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By Liz Kovalchuk Aug 7, 2018

The AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) applies to web development and we at Simplistics are proud that all of our websites are WCAG level 2.0.

About AODA, WCAG and ARIA

AODA

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law on June 13th, 2005. This legislation ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to the necessities of society. By January 1, 2021, all internet websites must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

WCAG

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the recommendations written by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). W3C is the organization that creates HTML and CSS standards.

ARIA

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA for short) is a detailed description published by W3C that describes how to increase the accessibility of dynamic web pages that use technologies such as Ajax, JavaScript, and similar technologies. Developers often include ARIA attributes to HTML elements in order to ensure that dynamic pages are accessible.

What Makes a Website Accessible

Here is a quick list of the bare necessities which any web developer in Toronto can help you with:

  • Your code needs to semantic, meaning that HTML elements need to correctly represent the website’s content.
  • Images need alt tags.
  • Links need appropriate and descriptive names.
  • Colours need to have enough contrast for persons with colour blindness.
  • Forms in particular need correct labels and input HTML elements.
  • Use appropriate ARIA tags when content is dynamic.

Why We Care

In this day and age, having access to the internet and its content has become a necessity. For example, rent signs have become a thing of the past and many job applications are completely online. People who are disabled should not have to deal with more obstacles.

Furthermore, making websites accessible helps everyone, not just people with disabilities. It is similar to the famous Curb Effect Phenomena, where a policy aimed to help people in wheelchairs inadvertently benefited everyone in society. Adding a curb on sidewalks for people in wheelchairs helps anyone pulling a suitcases on wheels, any person pushing their baby in a stroller, every cyclists, every person making deliveries with dollies, and many others.

The curb effect holds true in web development as well. For example, videos with captions are great in situations where sound needs to be muted. Or how keyboard navigation can be much more efficient than using a mouse.

We all benefit when we make our websites accessible. Making websites accessible is never a burden or an afterthought at Simplistics, it is a source of joy knowing that it makes the world a better place.