This article is written as part of our Accessible Web Content series.

What is an accessibility statement?

Before we dive into the statements, web accessibility, as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) says that “Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them.”

Web accessibility statements are generally a page of content that links from the footer of a website. It outlines the accessibility standards for the website, included or excluded features, as well as contact information. 

Accessibility standards (at least here in Canada) are based on the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. At Manoverboard we test our sites based on version 2.1, which is the most current, non-draft version. 

Why is an accessibility statement important?

There are so many great reasons!

  • It helps disabled people, those around them, and educators (amongst many others) quickly figure out if they are going to be able to use a website or bookmark it as a resource. 
  • It shows your organization’s commitment to access. After spending time ensuring that many different parts of your site meet a level of accessibility standards, it’s nice to have somewhere to let people know!
  • It provides clarity around the level of accessibility that should be met when maintaining content on the website or making other upgrades. As your organization grows and changes, an accessibility statement is a useful reference point for both current and new employees. 
  • It can be part of a larger accessibility plan, to make clear intentions in working on new features, functionality, or content to meet a higher standard. The statement might also correlate with other accessibility initiatives within your organization.
  • It’s a legal requirement. Some countries or regions havelaws regarding website accessibility. This is largely dependent on which sector your organization serves, but we’re seeing this come up more frequently.

What should accessibility statements include? 

The page can include a variety of information, and it can be long, or short, depending on the nature of the website, and your organization. W3C has a great page outlining the information to include in an accessibility statement.

It’s important that an accessibility statement includes contact information, specifically for concerns, feedback and issues with the website. Being open and willing to receive feedback to improve your website for disabled visitors, and listening to them, is a great way to be a good neighbour on the web. 

For reference, here are a few examples of accessibility statements by Manoverboard and fellow B Corps. :)

If you have any questions about writing an accessibility statement or creating an accessible website, please reach out to us.