What is AODA Compliance?

AODA Compliance is an Ontario regulation filed June 3, 2011 under Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. While the AODA is specific to Ontario, almost every jurisdiction must take into consideration the accessibility of their websites, particularly if they are public sector resources. The World Wide Web Consortium Recommendation from 2008 plays a serious role in how web content accessibility guidelines are implemented. The recommendation states that educational or training institutions must provide the following:

  • Educational or training resources or materials in an accessible format that takes into account the accessibility needs due to a disability of the person with a disability whom the material is to be provided by
  • Procuring through purchase or obtaining by other means an accessible or conversion ready electronic format of educational or training resources or materials, where available, or
  • arranging for the provision of a comparable resource in an accessible or conversion ready electronic format, if educational or training resources or materials cannot be procured, obtained by other means or converted into an accessible format
  • Provide student records and information on program requirements, availability and descriptions in an accessible format to persons with disabilities.

The most impacted industries by AODA compliance are Entertainment, Finance, Education, Public Service, Non-Profit Sector, and Government. If you are running an eCommerce online store there are accessibility considerations that should take place. These include:

  • Buttons too close on Mobile
  • Missing Link Text
  • Low Contrast on Text
  • Empty Form Labels
  • Missing ALT Text on Images
  • Ambiguous Buttons or Text Links

Meeting AODA Compliance requires keeping up with necessary technical aspects of web maintenance. Managing digital assets for accessibility is not only good for users, but it will also enhance the performance of any eCommerce website. When users can access content in different ways (Voice search, for example) the search engines rely on the same web elements required for AODA Compliance. Whatever the accessibility guidelines are in your region, it is important to always consider them during the design process.

Why does it matter if Links are Missing Text?

Keeping in mind that most websites do not consider users’ accessibility needs, the most practical reason why links missing text are bad is that they have no context. Most users looking at a link make a few assumptions about it before they click. However, with visual or auditory impairments these processes we take for granted become incredibly detrimental to user experience. Having descriptive text for links not only helps people understand what they are when they are visiting the page using an accessibility reader, but it also indirectly improves SEO opportunities such as voice search.

Practical Accessibility Considerations

  • Links too close are hard to touch if you have big fingers
  • Buttons too close together create challenges in reaching appropriate links
  • Ambiguous text is difficult to interpret, requires user to guess the destination
  • Low contrast on text is the most common accessibility issue on the Internet, negatively impacting low vision or color blind users.

How can I consider for Accessibility on my site?

  • Take into consideration Visual accessibility improvements that can be made for users, such as individuals with blindness, low vision or color-blindness.
  • Take into consideration Auditory accessibility improvements that can be added for users, such as individuals with deafness and hard of hearing.
  • Take into consideration Motor accessibility improvements that can be added for users, such as individuals with an inability to use a mouse, have slow response time, or limited fine motor control.
  • Take into consideration Cognitive accessibility improvements that can be featured for users, such as those with learning disabilities, distractibility, or an inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information.
  • Read more on WebAIM’s Accessibility Page

Following a well-designed website that takes AODA into practice, will include visual, motor, cognitive, and seizure considerations when developing web pages.

View the AODA Website here.

Why do we have AODA Standards?

Building a better web means creating accessible experiences for all users. This preserves the dignity, independence and equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities to apply for jobs, participate in social media and experience the Internet as much as possible.

Here are links to more resources:

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