Your community leadership has pledged to serve its voters and provide a safe, livable home for all its residents. To accomplish this vital task, local governments must provide equitable access to resources, tools, programs, facilities, and—yes—even digital content. The Section 508 Refresh of the Americans with Disability Act offers valuable guidelines for local governments to ensure all their digital communications, and especially their local government website, can be consumable by users with a variety of visual, auditory, and physical disabilities and that require the use of assistive technology in order to engage with digital content.
Building a local government website that is compliant with WCAG 2.0 A and AA guidelines is a first, critical step toward ensuring digital accessibility, but maintaining ongoing compliance requires a perpetual strategy that must be adhered to by all content creators, editors, and publishers. It means every staff member with access to your local government content management system must understand the fundamental best practices of building accessible content, such as adding alt tags and captions to photos and ensuring all page text meets sufficient resolution standards. It means training and refresher training, and training new hires, and training on system updates and new standards.
Local government websites typically include hundreds of pages of content that are updated as frequently as daily with news, information, videos, and photos, often by a team of staff members located in different departments with various levels of technical training. WCAG 2.0 includes over 60 pieces of A and AA criteria that require ongoing compliance. If you were to manually validate compliance with each of those pieces of criteria, how long would you anticipate that it will take your municipality to verify each of the 60 criteria for each page of your current website? We’ll tell you the answer: An amount of time you and your staff do not have.
To remain ADA compliant, every time a staff member in a department adds, edits, or deletes a page, an expert will need to recheck it against the list of WCAG criteria. To ensure continual ADA compliance as your website evolves, how much of your time will you need to dedicate to hypervigilant digital content accessibility assessment and optimization?
Imagine if technology existed to help automate some of the baseline WCAG 2.0 A and AA requirements and flag content that does not meet the highest standards.
The Benefits of Automated Accessibility
Automated remediation software is the latest advancement in digital technology that is helping local governments better serve their citizens. Automated remediation software monitors websites as they grow, automatically fixing issues to ensure accessibility compliance using a range of assistive technology.
CivicPlus® and AudioEye: Enabling Continuous Accessibility for Local Government
CivicPlus, the integrated technology platform for local government, has partnered with AudioEye, Inc. to provide enhanced ADA-related digital accessibility capabilities to its local government website design clients. AudioEye offers industry-leading software that enables public and private sector entities to make their content more consumable through technology. The AudioEye technology platform monitors websites as they grow, automatically fixing issues to ensure accessibility to individuals using a range of assistive technology. CivicPlus has chosen to partner with AudioEye to enhance its commitment to ensuring its civic websites maintain the highest possible accessibility compliance standards.
The partnership between CivicPlus and AudioEye puts the full breadth and depth of AudioEye solutions at the disposal of the CivicPlus design and development teams seeking to conform with the informative guidance supplied through WCAG 2.0. As its award-winning website designers create and maintain city, county, and other municipal websites, CivicPlus leverages an arsenal of proprietary automated testing, remediation, and compliance monitoring technologies. AudioEye also provides subject matter experts and engineers to CivicPlus accessibility stakeholders to ensure accessibility is built into the award-winning CivicPlus CivicEngage® content management system (CMS).
Additionally, CivicPlus leverages AudioEye for continuous testing and monitoring across, potentially, thousands of existing client sites to ensure issues of accessibility are identified and resolved quickly. AudioEye certifies participating government clients’ commitment to accessibility and provides end users with a resource to communicate accessibility issues, should they encounter one, directly to AudioEye.
Providing a Customizable, Compliant Experience
Understanding that your community doesn’t only want to meet citizen expectations, but exceed them, let’s take the idea of accessibility compliance a step further. Imagine having the ability to allow a citizen with a physical impairment to adjust his experience with your local government website to fully accommodate his needs. Think such capabilities are a hope for the future? Think again. The technology to accommodate such personalized, assistive experiences exists today. Assistive software tools integrate within your local government website allowing users to customize their individual website experience. Such tools offers users a wide range of assistive capabilities, including a dyslexic font, adjustments to color contrast, font size and navigation, keyboard controls, a player that will read site content aloud, and the ability to use voice commands to navigate.
The AudioEye Ally Toolbar
AudioEye’s Ally Toolbar, a proprietary assistive tool, can be placed directly on local government websites, allowing users to customize and enhance their experience. The Ally Toolbar is designed to allow for the customization of the experience for users with a wide range of abilities. It offers considerations including a dyslexic font, adjustments to color contrast, font size and navigation, keyboard controls, a player that will read aloud site content and the ability to use voice commands to navigate.
To learn more about the latest tools and best practices for maintaining a compliant website, watch a recording of the latest in our ongoing compliance webinar series.