When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed into law in 1990, the goal was to make it possible for people with disabilities to participate in the everyday commercial, economic, and social activities of American life. The law, not created with the internet in mind, requires that businesses make a 'reasonable effort' to meet many ADA digital accessibility standards.
LSQ is proud to announce that we are putting forth much more than a ‘reasonable effort’ to become fully digitally accessible, across all our digital products and websites, to people with disabilities. To us, this initiative appeals to our core values of curiosity and empathy. We want the 13% of the population who is disabled to have the same financial opportunities and user experience afforded to the rest of our client base.
What is Digital Accessibility
Digital accessibility enables people with visual or other disabilities to use your digital products and websites effectively. Today, the vast majority of websites fail to meet this standard. In fact, according to a study conducted by WebAIM, users with disabilities could expect to encounter noticeable errors on 1 in every 13 elements on a website. A huge inconvenience when you consider that averages out to a whopping 60 errors per home page visited. These errors can range from minor annoyances to flat out barriers to accessing information contained within a website.
To be truly digitally accessible, companies need to work to resolve these issues so that all users are able to perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute online. Products and websites must provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities. Obviously, these guidelines are open to interpretation, and before the ADA, no real standard existed. This is what led to the creation of WCAG.
WCAG: The Gold Standard of Digital Accessibility
WCAG guidelines were created by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) division of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C was founded in 1994 and is the leader in creating core development principles and standards for the World Wide Web. The WAI sector focuses on improving accessibility for those with disabilities.
WCAG is a 'W3C REC' level standard for making the web more accessible for people with disabilities and all user devices (including those with limited capabilities like mobile devices and e-readers.) This is one of the highest endorsed classifications which requires that WCAG has undergone extensive review and testing, in both theoretical and practical conditions, and is therefore ready for widespread implementation. WCAG itself is broken into its own set of classifications:
- WCAG 2.0 - Published in 2008, became W3C Recommendation in 2012
- WCAG 2.1 - Is the current standard, and became the W3C Recommendation in 2018
- WCAG 2.2 - Currently working through the classification ladder and not yet widely adopted by browsers. First published in 2020
Since its first introduction with WCAG 2.0, the four core principles mandate that a digital property must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Also known as POUR.
- Perceivable - Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. The three main senses that the guidelines help with are sight, hearing and touch.
- Operable - Create user interface components and navigation in a way that allows everyone the ability to operate them. This also includes users limited to keyboard-only and vision-impairments.
- Understandable - Your product uses clear language, has simple instructions, and explains complex subjects. You must also utilize a consistent user interface and navigation in a way users can understand.
- Robust - the website must meet recognized code standards using clean HTML and CSS to minimize the risk of visitors using technology that cannot process the content correctly.
How LSQ is meeting ADA's standards on WCAG Accessibility
The statistics coming out of the WebAim Projects dismayed our Product, Legal, and Marketing teams, so LSQ decided to address the ADA digital standards head-on by fully adopting WCAG 2.1 AA recommendations. Excluding 13% of the population was not an option, and definitely warranted the time involved to meet these standards fully.
“The WCAG guidelines are comprehensive and can be a bit intimidating to tackle, but it is so important that businesses make the time and put in the effort to comply. LSQ is committed to web accessibility, which is backed by our company’s policy for digital inclusion to ensure that all users can access our content online.”
- Douglas Goldin, LSQ General Counsel
We quickly found that WCAG compliance is an exhaustive process, but at the end of the day, we were determined to solve a real problem. We were trying to be cognizant of those who have sight, hearing, or touch impairments. This means we needed to be voice recognition ready, keyboard-only compatible, with controls and navigation that modified for several atypical audiences, along with a multitude of alternative content solutions for another set of audiences.
Our checklist followed the almost 90 items addressed by the W3C framework, some of the most significant impact items addressed in the W3C list are:
- Auditing content flashes in motion elements for those with epilepsy
- Adding alt text for all graphic elements for those with visual impairments
- Including video captions for those with hearing impairments
- Updating content to offer users a range of presentation options that fit their specific needs such as color and contrast adjustments
- Providing detailed help documentation that helps everyone, regardless of ability
Curiosity and empathy are what propels us at LSQ forward and to be early adopters in every way we can. To better serve those living with disabilities, we will continue to keep our clients and their needs at the core of our mission. LSQ.com is now fully WCAG 2.1 AA compliant, and we look forward to serving all members of the online community, including those with disabilities.
LSQ helps businesses better manage their cash flow to make the most of whatever they've earned. Offering invoice financing and supply chain finance solutions, LSQ provides clients with a simple, secure, and honest funding experience. LSQ blends human insights with the analytical power of technology to develop products that give customers the means to accelerate the flow of business. LSQ, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, has helped 1,000s of companies access $25 billion in its 20+ years in business. Learn more about our solutions at www.lsq.com/