While the guidelines are essential for creating inclusive digital experiences, there are common mistakes that people make when applying them

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Applying WCAG Guidelines

VWB Blog 1 year ago 1

When applying WCAG guidelines, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can jeopardize the success of your project. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common mistakes made when applying the WCAG Guidelines and how to avoid them. By following these tips, you can ensure that your project meets the WCAG standards and provides a better user experience for everyone.

Not using the WCAG guidelines as a starting point

Creating a website and ensuring it meets accessibility standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) can seem overwhelming, but fortunately there are tools like the WCAG guidelines that provide an excellent starting point. It’s important to remember, however, that adhering to these guidelines is just the beginning; developers often find it necessary to go beyond what is prescribed in order to ensure a website offers everyone the same access and experience.

Failing to use the WCAG guidelines as a starting point can put development teams at risk of overlooking key accessibility features their website might need. Taking this step gives everyone involved a baseline for assessing adherence and gives developers more leverage when consolidating resources and focusing on what needs the most attention.

Applying the guidelines too narrowly

When applying the WCAG guidelines, it’s important to avoid the pitfall of focusing too narrowly on individual technologies or page elements; instead, organizations should strive to make their web content accessible to a wide range of end users.

By this, we mean considering a broad spectrum of potential access needs that may be present among visitors and tailoring the user experience so that any impairments, disabilities, or technological disadvantages are minimized. This kind of holistic approach is mandatory for ensuring that all promises of an accessible web presence are kept.

Ignoring the needs of your audience

When creating your website, it’s important to take the needs of your audience into account. Without actively considering accessibility guidelines, such as those outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), sites may end up being difficult to use for a large variety of people.

Such barriers can often be largely avoided with research and proper implementation of WCAG principles, so it’s important to do your due diligence. Ignoring WCAG recommendations can lead to decreased access by users with disabilities as well as people utilizing mobile devices or unusual browsers, which makes designing with accessibility in mind an invaluable part of any website design process.

Making assumptions about what people can and cannot do

It can be tempting to make assumptions about what people with disabilities can or cannot do, as disabilities naturally vary from person to person; however, when applying the WCAG guidelines, it is important to always err on the side of caution. Approaching accessibility from a place of inclusion rather than exclusion will not only help increase the reach and engagement of your content but also reflect positively on your organization. Avoid any WCAG errors by keeping an open mind and remembering that the guideline requirements are designed to make web content easily accessible for all users.

Not testing your content or site with real users

Every website must be tested with real end-users to make sure that it meets the accessibility standards of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Failure to do so can result in an inaccessible site or application and the exclusion of potential customers or users.

With headless ecommerce in particular, testing the user experience across different devices and operating systems can make all the difference when it comes to creating an accessible online shop for customers. Ensuring you are up-to-date on WCAG guidelines is only half of the battle; taking the time to properly test your site with real users will ensure you’re providing them with a positive shopping experience.

Relying on automatic accessibility tools without manual checking

Automated accessibility tools are a great resource when trying to adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG); however, relying on them exclusively can be problematic. Without manual checking, there is no guarantee that the guidelines are fully met and a valid pass for the content is given. It’s essential to follow up with checks for accuracy, as automated methods may lead to false positives or key elements being missed. Only through careful examination by knowledgeable professionals can a website truly be said to comply with WCAG standards and ensure usability for all users.

The WCAG guidelines are a great starting point for increasing the accessibility of your website or application. However, it is important to avoid some common mistakes when applying these guidelines. By taking care not to make these common mistakes, you can help ensure that your site or app is accessible to everyone.

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