Web Accessibility in the Legal Industry: A Path to Accessible Justice for All
August 4, 2023
In today's digital age, the term "accessibility" has become a popular buzzword. While you may know accessibility is crucial for any digital project, what does that mean exactly? Have you thought about how these terms apply to your legal organization or firm’s online presence?
If you’re having some trouble, don't worry, you’re in the right place. This article will help you understand the key accessibility requirements that can help you work towards building an inclusive online presence. Web accessibility is vital not just as a legal requirement, but also as a commitment to access to justice for all individuals.
Web Accessibility for Legal Organizations
The legal industry is more online than it has ever been. Web accessibility ensures that legal websites and digital content are available to everyone. It is a critical tool for legal organizations to support their missions. By promoting these inclusive practices, legal organizations can empower clients to exercise their rights effectively and lower barriers of entry to legal services. Furthermore, ignoring accessibility can lead to legal challenges and penalties. Compliance with accessibility standards, like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 508, and the WCAG Standards shows a commitment to providing inclusive legal services and ensuring equal access to justice for all. At A2J Tech, we have been working on updating our own websites and resources to ensure that they’re compliant with evolving accessibility standards, as well as creating resources for legal services organizations eager to join in the work.
Fortunately, there are a set of requirements called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that provide an outline for how you can achieve full web accessibility. These guidelines range from Level A, addressing critical barriers, to Level AA, which enhances accessibility, and Level AAA, providing the most comprehensive experience. You probably noticed that these guidelines are very extensive and address a wide range of issues. It's important not to get overwhelmed by them, but know that they are here to point you and your organization in the right direction. Let’s discuss the steps you can take to ensure your organization meets their standards!
Building the Foundations for Web Accessibility
Conducting a Comprehensive Accessibility Audit and Remediation: Begin by evaluating the current accessibility status of your digital products with both automated and manual tests to identify areas of improvement. Based on the audit results, prioritize and implement necessary changes to address accessibility issues. A2J Tech Accessibility for Justice: Audit and Remediation Services provide comprehensive web accessibility audits and remediation that includes automated and manual tests for broken links, heading level order, color contrast ratios, and alternative text.
Training Staff: Ensure that your team members, including content creators and developers, are trained in web accessibility best practices to maintain a sustainable and inclusive approach to content creation.
Regular Monitoring and Maintenance: Web accessibility is an ongoing process. Regularly monitor your digital products for new content and updates, and conduct periodic audits to ensure continued compliance.
Often overlooked, web accessibility is not just a legal requirement—it is an ethical commitment to ensuring equal access to justice and information for all. A2J Tech's "Accessibility for Justice" service offering is a valuable resource for organizations seeking comprehensive web accessibility audits and remediation services. By adhering to WCAG standards and embracing an inclusive mindset, legal organizations can create digital products that are accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities. Together, we can build a more equitable digital landscape, where legal information and services are available to everyone.