Over a billion people cannot access digital content because developers and content creators fail to keep web accessibility in mind. These standards ensure assistive devices can work on the site, such as refreshable braille displays, speech-generating devices, eye-gaze control systems, and brain computer interface (BCI) systems.
To help illustrate the magnitude of the issue, we recently analyzed all Fortune 100 career sites based on six of the most common WCAG 2.0 standards. The results were staggering.
First, what is WCAG 2.0?
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international organization that develops web standards to build rich interactive experiences, created testable criteria to help developers determine if their sites are easily accessible for people with disabilities. These standards are measured through a “stable, reference-able, technical standard” called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). In 2008, the consortium upgraded the guidelines for more futureproof web development, which became WCAG 2.0.
There are 12 standards in total, but the study focused on the 6 most common ones.
The 6 Most Common WCAG 2.0 Standards
Color Contrasting (1.4.3) - Text color on top of backdrops or images must be a ratio of at least 4.5 to 1. This excludes large headings, incidental text, and logos. Alt Text for Links and Images (1.1.1) - Text that describes image content so that it can be translated into print, braille, speech, or other forms. Resize Font (1.4.4) - Text that can be resized up to 200% of its original size without assistive technology. This excludes image captions. Keyboard Only Navigation (2.1.1) - Websites should be able to be navigated via keyboard with no use of mouse or mouse pad at any keystroke pace. Focus Indicators (2.4.7) - Indicators highlight the web content users are interacting with and enable site navigation via the keyboard. Using Tables (1.3.1) - Tables’ structure and information should have text descriptions so that it can be translated into print, braille, speech, or other forms.
Phenom Career Site Accessibility Study: The Results
Phenom People’s Fortune 100 career site accessibility study was conducted in August 2019. Here are the most surprising results:
89 companies failed at least one standard
46 companies failed three or more standards
Only 11 companies met all six standards
Drilling down into each WCAG criteria revealed that::
- 65 companies did not meet color contrast standards (WCAG 1.4.3)
- 55 companies did not meet table standards (WCAG 1.3.1)
- 39 companies did not meet alternative text standards (WCAG 1.1.1)
- 33 companies did not meet resize text standards (WCAG 1.4.4)
- 27 companies did not meet focus indicator standards (WCAG 2.4.7)
- 4 companies did not meet keyboard navigation standards (WCAG 2.1.1)
Digital accessibility lawsuits are on the rise—up 177% within the past year. When career sites are not accessible, companies also face further discrimination issues. That means businesses need to factor in digital accessibility now, or face the consequences.
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