Building a website is not at all easy. It can be a bit tough to create the entire thing all by ourselves. With a whole lot of planning and accurate execution required, we need to rely on third-party vendors at some point for meeting our needs.
For instance, the vendor might have designed the entire website or it is being used or is live on its platform or you are simply using their components or templates or your content is getting managed by a vendor partially or entirely. The biggest benefit of this process is that you do not need to build everything from scratch.
But what if even after relying on third-party and paying them heftily, your website has accessibility issues? In that case, the entire responsibility will come on you. So, it’s imperative to fully evaluate your website before anything happens. Therefore, you must be asking the right questions to ensure your website is accessible to a wide range of people.
Is The Platform or The Design Accessible?
This is an important question that must be asked right away. Not everybody is familiar with the basics and importance of accessibility. Considering the fact that there are multiple websites that can’t be read by the world’s largest minorities and people with disabilities, we need to ensure our website is easily accessible for everyone.
It should have met all the specific technical requirements to suit a wide range of people.
What Are the Accessibility Standards That You Follow?
This is another important question to achieve a barrier-free website. For your website to be easily accessible by all, it must follow four basic principles:
It should be easily understandable
It should be easily perceivable
It should be easily operable
It should be robust
So, ensure your vendor has designed your website by keeping these standard guidelines in mind.
How Would You Know If You Are Meeting Those Standards?
First of all, do you have any accessibility experts in-house or you will have to outsource this well? Who is going to perform the accessibility tests and how are they going to do it? How often are you going to have the tests performed?
How will you be tracking the accessibility issues if any of them arise? How are you going to resolve those issues at the earliest? Answers to these questions will help you with the answer to the main question.
Do You Have an Accessibility Statement?
With this question, you will be clear if the vendor or the organization prioritizes accessibility and abides by the accessibility policy. They might not always have a publicly-available statement but make sure your chosen vendor thoroughly follows the accessibility guideline.
There might be scenarios where your vendor might be pretty unprepared to answer this question but this is the only approach to find out if your hiring decision is right. You will also get to know about their seriousness for accessibility and if it is not just a buzzword they use to sell more.
Who Will Be Responsible for The Accessibility of Our Website?
Web accessibility consultants believe that clarifying this question at the beginning itself will help you control further processes with ease. Will the accessibility of the website be falling under the responsibilities of the content creator or will it be assigned to the other side? Who is going to perform all the relevant accessibility testing on the new pages and the content that is coming?
How will those tests be performed and how the issues will be tracked? Who will be fixing the issues and within what timeline? Will the people involved have the right expertise to deal with the accessibility compliances?
What Is the Process If We Require Certain Modifications That Are Not Needed by Other Clients?
There can be scenarios where you might require certain modifications that aren’t requested by the vendor’s other clients. Though as an organization, your vendor might have prioritized equal access for all its customers, in case there are specific modifications required, they should have the provision for the same.
Find out what the different customization options they can offer and how the entire process will be handled if situations like these arise.
How Will You Ensure Our Website Remains Accessibility-Compliant?
Accessibility is never a one-time fix as the standards keep on changing. It is an ongoing process and you will have to keep note of things. Being accessibility-compliant in the past doesn’t mean you will remain the same in the future too. You will have to keep working on it to stay compliant.
So, talk to your vendor to understand how they are managing their own accessibility and constantly keep a check on your own website too. This must be done on a regular basis to ensure everything is flowing smoothly.
To get all your accessibility needs fulfilled in the best way, it is essential to connect with a vendor who is always ready to help you out. In this way, you will be able to achieve, maintain and prove the right digital accessibility compliance, which will eventually lead to a hike in your sales.