How often do you review your website to ensure that it is compliant with accessibility standards? With so many different people using your website in a variety of browsers and devices, being accessible and complaint isn’t just the nice thing to do for your users, it’s the right, and often legal thing to do.
If you’ve never before reviewed or audited your website’s accessibility, you’re in the right place. Today we’ll start by dissecting two key areas where websites often fail to follow best practices or even fall out of compliance: ADA and PCI.
In the United States alone, 12.6% of noninstitutionalized people report having a disability. Representing a significant portion of our population, it’s easy to see why accessibility is important. However, even if that number was smaller, ensuring accessibility for individuals with disabilities should be a priority to avoid discrimination of any kind.
In an effort to build an accessible world, it’s easy to limit these disabled individuals’ experiences and needs to the physical world. But these people are also going online with the expectation that they’ll be able to access the same resources, services, and products that individuals without disabilities access. That’s where the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) comes in.
Although the ADA doesn’t directly mention websites, best practice (and legal consensus) follows that the ADA extends to the websites of any business or brand it impacts. As a brand offering an experience to users, it’s in your best interest to make that experience accessible to all of your users, especially if they have a disability such as loss of vision or hearing. Here are a few aspects of website accessibility to consider:
- Did you include captions on your videos?
- Do all of your images have informative alt text for screen readers?
- Are your fonts easy to read when enlarged?
- Do the colors of your site have good contrast?
Another important part of website accessibility is PCI compliance. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCI DDS, applies to any company who processes payments via their website for any reason. It serves to protect consumers, their data, and their privacy as they buy your products and resources. Here are key questions to consider as you evaluate your level of PCI compliance:
- Whether you own your own servers or utilize outsourced servers, is routine maintenance, including anti-virus updates, being conducted?
- How well do you maintain your firewall configuration?
- What customer data are you storing (sensitive information like PIN codes should never be stored following authentication)? Is your data storage secure?
- Review team member access to cardholder data. Are there people who have access that don’t need it? Limit access to decrease security breaches. You should also track all access to be able to pinpoint the origin should a breach ever occur.
- When did you last test all your systems? Regular testing helps ensure that security measures are up-to-date and working properly.
Ensuring the accessibility and compliance of your website keeps you in good standing with both the law and your users. Whether you have a brand new website or an older one that’s due for a refresh, take the time to review your website to see if you’re following best practices.
If you find yourself needing an expert to help you along, we’re ready to step in. Our team is well-versed in compliance and accessibility and can help analyze your website, locate opportunities for improvement, and develop a plan of action for implementing change.
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