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Too Much Is Not Enough

Audio article-

It may seem there are almost infinite options for various plugins that can better your site accessibility, and there actually are. But none of those options is something you should rely on as they won’t solve your fundamental problems.

Here’s why
If you haven’t heard about web accessibility yet, it may come as a surprise to you. As internet access spreads and technologies of all kinds advance, accessibility practices come into play. Web accessibility is the practice of making your website usable for as many people as possible. This includes people with disabilities such as eyesight impairment, various kinds of hearing problems, motoric difficulties, or cognitive problems.

‍Two main reasons for accessibility implementation are:

‍Increasing website traffic with accessible digital content (1/8 of the world population has some sort of impairment that can affect their experience)

Avoiding lawsuits (There are legal obligations regarding accessibility criteria on some markets, and they are present both in the private and public sectors)

Except for the traffic, branding, and legal reasons, by making your website accessible, you are helping those with barriers and increasing their digital experience. That’s enough reason on its own.

accessibility menu

Our case against plugins

Many ready-made solutions can easily be implemented on websites. Plugins are widely spread and easily obtainable. Sure, it sounds like a great and easy solution that might make you feel your web accessibility optimization job is done… But there’s a slight problem — most plugins try to cram various disabilities in the same box.

The automated tools for finding accessibility barriers are also limited. Even with AI assistance and predefined criteria, they will be able to single out only about 40% of errors on your site. To avoid that, you need a manual check of the website’s accessibility.

Here are some examples of problems automation won’t be able to find and solve:

  • How to correctly add audio description or close captioning to the video – Paying attention to time signatures and frames
  • How to automatically predict the hierarchy of headings in the code – Taking care of relationships between main headings and subheadings
  • How to prevent color or shape misconceptions – Optimizing the meaning of particular keys, links, and buttons
  • How to check alternative descriptions for all visual assets – Making sure the descriptions are right, even with AI present
  • How to choose a consistent layout and navigation – Make sure your design isn’t confusing
  • How to choose what is the main content of the website – In relation to ‘Skip-To-Content’ navigation or creating Tab order
  • How to check for content breakage – In instances of zooming 200%, changing the orientation from vertical to landscape, or similar
  • How to describe what is embedded in iframe elements – Checking that all inserted HTML documents are in place and properly described to the user
baby playing with the knife

And those are just some of the main points. Perhaps the best representation of human experience over AI when it comes to accessibility occurs in a situation similar to this one: / image baby playing with knife

Human after all

A humane approach to human challenges is the only way of obtaining a high-grade accessibility website. To prove it, we’ve made a list of potential issues you might encounter if you opt for an easy-to-get plugin.

  • Plugins don’t empathize with humans. Predefined plugins don’t adapt to different kinds of needs. (That’s why we call them ‘predefined’.) Even when the plugin creators incorporate a broader range of disabilities, the plugin will still miss at least half of the time.
  • Some plugins are a perfect fit for specific websites. Maybe they were created with one kind of website in mind, and it works really great for the user. But when they visit another site, they won’t be able to use the same plugin, which can be detrimental to their experience. Implementing a human audit to this problem makes it possible to unify and offer proper solutions wherever the user goes.
  • Having an automated plugin implemented in your website code can give you a false impression your page is compliant with WCAG standards. Unfortunately, that is not true, and the owner of the automated plugin will not guarantee for them in potential legal breaches.
  • Your website performance ought to go down. The reason for low performance is that the javascript code needed for the plugin to function is manipulating the website’s content, dimensions, positions. It uses memory and network resources to be more effective, so the plugin makes your website actually perform slower.

Who you gonna call?
The list is already long, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Non-optimized websites and websites filled with predefined plugins pose major challenges to users with disabilities and, in the end, website owners.

This is why we pay so much attention to our work. Using automated processes, human audits, and QA experts, we check your website accessibility and tell you exactly what’s wrong and how to solve it.

We also work hard to provide solutions that have above-average website performance in accordance with the Web Core Vitals and Lighthouse measuring tools.

Optimizing by the people, for the people is the only way to go. Feel free to reach us for any advice or website accessibility optimizations!