Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Principle #1: Perceivable

December 10, 2021
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WCAG 2.0 Guidelines for Website Accessibility

In the years since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), companies have been striving to make their websites more accessible. 

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were released to help websites meet the needs of people with disabilities. 

While these guidelines were a good starting point, they were somewhat limited in scope. WCAG 2.0 has recently become the standard rubric for websites to follow to ensure that they are accessible to all visitors. 

While WCAG 2.0 has not yet been officially approved by the Department of Justice, it is already in widespread use. Read on to learn more about WCAG 2.0 and its importance for law firm website design 

The Four Principles of WCAG 2.0

WCAG 2.0 is built around four principles. The four principles of WCAG 2.0 are perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust, or “POUR.”

“Perceivable” refers to accessibility for vision-impaired people.

 Operable covers accessibility for people who cannot use a keyboard or mouse and people who have seizures or reading disabilities. 

“Understandable” relates to accessibility for people who have cognitive disabilities. 

Finally, “robust” supports compatibility with assistive technologies like screen readers. 

This article is about the first principle, “perceivable,” and how law firm websites can incorporate this principle into their web design.  

WCAG 2.0 Principle #1: Perceivable

Text Alternatives

It is important that your website provide alternatives to non-text content. For example, you could provide text that describes a picture on your website. This would allow a screen reader to read the text out loud to a vision-impaired person. 

Time-Based Media

Your website should take steps to ensure that time-based media such as live or recorded audio or video is accessible. 

One way that you can do so is to provide captions to all video material on your site.

 Also, you should provide a written transcript for both audio and video content. This allows people to go through the content at their own pace and to use a screen reader if need be.

Adaptable

You should make your website adaptable so that people can consume it on different screen sizes and when using a screen magnifying tool. 

Thankfully, most websites these days are already configured to work well with both desktop computers and mobile devices. It is also common for web browsers to include a screen magnifying tool that preserves a site’s original format.

Distinguishable

It is very important that the content on your site be distinguishable for vision-impaired and hearing-impaired people. You should separate different sections of content with outlines, rather than just using color. You should also not have two types of audio-visual content playing at once, as this can be disorienting for people using a screen reader.

There are many people with various forms of color blindness, so you should be aware of your website’s color contrast ratio. The color contrast ratio should be at least 4.5:1. You should also make sure to use ADA compliant colors, including limiting your usage of red and green.

A Law Firm-Focused Web Design Company Can Ensure ADA Compliance

If you’re asking yourself ‘Is my website ADA compliant?’, it’s best to get an answer from a firm that specializes in ADA-compliant law firm website design. Law Firm Sites focuses on custom web design for lawyers. We have experience with large firms and with small law firm website design. Contact us today to learn more about our ADA-compliant web design services for law firms big and small.

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Emma Carpenter