Digitization is creating endless learning opportunities. It accelerates the learning process and provides chances to explore the most unprecedented ideas. All the digital textbooks, online courses and e-learning material have to be accessible to every student. To make sure that every student is getting benefits from future education technology, adhering to the ADA norms is essential. As the new phase of learning gained momentum, the number of lawsuits related to web accessibility resources also increased. In this post, we will underpin the impact of digital accessibility guidelines on the education sector and share some useful insights to attain accessibility compliance.
What is the significance of accessibility in education?
Federal law demands that the technology usage by schools and colleges is accessible to everyone. That includes official websites, student portals, on-line curriculum and every other digital property the school provides to their students, their prospective students, their parents and even the general public. Law mandates that the websites should be developed sensibly so that anyone with a motor, cognitive, auditory or visual disability can also access the content with ease.
Schools and colleges that fail to achieve compliance with ADA guidelines receive complaints from the OCR (Office of Civil Rights). Any compliant filed with the OCR must be investigated. On one hand you have OCR investigating your school, and on the other hand, there are disabled end users filing legal complaints. Handling all of this can be challenging for any school. However, it can be resolved, though a proactive approach to digital accessibility. It is beneficial to follow the ADA parameters and develop an accessible website.
- Violating ADA regulations result in legal actions.
- For students, the lack of access can lead to an incomplete education.
- OCR investigation is also bad for the reputation of education leaders and can lead to punishments and fines.
What are the common barriers to digital accessibility in education?
The most common causes of OCR investigations are related to theinadequacy of school websites. The pitfalls of accessibility can be identified in the areas that impact most users, such as:
- Administrative usage
- Coursework requests
Anything that requires form filling or authentication feels like a daunting procedure to a disabled user. Any notification that violates the color contrast regulations might trigger seizures. Besides, if a user is unable to access the content of the course catalogue via a screen reader, then it is essential that the school department reviews the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
How to ensure ADA compliance in the education market?
As discussed above, the barriers to digital accessibility features website can be identified with the help of WCAG. WCAG is a framework that can be used as a roadmap to take the proactive approach when developing the technology products for the education section. In case a website is not developing as per the guidelines, ADA compliance can be ensured via accessibility audits.
The basic checks can be done using a software. An automated scan is a fast and easy method to address a variety of accessibility barriers, such as broken links and missing alt texts. However, automated testing is only 30% accurate. To steer clear of the risk of OCR investigations, manual audits are recommended.
Audit specialists test the website against the desired level of WCAG success criteria and offer a comprehensive report. They thoroughly check the website considering all types of disabilities in mind. They also offer guidance for remediation and hence decision making becomes easy with the help of manual audits.
Schools and colleges are expected to use technology that is accessible to everyone. For the inclusion of all students, web accessibility compliance is key. In case you want to test the accessibility barriers, then get in touch with audit specialists on the link given below.