Ensuring Equal Access: A Guide to Web Accessibility Consulting
The World Health Organization reports that around 16% of people on our planet have disabilities. So once your website content is available to everyone, you ensure equal access and embrace larger audiences. Below, we share how a web accessibility consultant can help your business grow. Also, you’ll learn how to hire this professional promptly and cost-effectively.
Web Accessibility Consulting at a Glance
The statistics above say that each sixth potential visitor of your website can have low vision, hearing loss, cognitive disabilities, or other physical limitations. This number is even greater (27%) in the US. So when you include text descriptions to visuals, add color contrast and font enlarging features, enable keyboard navigation, etc., you share your message with everyone.
However, maintaining the accessibility of your web and mobile apps requires a professional touch. Disability access consultants make this possible by running audits of web resources and giving recommendations on optimizing them. Web accessibility specialists test your app or website. They also arrange training to help your team raise awareness of digital inclusion.
The US and EU Legislation
In the US, governmental, educational, and commercial organizations are obliged to have accessible websites. Non-compliance to laws can result in lawsuits. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Act-168A-7, Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) are the fundamental guidelines and laws governing web accessibility. So having an inclusive web design is more than just an ethical issue.
In Europe, the European Accessibility Act (EEA) sets equal-access requirements to web pages offering certain products and services. Among them are computers, smartphones, ATMs, ticketing machines, etc. Services include e-commerce, banking, phone, transport, and others. Though EU-based businesses with up to 10 employees may not follow the EAA requirements, they’re encouraged to.
Boosting Your Business with Web Accessibility Consultants
Making your web resources reachable for disabled people doesn’t imply expenditures alone. Yes, you’ll need to hire full stack web developer and a digital accessibility consultant. These specialists will ensure that interactive elements like URLs, widgets, CTAs, forms, drop-down menus, etc., work for every website visitor. Also, a consultant will help you stay compliant with the existing web accessibility laws.
On the other hand, accessibility features add vision-impaired, hard-of-hearing, and other disabled users to your audience. This way, you improve customer experience, grow buyers’ loyalty to your company, and level up your brand’s reputation. As a result, you gain more buyers and get higher profits. That’s how digital accessibility consulting can boost your business.
Web Accessibility Regulations and WCAG Consulting
There exist internationally adopted documents that clarify how to make web content inclusive. They’re worked out by an American entity W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), in collaboration with the European Commission and other organizations worldwide. And the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines include criteria for approachable web content.
W3C published the first version of the WCAG in 2008 with the reference 2.0. The 2.1 version followed in 2018, while the release of the WCAG 2.2 should happen by October 2023. Each following document includes previous-edition standards, and its 12-13 guidelines are classified according to the 4 principles. Guidelines have success criteria ranging into 3 levels. So you’ll need a WCAG consultant to sort out all the documentation.
4 WCAG Principles for an Accessible Website
Your website has to meet the four WCAG criteria (abbreviated as POUR) to be friendly to users with disabilities:
Each visitor, regardless of vision, hearing, or other difficulties, should be able to read or hear the information on your web page or mobile app.
Users need to have access to all interface elements and sections. They should be able to navigate website components using a mouse, keyboard, or voice assistant.
Your web content should be comprehensible for people with cognitive impairments and foreigners. Also, it must have a straightforward and intuitive structure.
Your web visitors must be able to process the content with various assistive technology tools. So users can freely choose the software for understanding texts, videos, audio, and diverse functionalities.
At first glance, WCAG criteria look simple, but applying them requires skills and experience. In addition, W3C has technical specifications called Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA). So you’ll definitely need to hire a WCAG developer to make it all work for your web resources.
How Web Accessibility Consultancy Works: Use Cases
Top-notch web accessibility consultants help disabled people live a full life. WCAG specialists help users with limitations benefit from features we enjoy in our everyday life. Here are a couple of real-life examples of how web accessibility experts make digital inclusion work.
This media and entertainment streaming service offers multiple accessibility features. So users with mobility, vision, or hearing limitations can watch movies, TV series, anime, etc., along with other users. It’s compatible with various assistive listening systems, screen readers, and voice assistants.
Watchers with sight limitations can enable audio descriptions, while those with hearing concerns can enable closed captions and subtitles. These features describe side sounds, giving more context to the scenes. Low-vision film lovers also can control the stream’s brightness, font size, background color, shadow, and playback speed.
Amazon makes buying experience possible for everyone, no matter their disabilities. Users can customize font size and contrast levels to navigate the web and mobile apps better. Text-to-speech functionality and voice-enabled commands allow shoppers to understand the content and perform relevant actions.
Amazon tries to help all its website visitors enjoy their shopping experiences. The e-commerce giant even offers real-time customer support for disabled users so they get assistance while navigating. Users with vision, hearing, or moving limitations can also use specialized hardware for effective interaction.
3 Reasons for Investing in Website Accessibility Consulting
Improving website accessibility means keeping your web pages up-to-date with technologies. This way, users can display your content in different operating systems and on various platforms and devices. But apart from legal compliance and ethics, is investing in digital accessibility worth it? We say yes, and that’s why.
- Larger audience
Web accessibility helps you not to lose every fourth potential customer. Accessible content will additionally attract visitors with limitations. You’ll get new leads once they find your product or services helpful. Moreover, you can grow the number of non-disabled users of your website with created-for-disabled features like captions or auto-completion.
- Better SEO
Inclusive web design assumes adding text descriptions of images (alt text), structuring your content, and making it more understandable. These improvements also increase the rating of your web pages for search engines. So potentially hiring an accessibility design consultant will boost your SEO.
- Improved brand image
Incorporating inclusive web functions demonstrates your company’s respect for people with disabilities. It proves you give every visitor equal chances to leverage your offer and give feedback. Such messages appeal to large audiences and motivate them to become loyal to your brand.
Accessibility Consulting Services You Can Get
Below are the essential services you can get from a web accessibility consulting company.
- Web accessibility audits. Such audits assess your web resources and check if they’re available for users with disabilities. The results will show if your web properties comply with WCAG and ADA. You’ll also get recommendations on how to improve accessibility.
- Web accessibility design. Great UX is about comfortable font size, good contrast, and easy-to-read line length. It also assumes users see widgets, clickable links, animations, error messages, and more. And professional web accessibility designers will ensure people with disabilities will navigate your websites as other users.
- Web accessibility training. Growing your team’s accessibility experience is vital. And WCAG experts will craft courses depending on your web asset, team requirements, and audit recommendations. You’ll get customized solutions with the necessary tech details for different trainee groups.
- Web accessibility testing. Dedicated professionals will help you evaluate your website’s compliance with the existing web accessibility standards. These include WCAG, ADA, the US Rehabilitation Act, the European Accessibility Standard, etc.
- Web accessibility design analysis. Consulting web accessibility probably starts with analyzing your web page design. Are links quickly identifiable and menus accessible? Do videos have buttons? Is the website structure logical, and are the visuals in sync with the text? Web accessibility design analysis will give the answers.
Selecting Web Accessibility Consulting Firms
When it comes to digital accessibility consultancy, finding your ideal partner is vital. And searching isn’t easy whether you need a specialist for a few months or long term. Especially when you consider hiring specialists from other countries or continents. We’ve highlighted several criteria to help you pick the best web accessibility consulting vendors.
Key Attributes of a Reliable Partner
Once you identify the ideal location for your future website accessibility consultant, range the companies according to the following requirements:
- Having 3+ years of experience. Whether you plan to get a turnkey solution or outsource a team of professionals, check when this service provider started working. We believe that 3 years on the market is a fair minimum. During this period, a software development or outsourcing company can learn the niche, work out approaches to various tasks, and set up processes.
- Sharing relevant case studies. No professional WCAG 2.0 consulting firm can do without reviews and case studies. Exploring how a company approaches specific tasks, uses resources, and manages deadlines is essential. Read about the vendor’s solutions and check how this company resolves similar issues. This will give you an idea of how they’ll organize your workflow.
- Boasting effective communication. Which communication channels does your potential partner use? Is it a secured corporate messenger, an all-in-one productivity platform, or only emails? Make sure your partners will promptly respond to your queries, regularly deliver results, and be attentive to your feedback. Explore how effectively they cooperate by checking reviews or even contacting their existing or former clients.
- Offering optimized timelines. The service delivery term is as critical as its quality. So find out how much time your potential partners allow to learn your requirements, check competitors, draft road maps, or build your web accessibility team. Ask how they set deadlines and give reasons for extending them in case of necessity. Discover real terms from case studies and check if they work for your project timelines.
Your Web Accessibility Consultant Salary
The criteria mentioned above are essential for choosing your best partner. Still, the salary of your WCAG consultant remains one of the main arguments. Below we share the approximate hourly rates of web accessibility specialists in several countries.
*Ukrainian salaries are provided based on Mobilunity’s Recruitment Team research on the local job markets. All salaries are net and do not include the service fee (in case of hiring on a dedicated team model). The salaries are provided for comparison purposes and could be not entirely accurate. Contact us to know the exact cost of hiring a developer corresponding to the required parameters.
The US-based consultants have the highest rate. At the same time, in the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands, WCAG specialists get nearly the same remuneration. Hiring web accessibility developers from Ukraine looks more attractive due to the country’s lower living index.
Web Accessibility Consulting & Services from Mobilunity
40+ clients have chosen Mobilunity as their outsourcing provider. Canadian FinExpert, Dutch Byg-E, Swiss Network of Arts, and Israeli XPLG are among them. FinTech, InsurTech, e-commerce, data analytics, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and Social Media Management are only some industries we work for. And below are four reasons customers choose Mobilunity:
- 12+ years of experience. Our company is proud to have over a decade of experience and 200+ professionals on board. These employees helped us find loyal clients from 15+ countries. With top experts, we constantly improve our recruiting approaches, review cooperation terms, and keep our service quality high.
- 15% lower costs. We hire talents from Ukraine — one of the top IT hubs in the world. And hundreds of international companies prefer working with Ukrainian developers because it’s cost-effective. In Ukraine, salaries are lower because of the lower cost of living. So we help you save up to 15% of the costs for your web accessibility project.
- 3-6 weeks for recruiting. We can find you a WCAG compliance consultant within just a few weeks. Our recruiters have vast professional networks, use advanced tools, and apply successful approaches to candidate search. They create and regularly update lists of relevant specialists ready to join your projects, which allows us to build teams quickly.
- Flexible cooperation models. Our experience proves that cooperation flexibility is beneficial for both parties. For you, this means the possibility to pick the solution ideal for your needs and budget. For us, this means gaining new experience and growing our portfolio. We offer two models for hiring a WCAG consultant web accessibility expert or a disability access specialist.
Dedicated Expert Teams
When you run a large WCAG-compliance project or plan to improve your website’s accessibility regularly, you’ll need a team of professionals. And we’re ready to assemble it for you. We’ll immediately discuss your needs and initiate searching for candidates, equipping your team with top experts ready to work. You’ll only settle an invoice each month, while our managers will handle organizational issues.
This cooperation plan is excellent for short-time or small projects. We agree on your web accessibility consultant hourly rate and approximate workload. You get a dedicated team member for a few hours a day and pay a monthly invoice. However, once you decide to grow the number of working hours, feel free to let us know. So switching to a full-time schedule or adding more digital accessibility experts to your team is always possible.
3 More Benefits of Working with Us
We have the expertise and resources to hire web accessibility consultants quickly, cost-effectively, and with your minimal involvement. However, here are a few more advantages you get when partnering with us.
- You outsource administrative tasks to us. We understand that staying focused on milestones is critical for a project manager. And we’re glad to help you by taking on the organizational tasks. These include calculating salaries, arranging payments, submitting tax reports, and formalizing documents with private entrepreneurs. Our team also handles office rent and equipment purchases.
- Your team members will speak English well. Straightforward communication is vital for remote teams. Most tech squads adopt English for their in-team conversations and correspondence. So one of our requirements for all our candidates is to have at least the B1 level of English. This way, we ensure your web accessibility consultant will be able to express ideas and understand other project members.
- You’ll have 80-100% of shared working hours with your team. When you hire overseas software web developers or accessibility design consultants, you need to stay in sync with them. Instant-communication tools cover only part of this need, while shared business hours embrace the other. Since we hire Ukraine-based specialists, your remote team will only be one hour ahead of EU time. The US partners will also have a few hours of difference with their teams.