AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) Web Accessibility

Woman pushing a wheelchair with a man sitting in it

AODA Web Accessibility in a Nutshell

Those of you who live in Ontario might be familiar with the AODA - Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. In essence, AODA is a regulation placed on businesses and organizations to create an inclusive space for people with disabilities. This regulation also applies within the web platform as well, in the form of AODA web accessibility standard.

Who It Affects

By January 1st 2021, websites that meet the following criteria must convert their website to be compliant with the web accessibility standard described in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA:
  • Private or public organizations that have more than 50 employees
  • Any organization that belongs in the public sector

What Changes To Expect

WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines is largely grouped into 4 categories:
  • Perceivable
    • You should provide text content for important non-text contents (images and icons).
    • Text should be distinguishable from the background.
    • Provide alternatives to time-based media.
  • Operable
    • Make your website usable with key presses, not just with a mouse and clicking.
    • If your website has time based elements, ensure that you provide enough time for your audience to be able to read the content.
    • Don't design something in a way that can cause seizures.
    • Provide easy-to-spot navigation for your website.
  • Understandable
    • Make content readable and understandable.
    • Make your web interfaces so that a user can predict how it works.
    • Help users avoid mistakes, as well as allow them to correct those mistakes if it happens.
  • Robust
    • Build the website in a fool-proof way, so as to make it easy to integrate with existing, as well as future assistive technologies.

How Do You Know If You're Not Meeting The Standard

  • Navigate your website using existing assistive technologies and see if you notice any major problems.
  • User testing and receiving feedback.
  • Use online accessibility checkers.
    • AODA recommends this following tool: AChecker.
  • When in doubt, consult a web developer to conduct an audit for your site to see if it meets the WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines.

Final Thoughts

From the regulation standpoint, AODA web accessibility only affects companies that meet a specific criteria. However, if you are building a website, we encourage you to consider building your website with accessibility in mind anyway. This is because having an accessible website will help you get more clients - if your website is easy to use, people will choose your service over others. It's a win-win situation. Not every web developer out there are familiar with the AODA web accessibility guidelines - when you are in search for a web developer, make sure you ask them if they are aware of the AODA regulation or WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines. Get them to explain how they plan on meeting this regulation. And consider working with Axess Creative - we specialize in building websites that meet the AODA web accessibility standards!

Sources