Another AODA Deadline? 3 Essentials To Get Your Organization Prepared

When organizations were asked at our free digital workshop held on October 5th, 2021 if they had a process for web accessibility, 88% of the group said yes, but said they could do better.

With the upcoming Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) deadline on December 31st, 2021, there are many organizations who still have a long way to go to make their website fully compliant. If you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place.

To make sure your organization is ready, learn about the essentials to equip your organization for web accessibility compliance.

What are the four accessibility principles?

Before you begin making your website compliant, you must understand the four accessibility principles. These principles are the core requirements from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that support your compliance for AODA standards.

Perceivable – Content on your website must be in a format that any user can access. This ensures that those who cannot hear can understand your audible content (i.e. videos, media and podcasts) by reading alt text and transcriptions. Screen readers must be able to read out your web content and images for those who cannot see the screen voluntarily. Similarly, your website must be adaptive so the layout can be adjusted (i.e. larger text or buttons).

Operable – Your website functions must be equally effective for all users who engage and navigate your website. Can a user clearly understand where they are on your site as they move around different areas? Can a user navigate through your site using only their keyboard? Do your alerts or moving banners give users enough time to read the content?

Understandable – You want your website to be intuitive and predictable, not filled with surprises. Make sure your content is in a legible, easy to read format so users can easily understand it all. Ensure there are no unexpected pop ups or link texts that lead users astray. Be proactive with how users navigate your website and remove any barriers or glitches that could cause confusion.

Robust – Compatibility is key to achieving a robust website. There is already a high demand to make your website accessible across all devices, including tablets and mobile phones. To meet WCAG standards, your website must also be compatible with assistive technologies. To keep up with today’s tech demands, many content management systems including eSolutionsGroup’s web development platform are built with adaptive features to support these technologies.

Get a Free Scan of Your Website

Uncover errors and issues on your website — get a free scan with Monsido.
Graphs and tables displaying analytics results inside the Monsido platform

Building your A-(ccessibility) team

Your next step in preparing for the AODA deadline is putting together your A-team to tackle your website accessibility challenges.

Assign your team individual responsibilities based on the gaps and areas of improvement that must be fixed before the deadline. Equip your team with key members that include:

Content Writers – To keep content clear and simple for users to comprehend.
Software Developers – To build the website with WCAG requirements from the get-go and make updates to keep up with new standards.

Website Manager – To schedule regular accessibility reviews of the content and web functions and oversee website governance.

Accessibility Advisory Committee – You are required to create this committee by the AODA to manage the accessibility compliance report and the Multi Year Accessibility Plan for your organization. This committee also oversees accessibility objectives and ensures the website is following AODA and WCAG standards. They are also the liaison between departments, leadership and the public on any accessibility improvements and notices.

Don’t have the right resources?

Chat with an accessibility expert today.
Graphs and tables displaying analytics results inside the Monsido platform

What resources do you need?

So, you understand your goals and have the A-team in place – now what’s the plan?

As part of the AODA act, organizations are required to provide a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. This is your public action plan to explain your organizations current state of accessibility, your objectives and action plan to improve. This plan goes beyond web accessibility and must be updated every two years for compliancy.
“This is a journey, not a destination”
– Jasmine de Guzman, Field Marketing Manager at Monsido.
A second plan we recommend is a Web Accessibility Internal Action Plan.

This plan will be different for every organization. It will identify the strengths and weaknesses of your website in greater detail. It encourages you to assign specific team members to carry out the task within the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and have timelines to achieve the objectives. This plan helps keep your team accountable and motivated to staying on top of accessibility deadlines and ensures every inch of your website is compliant.

With these key insights, the only thing left to do is to act. Promote the accessibility principles to your internal organization, gather a team of qualified members and execute your accessibility plans.

To learn more about the legal AODA compliance for your organization, watch our webinar on demand.

Need a hand with making your website accessible?

Find out how eSolutions Group can support the needs of your organization.
Graphs and tables displaying analytics results inside the Monsido platform
This is a guest blog post by our partner, eSolutionsGroup.

eSolutionsGroup, a GHD Digital company, helps to connect cities, town and municipalities to their residents with a suite of products and services built for engaging the public sector, and making cities smarter and more accessible.