Sub-$1,000 Web Accessibility Solution

If someone approaches you claiming they can make your web site WCAG compliant for just $1,000, they are lying to you. Granted, you may have a one-page site where the only problem is some contrast, in which case sure, $1,000 might be more than enough.

But for any web site bigger than that you need more. The problem is that some well-funded start-ups will try to sell you the no-effort quick fix.

But their own terms don’t guarantee it, it won’t protect you from a complaint, it requires code quality that gets you 99% of the way there already, and it won’t cover richer media (animations, documents, audio, or video).

The current pandemic is no protection either. In fact, your risk increases as more people move to your online presence.

The $1,000 price point is a fabrication by these overlay vendors. Their marketers are happy to create artificial comparisons against sustainable and proven approaches which may be at a scale far greater than you need.

Here are your two viable approaches as a small business:

Plan Ahead

Hire a consultant who has some experience in this space. They can help you choose a vendor who prioritizes accessibility and write this into your contracts. They can also direct you to technologies that have been vetted.

Some platforms have accessible features already. For example, WordPress offers 114 free accessibility-ready themes, built with a baseline of compliance already in place.

Add some free online resources when you create your content, and you may have all you need to get going.

There is even a free tool to generate an accessibility statement for your site, provided by the very organization that sets accessibility standards.

Too Late, You Already Have a Site

You can use one of the many free automated accessibility checkers on the market, assuming you aren’t interested in getting into the browser’s own tools. There is ARC, Axe, Lighthouse, WAVE, and Webhint, among others. While they will not catch all the issues (only about 30%), they will at least give you a sense where you stand.

Where you have gaps, document them. Identify what is wrong and put together a plan and timeline to address them. Publish it on your site when you generate an accessibility statement. As long as you honor the timelines you provide, you can choose what your ongoing budget will be to address them.

Even if it is only $1,000 per year.

2 Comments

Reply

adding https://accessibilityinsights.io/en/

MIT OSS by msft.
Have been using it for a few months now, built on top of aXe, surprisingly good.

Amit; . Permalink
In response to Amit. Reply

WebHint also uses Axe and is also from Microsoft. It pre-dates Accessibility Insights, but each offers slightly different features. Thanks for adding the link.

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