As a creative marketing agency, it’s important to lead our clients and community by example. That’s why we’ve created a blog series that focuses on the importance of AODA website compliance for companies in Ontario. With this series, our goal is to help Ontario businesses identify their AODA readiness and become fully AODA compliant with their website and online content.

In our final part of our AODA Website compliance series, we’re sharing some basic tips to help you make a website accessible and AODA compliant. Let’s begin! 

Compliance Starts With Your Website Design

When turning your existing website into an AODA Compliant and fully accessible website, the first step is to scale it back and think about the design of your website. Design is a large portion of AODA compliance. You need to ensure your designs are accessible to all users. While it does require a lot of attention to detail and know-how from a designer to achieve this, here are some of the main points to address when designing a website for AODA compliance: 

  • Website fonts should meet a minimum readability requirement of 14px for those who might be visually impaired
  • Website fonts should score high on a readability scale. Fonts that are sans serif work best. Avoid any overly decorative fonts. 
  • Colour contrast across the site needs to be greater than 4:5:1 so those with visual impairments can see

Compliance is Finished with your Website Development

Now, let’s say the user of your website needs assistive technology to understand the information that is on the site. This can be due to blindness, a hearing impairment or motor skills impairment. How a developer codes your site, makes a big difference in its usability. 

The back end of your site (where all the code is) will need to be written cleanly so someone who relies on assistive technology can also understand your website’s purpose. The developer of the site should be someone who is familiar with the code markup and can address things like:

  • Adding appropriate header tags and titles
  • Using a proper heading structure 
  • Adding in a Skip to Content button and keyboard navigation through the site
  • Using semantic HTML to create elements that are purposeful 
  • Having alternative text for images 
  • Ensuring link text is descriptive of the information a reader is looking for 

Checking Your Website’s Compliance

The final step in making a website AODA compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA standards, is a thorough check of the website design and code. This involves some manual checks from the designer and the developer involved, but it can also be helpful to have team members not-as-ingrained in the details of the project to give it a check over too. 

There are also design tools, web development tools, and AODA tools that can scan the completed website to pick up on any components that might be missing to meet compliance. These are helpful to itemize the problems on the site and provide solutions in how to fix them. 

What’s Next for AODA Compliance?

Although we’re sharing what seems like many guidelines, there are many more rules surrounding web compliance that goes beyond these basic elements. It’s important to work through AODA requirements and do tests and checks throughout the process of website design. Keep in mind that most websites are not 100% perfect when it comes to accessibility, but the goal is to have it as close as possible and have a plan to resolve what might be an outstanding issue over time. Also, as technology changes and there are different practices for web design and web development, the way rules are applied might change. At 9dot Digital, our designers and developers are always tuned in to best practices so we can maintain the accessibility levels on our clients’ websites. 

If you’re ready to get started on making your website accessible, check out our design services and website development services. Have more questions on AODA and compliance? Contact us and let us help!