Web accessibility is already a topic for developers, but it is hardly spoken about in a business context. This article will briefly introduce what it is, the legal requirements, and why it is essential to start looking into it now.
What is it all about?
In a nutshell, web accessibility means that websites, tools, e-tickets, apps and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can access and use them.
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
When talking about disabilities, we are not just talking about people in a wheelchair but also about disabilities, including auditory, cognitive, speech, visual, neurological and physical conditions.
The world wide web offers a broad range of possibilities for people with disabilities; however, they need access. Inclusivity does not stop at a wheelchair ramp, diversity workshops or braille menus.
W3C, WCAG - Whaaaaat?
No, I am not trying to spill some new rhymes. Here is a short explanation of the two most used abbreviations in the web accessibility context.
W3C: The word wide web consortium is an organization that develops web standards — how everything in the web works — and takes care of the WCAG.
WCAG: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are the worldwide guidelines to enable barrier-free access to the world wide web.
There are different versions of the WCAG. The latest version is 2.2, and it is currently in the draft but ready to be published in early 2023. For more information check out their website.
Is it a legal requirement in Germany?
Not yet, but it will be on June 28th 2025.
The German authorities have yet to publish any minimum requirements. However, what we all learned from the GDPR experience in 2018, it ain't hurt to start early with the adaptions.
What are the benefits of web accessibility?
Besides being a legal requirement, following these guidelines is the right thing to do from an ethical perspective. Or, to put it in a business language, it increases ESG Proofpoint and has a positive spillover on the brand.
Staying in the business context, here are some more benefits:
- Addressing new target audiences:
- 87 million people within the EU* suffer from some disability
- Ageing society: 78% of disabled people are over the age of 55*, generation 50+ high purchasing power
- Positive effect on SEO rankings
Who is affected?
Every business within the EU, except:
- small businesses (less than ten employees and less than 2 million euro turnover)
- specific parts of the product (archive on websites, media published before June 28th 2025, …)
- if the observance would imply significant changes to the product or service offered
What needs to be done?
First and foremost, web accessibility is not a task; it is a framework that needs to be considered. Secondly, it is a cross-functional framework including designers, content managers, SEO managers, frontend developers and UX designers.
In other words, many departments within a company are involved and need to understand and consider the requirements of all designs and developments.
As establishing a new framework is not done in a day, we recommend building a cross-functional team as soon as possible to get an overview of the needed adaptions.
Several tools help you evaluate your website, app and technology from a web accessibility perspective.
Here are a few tools to be checked:
WCAG Audit Tools
- ARIA by Equal AI
- ARIA DEV Tools by Roombelt - browser extension - browser extension
- ARIA Validator for Chrome by Rick Brown - browser extension
Specific Design Tool:
A full list of all recommended tools by the W3C can be found here.
Still trying to figure out the topic?
Don't hesitate to contact us; we will help and guide you through the framework.
In case you don’t know us yet. We are a digital consultancy based in beautiful Munich, Germany and Dubai, UAE. We are specialized in frontend development, UX design and business consulting. In order words, we bring all the knowledge and people to guide you through our web accessibility journey.
Reach out to our CEO: [email protected]
This post was originally published at https://foobar.agency/blog/business-consulting/web-accessibility-what-you-need-to-know