What is an Accessibility Statement
What they are, and why your site needs one.
As the name implies, an accessibility statement is a statement from your business/company/organization that lets users know:
- You care about accessibility and about accommodating all users
- Any relevant information about the accessibility of your site’s content and functions
- You are committed to both being socially responsible and developing sites or applications that meet the needs of all users
Your accessibility statement reflects organizational policies, goals, achievements, and further plans to create and maintain an accessible site, app, or digital tool. The statement also gives website visitors an easy-to-find resource that includes contact information for accessibility issues.
Where to start
Like any accessibility project, outlining your plan is a useful first step. Too often we have seen accessibility statements that are either too short or have been coded incorrectly and cannot be read by screen readers – which defeats the purpose of creating the statement and making it available to users.
The outline contained here is designed to be a starting point for your accessibility statement planning. Depending on your site/tool/app or organization, you may find that there are additional areas you would like to include. Feel free to add to the steps and sections below to better reflect specifics that are relevant to you.
- Define your scope
Obviously, the goal of your accessibility efforts is to provide a useful and compliant site for everyone. But the scope of your accessibility statement and efforts can often go beyond the site or app under your control. What other elements will be accessible? For example:
- Any and all third-party content found on your website?
- Any vendor pages/sites/tools that you link to?
- Will all of your sites/apps be accessible, or only certain ones?
- What level of conformance/compliance are you working toward? (Be sure to include or link to the relevant accessibility standard, like Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1).
- What technology are you using? This may include automated testing tools that you regularly employ for auditing/monitoring, as well as assistive technologies you are currently using or planning to implement in the future.
- What browser versions are or have been tested for compliance and compatibility?
- Are there any areas where the accessibility standards are not yet met, such as videos not having captions, navigation issues, etc.?
If a user does run into any accessibility issues with your site or app/tool, what individual or department can they contact to alert you to the matter? Be sure to include:
- Email and phone contact information for accessibility issues
- Typical response times
This information further demonstrates to users that you are committed to meeting or exceeding accessibility standards, while also providing a standard outline or timetable for continued improvements. This section should include:
- How often your site will be tested
- Whether you will engage a third-party firm or auditor to confirm compliance test results
- When the results of these audits will be published or otherwise made available
Like any other page on your site, as you work toward ADA compliance, the accessibility statement page must also be designed to be compliant for any and all users. We have performed several audits where the accessibility statement page itself was not compliant with minimum requirements and therefore failed the testing. For your accessibility statement, you should:
- Test your statement to the same accessibility standard that you will apply to the rest of the site or application
- Double check that any and all links/content can be read with a screen reader
- Ensure that any images on the page (if included) have adequate descriptions provided
Accessibility Statement Example
Below is a sample version of a basic accessibility statement that aims to include much of the information described above. While this is generic, it should give you an idea of where to start when developing one of these statements for your organization.
[Organization name] is committed to ensuring the accessibility of its website and intranet to people with disabilities. New and updated web content produced by our organization will meet [link to standard] [version number], [level of conformance], by [compliance date]. In addition, existing web content produced by our organization will meet our standard by [existing content compliance date].
Content provided for our site by third-party developers will meet [third-party content standard] [version number] by [third-party content compliance date]. This [does/does not] include user-generated content.
We aim to ensure that our authoring tools and processes meet [authoring tools standard] [version number] by [authoring tools compliance date]. By [preferential purchasing date] we will preferentially purchase authoring tools that meet or exceed our web accessibility policy.
We will review this policy [review period] on or before the [policy review date]. This policy was last reviewed on [last review date], by [reviewer].
We welcome your feedback on the accessibility of [Organization]. To let us know of any accessibility issues you encounter, please contact us at:
Phone: +1 (000) 123-4567
Postal address: PO Box 00, 321 Any St., [City, State, ZIP]
We try to respond to feedback within 1 business day.