Website accessibility products that check the content of your website against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA) are plentiful and sometimes very detailed. Most of the website accessibility tools are similar in their process, but some are so detailed they leave you in a tailspin of confusion trying to interpret accessibility acronyms and use cases.

In most school districts, there’s a lack of website accessibility experts, and many schools are left scratching their heads wondering where to start on the journey of website accessibility. As you begin reviewing and editing your website content for accessibility, consider these tips to help you with your journey.

1: Designate a digital accessibility coordinator

When beginning the process of website accessibility compliance, it’s important to define someone from your district who will serve as the “expert” around accessibility. This role is best served by a person who is familiar with the website and the tools that already exist to meet the desired level of accessibility. Additionally, this person should research and improve their understanding of web accessibility standards as they relate to WCAG 2.0AA.  A few examples of job roles that I’ve seen take on this task include web masters, chief information officers, and public relations leaders.

2: Ensure all new digital content is accessible

As you start reviewing your current website content, it’s important to ensure that all new content is meeting your desired level of accessibility standards. Naturally, the best way to ensure that new content is accessible is to educate the individuals who have access to edit the website. Training will provide editors the necessary skills to not only understand accessibility standards, but to also utilize best practices around digital content both on the website and elsewhere.

You can get training through your website provider, WebAim.org, and w3.org. Some topics to make sure you include in your training are:

  • Understanding WCAG 2.0
  • Utilizing appropriate formatting
  • Authoring accessible files

3: Monitor compliance

After you designate a digital accessibility coordinator, develop a plan for new content, and provide training, the next step is to monitor compliance. Utilizing an accessibility checker is the easiest way to do this, as most will automatically scan your website and report back on potential areas of concern. Although the scanning process is automatic, your digital accessibility coordinator will need to assist in verifying results and developing a plan to fix content that has accessibility issues.

If you’re searching for an accessibility tool, consider one that provides built-in guidance to editors around accessibility guidelines as well as the ability to provide alternative versions of content. This will not only assist your editors in feeling more comfortable with achieving accessibility, it will also help the end-user feel supported in an inclusive environment.

It’s important to remember that achieving accessibility compliance is not a destination, but instead a journey. As new content is added and removed from your site, the process of checking and ensuring that content is accessible remains crucial. As editors become more comfortable with the definition of accessible content, the number of accessibility concerns will decrease, leaving you with a highly accessible and usable website. Remember, accessible content is better content. To learn more,  visit our accessibility resource center for checklists, guides, policy samples, training, and accessibility tools.

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