Skip to main content

Understanding Website Accessibility and Compliance

In the age of digital technology, website accessibility has become a crucial aspect of creating inclusive online spaces. This article delves into the importance of adhering to Aceesibility standards and regulations such as the ADA, AODA, EAA, WCAG and outlining the key components and compliance information necessary for website owners and developers. 

Accessibility and Compliance Overview & Background

The ADA is a civil rights law enacted in 1990 in the United States to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. There are similar laws in Canada at the federal and province level including the Accessible Canada Act and The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA). 

When it comes to websites, ADA compliance means ensuring that digital platforms are accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities. Compliance is not just a legal requirement but also an ethical obligation to provide equal access to information.

What is the WCAG?

The WCAG was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It provides a set of guidelines to make web content more accessible. These guidelines are considered the international standard for web accessibility. They cover a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible, including principles such as perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust (POUR) content.

Accessibility Lawsuits Are Trending Up

There has been a significant rise in Accessibility-related lawsuits concerning website accessibility in recent years. These lawsuits are primarily focused on the failure of websites to comply with WCAG guidelines. Statistics show a steady increase in these lawsuits, reflecting a growing awareness and demand for digital inclusivity. The trend shows a need for businesses to proactively address accessibility to avoid legal repercussions.

Key Data and Numbers

26% of adults in the U.S. and almost 22% of Canadians have some type of disability. Surveys indicate that a significant percentage of users with disabilities encounter barriers on websites, with many reporting that they often leave a website immediately if it is not accessible. These statistics underscore the need for comprehensive strategies to enhance web accessibility.

To Summarise 

As digital technology continues to evolve, it becomes an ethical question about ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities, has equal access to the vast resources available on the internet. understanding and implementing web accessibility standards is not just a legal requirement but a step towards creating an inclusive digital world. By complying with local Accessibility regulations and the WCAG guidelines, website owners can ensure that their platforms are accessible to all users, thereby fostering a more inclusive online environment. 

The Nuts & Bolts

For Manitobans, the new regulations will require feberal and private organisations to reach a AA standard defined by the WCAG. Here is exactly how to meet those standards.


Text Alternatives:

    • Provide text alternatives for non-text content (images, videos, audio) so it can be changed into other forms like large print, braille, speech, or symbols.

Time-based Media:

    • Provide alternatives for time-based media (video and audio).
    • Include captions for all pre-recorded audio content.
    • Provide audio descriptions for all pre-recorded video content.


    • Create content that can be presented in different ways.
    • Ensure that information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text.


    • Make it easier for users to see and hear content.
    • Use color contrast ratios of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text.
    • Do not use color as the only means of conveying information.
    • Ensure text can be resized up to 200% without loss of content or functionality.


Keyboard Accessible:

    • Ensure all functionality is available from a keyboard.

Enough Time:

    • Provide users enough time to read and use content. Provide the ability to turn off, adjust, or extend the time limits.

Seizures and Physical Reactions:

    • Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures or physical reactions.


    • Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
    • Include clear titles, headings, and labels.
    • Offer multiple ways to find pages.
    • Ensure keyboard focus is visible and predictable.



    • Make text content readable and understandable.
    • Use plain language and avoid jargon where possible.


    • Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
    • Maintain consistent navigation and identification of elements.

Input Assistance:

    • Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
    • Provide error identification, descriptions of errors, and suggestions for correction.



    • Ensure content is compatible with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
    • Use valid HTML and ARIA roles where appropriate.

Testing and Validation:

  • Regularly test your website with a combination of automated tools and manual testing.
  • Involve users with disabilities in testing and feedback sessions.
  • Validate HTML and CSS to ensure they are error-free.


Meeting the WCAG 2.1 AA standard is a continual process. It requires regular website auditing, updating content and design practices, and staying informed about new guidelines and technologies in web accessibility. Many regulations are complaint-based so the more you can adhere to the standard the less chance you have of a complaint or legal issue.