mechanisms like edit buttons should be relevant, persistently visible, and not hidden somewhere. They shouldn’t be difficult to trace until they receive a mouse hover over or focus.

Guideline 3.3 Input Assistance

To help the users avoid and correct mistakes.

3.3.7 Accessible Authentication (A)

If there is a cognitive test in the authentication process, there needs to be an alternative way to authenticate that doesn’t rely on the cognitive function tests.

3.3.8 Redundant Entry (A)

While filling out a form, there need to be auto-populated or selection options that prompt the previously entered information. Password confirmation or abandoned forms are exceptions.

Impact of WCAG 2.2

Though WCAG 2.1 has a comprehensive set of accessibility guidelines, some users with specific needs still continue to face navigational issues. In fact, certain types of disorders that were ignored earlier were taken into account under the current regulations. Normative accessibility doesn’t cover a large number of impairments and disorders. For instance, cognitive or motor disorders. The guidelines have proposed minimum spacing which may vary from one user to another, especially if the user is having Parkinson’s disease, he may find it difficult to navigate. These disorders require very specific adaptations.

WCAG 2.2 was rolled out with the intention of enhancing the web accessibility furthermore with the underlying WCAG 2.1 guidelines. They focus on improving accessibility guidance for the users having cognitive and learning disabilities, users with poor vision, users of e-books, and users with disabilities on mobile phones. With the increase in mobile phone users, this new update is essential to ensure that the websites are created to optimize mobile device usability.

Why is it best to incorporate WCAG 2.2 Guidelines?



1. ADA Compliance Requirements

One should comply with WCAG 2.2 guidelines for legal reasons. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) although doesn’t mention web accessibility explicitly, the legal landscape dictates that the law extends even to the digital landscape. In fact, many businesses having a digital footprint faced lawsuits when their websites have violated ADA guidelines. WCAG 2.2 guidelines would be incorporated into the law in 2021 and hence it is advisable for the businesses to confirm with the latest standards to be at the top of your game.

2. Moral Reasons

When a section of the audience with disabilities pertaining to visual, auditory, motor, physical, cognitive, and neurological impairments are denied access to the web, then it is a clear case of discrimination. Even the web should be an inclusive space. With the right guidelines, one can make the web accessible to everyone. Businesses need to be thoughtful, socially conscious, and shouldn’t discriminate against anyone. One should strive to build a cascade of inclusiveness irrespective of the legally binding agreements.

3. Business Outcomes

There is a direct correlation between web accessibility and business performance as it offers you a competitive advantage and accentuates your digital presence. By improving the access to everyone, you are essentially increasing the number of possible visitors to your website/app. This is a larger opportunity for all pragmatic reasons as you improve your chances of conversion and also build a customer base. The inevitable outcome of building an accessible website is the financial benefits that stem from increased traffic- improved sales, low maintenance costs, avoiding legal costs, etc.

Closing Thoughts

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 has rolled out new guidelines to make the web content more accessible. With these, you are making the web content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities. This isn’t difficult but you need to understand the users with disabilities interact with your website/app. You need to focus on incorporating the best practices to construct an inclusive web.

Skynet Technologies is offering ADA compliant website design and development services followed by Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards. We can make your Drupal, WordPress, Magento, PHP, Laravel website or Android, iOS Mobile App ADA Compliant to make it accessible for everyone.

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Things to Consider while you go for Complete ADA Website Audit!
By: Skynet Technologies USA LLC
Date Posted: November 14, 2020
Last Updated: November 14, 2020
ADA Website Audit

All businesses are actively building their digital assets by strictly complying with ADA guidelines. ADA compliance is not just about legal obligations. One needs to provide a good user experience to the website visitors. If you are denying access to the disabled, you are also losing out potential customers. It isn’t just about business, that is the right thing to do! Companies are going for a complete ADA compliance audit to ensure that their website or mobile app is accessible to everyone without any discrimination.

A quick recap about ADA web compliance:

The Americans with Disabilities Act that was introduced in 1990 pertains to the civil rights of the citizens. It prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and demands equitable access to all public places. Accordingly, many businesses have set up wheelchair ramps, the automatic door opens, etc. to make their work environment more disabled-friendly. But with an increase in internet usage, the same clause is extended by default to the websites as well. Although there is no explicit mention, many companies had to face expensive lawsuits for violating ADA compliance measures. So, companies have started to take extra care making their websites accessible to avoid legal and financial overheads.

ADA Website Audit

ADA compliance audit may seem daunting but it is necessary. However, before you jump in to audit your site, you need to be mindful of a few things.

How do you handle Multimedia?

As per the National Health Survey, nearly 10% of US adults have visual impairment of some kind. Further, nearly 15% have reported hearing troubles. So, while conducting an ADA compliance audit, you need to make sure your website is accessible to everyone. You need to ask a few questions such as -

  1. Do you have audio descriptions to make videos more accessible?
  2. Do you include transcriptions and text captions in your videos and audio-only content?
  3. How about descriptive alt tags that can be interpreted by the screen readers?
  4. Can you avoid flash images, GIFs that may create seizures?

These things can be taken care of easily without any external technical help. A proper content management system takes care of the alt tags, content updates as needed. It also serves as a guide for your web designer or agency to follow the coding and design standards.

How to handle text and links?

Earlier, little thought was given to the users with visual impairments during the web design, and content marketing. These physical challenges were given a backseat till ADA compliance measures became mandatory. They should have undeterred access to the content especially links and text. You should find answers to the following questions:

  1. Do your text links clearly indicate that it is supposed to do instead of content such as click here, read more, etc.
  2. How about text color and font size adjustments?
  3. Are you avoiding the PDFs that cannot be interpreted by the screen readers?
  4. Do you allow headers for the data tables?

Many users with visual impairments depend on high-contrast colors and therefore, web design agencies have to make sure that there are no low-contrast colors on the website.

Does my website provide easy navigation?

People with disabilities must be able to navigate through the websites freely without any hindrances. When conducting an ADA compliance audit, you can focus on -

  1. Is the text and alt tags readable by the screen-readers?
  2. How about the form labels and field descriptions?
  3. A skip navigation link that allows screen readers to move straight to the main content
  4. Can we avoid dead ends in the pages using a keyboard?

It is better to start navigating through your website to understand the user’s pain points. You can uncover any dead end on the website, and gain a better understanding of the navigational flow.

Pick the ADA agency

Find an agency that has experience in working with the website development and inquire about how they maintain their workflows and address accessibility. There are some companies that have actual experience with website accessibility. You can go to such agencies. They might have prior experience working with website audits and generating reports. They would also have experience with various tools that can easily assess the website’s accessibility.

Conduct the ADA website audit

Conducting an audit is a prudent thing to make sure your website is ADA compliant. Once you start the audit, the tools crawl through the site and identify the areas that do not meet the ADA compliance standards. You can get a clear picture of the work involved for you so you can plan your budget properly and weigh the benefits. If you have a progressive platform and have used the best coding practices during your website build, then your site is fairly compliant and you may not need further remedial measures. Based on the results and site configuration, one can plan out the cost for the server setup, tools, and create a roadmap.

Determine the Actionable ADA Remedies

Once you are done with the audit, you can report to gauge the efforts required, plan out the timelines, budget, deliverables, and other expected elements. You will at least understand where you stand and can plan the process of implementing the ADA compliance guidelines. Once you have clearly formulated the roadmap, then you can seek your developer to work on the remedies and improve the overall user experience.

Conclusion

There are myriad ways in which one can benefit from making the website accessible- from avoiding lawsuits to providing a great user experience. By performing the audit, you’ll be able to understand the nuts and bolts of your website accessible to make it available to everyone. Although it is time-taking, there are many third-party agencies that can help you perform the audit and provide you some actionable insights.

With in-depth technical knowledge and measurable experience in checking all the aspect for compliance with WCAG 2.1 guidelines and create a detailed scope of work and areas where changes are needed. Skynet Technologies USA LLC provide complete ADA compliance audit to ensure your website is accessible for everyone. We can develop any website, mobile application or enterprise application ADA compliant!

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