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Overview of Web Accessibility Standards

Should you be worrying about proactively making your website accessible to people with disabilities? Besides the goodwill that comes with being an inclusive company there may also be legal advantages to making your website accessibility compliant. Web Accessibility involves ensuring the format, structure, navigation, visuals, and written content of your website are free of barriers. 

Background Information on Web Accesibility

The province of Manitoba is committed to making Manitoba more accesible for everyone and aims to make significant progress by 2023. The Accesibility for Manitobans (AMA) act came into law in 2013 and it focuses on promoting a proactive and systemic approach to identifying, preventing and removing barriers to accesibility.

Accesibility regulations focus on 5 key areas 

  1. The customer service standard – business practices and training requirements to provide better customer service to people with disabilities. It is now law.
  2. Employment standard – remove and prevent barriers that affect current and potential members of Manitoba’s labour force
  3. The built environment
  4. Access to information and Communications – policies, practices and other requirements for the identification and removal of barriers with respect to information and communication for persons with a range of disabilities. 
  5. Prescribed activities 
 A barrier is anything that interacts with a disability in a way that may hinder the person’s full and effective participation in society on an equal basis. 
 

What does making a website Accessible Involve

Creating digital documents with accessibility features, for example, using headings and captions to describe images, such as photographs, text boxes or charts. Design factors such as font size, color contrast between text and backgrounds, layout and spacing and verbiage used contribute to accessibility compliance.

 

What other materials should you consider making accessible

 

Summary

According to Statistics Canada, nearly 1 in 6 Manitobans has a disability. By focusing on your website’s level of accessibility, you’ll enhance user experience (UX) for every one of your visitors, including those with disabilities or limitations who land on your site. You’ll show your visitors, leads, and customers that you value and care about them as individuals — and in return, this type of investment will boost your brand loyalty and advocacy. 

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