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May 2022

Is your website digitally accessible?

A website according to the WCAG guidelines

About 2 million people in the Netherlands have a disability. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been drawn up to ensure that websites are digitally accessible to everyone.

About 2 million people in the Netherlands have a disability. Most websites are not accessible to people with disabilities. For example, if someone has a visual or hearing impairment, it affects the interaction with your website. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have been drawn up to ensure that websites are digitally accessible to everyone.

Mandatory for government agencies

Since June 2021, websites and applications of government agencies must comply with WCAG guidelines. WCAG 2.1 is the most recent and current version. The current guidelines apply to all government institutions, regional or local government bodies, institutions under public law and associated partnerships. Municipalities, hospitals and schools also belong to this group. Curious if your organization belongs to the target group? You can check this on the WCAG website .

The legislation does not apply to commercial companies. However, you also have to take digital accessibility into account. The right to equal treatment of people with disabilities also requires the involvement of commercial institutions, on the basis of reasonableness.

The principles of the WCAG

Everyone should be able to use your website at any time without experiencing any problems. That is the purpose of the WCAG. The guidelines are made up of four principles. These principles are: observable, operable, understandable and robust.

1 - Observable

All content, including for example text, images, forms and navigation, must be presented in such a way that different users can perceive them. The information must be perceived by more than one sense.

In order to give the hearing impaired access to information, sound fragments must be made visible by also offering them as written text. And visually impaired people should be given access to information by also presenting written text as a sound fragment.

The use of colors is also important. Visually impaired people can absorb more information if sufficient use is made of contrast. For people with color blindness, certain color combinations should be avoided.

2 - Operable

All parts of the website or application must be operable via a keyboard. Users should be given enough time to read and use the content. This means, among other things, that animations must be able to be paused.

Flashes and other content known to cause seizures or physical reactions should be avoided. Users should be able to easily navigate the website, find content and determine where they are.

3 - Understandable

Information and operation of the user interface must be understandable. Make sure the website is written in easy-to-read language and avoid difficult words or jargon. Easy-to-read language here refers to the reading proficiency level of lower secondary education.

The appearance and handling of web pages should be predictable. Users should be helped to avoid mistakes. Think of a specified error message that the user receives after he/she has made an input error when filling in a form.

4 - Robust

The website must be built according to a correct structure, so that content can be interpreted reliably by various browsers and screen readers, among other things. The code must be written error-free to facilitate correct display and use.

Success Criteria

These four principles include guidelines. Each guideline contains success criteria, which are again divided into three levels:

  • Level A: minimum accessibility (30 criteria)
  • Level AA: good accessibility (20 criteria)
  • Level AAA: excellent accessibility (28 criteria)

Government organizations in the Netherlands are legally obliged to meet level AA. A website or application belonging to the target group must therefore meet the total of 50 criteria of level A and level AA.

Is your website already accessible?

To check whether your website meets the success criteria, you can do a free quick scan on the WCAG website. This allows you to test part of the success criteria and you will receive an overview of the errors and points for attention within a few minutes. If you would like a more extensive investigation, you can check all the criteria yourself using this checklist or have a professional audit done.

Choose an accessible website

As a commercial company you currently have the choice to make your website or application digitally accessible. As stated above, you must take into account the right to equal treatment. Moreover, it is not only an added value for the users, but also for your business objectives to be accessible to as many people as possible.

An example case

We developed a new website for social service provider Farent. For an organization with a social function such as Farent, it is of course of great importance that the website is digitally accessible.

The website is fully operable with a keyboard. For this we have added skip links, among other things. Clear instructions are included with the input fields for all forms. When the user notes an incorrect answer, this is indicated and a suggestion is made as to what he/she should change. Would you like to know more about the Farent website? Read it in our project case .

Do you also want an accessible website? You have come to the right place at Vrolijk Online. We have the knowledge and experience to make your website digitally accessible.

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