The Ultimate AODA Compliance Checklist

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Accessible Websites

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) applies to private businesses, non-profit organizations, and any qualifying public websites within the province of Ontario. Keeping up to date with AODA compliance and the internationally accepted standard of WCAG 2.0 Level AA can seem daunting for businesses, but it doesn’t have to be.

Understanding The Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities Act

Before getting into our AODA compliance checklist, let’s quickly cover what the AODA is.

Accessibility Compliance Report Requirements

Under the AODA, qualifying Ontario organizations need to submit an accessibility compliance report. The purpose of a compliance report is to show the government and the public that your organization is meeting the correct AODA Level AA compliance standards.

Photo Credit (Parachute Design Group Inc.)

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: Complete AODA Compliance Checklist

To be AODA compliant, you need to ensure your website provides complete accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities.

Text Alternatives For Non-Text Content

Any kind of non-text content on a web page, such as video, images, or audio recordings, needs to be accessible for those who cannot access this kind of content. For example, people with a hearing impairment should still be able to access valuable information shared on a podcast.

  • having written transcriptions for audio content
  • and offering text descriptions of visual resources

Control Over Time-Based Media

Any kind of pre-recorded time-based media on Ontario websites needs to be able to provide users with control. When we say time-based media, we’re referring to things like videos and audio clips. Accessible websites let the user pause, rewind, fast forward, and play this media.

Video And Audio Features For All Content

Ontario’s accessibility laws require all website content to offer options for visual and audio features. This means any written text should have audio descriptions, or video alternatives, available. Again, if a user cannot consume content in one form, then this content needs to be available in other accessible formats.

All Web Content Must Be Clearly Understandable

To achieve website compliance, all of the web content that you publish needs to be understandable without having to rely on color or design, including link text for external and internal links.

All Web Content Must Be Keyword Accessible

To improve digital accessibility, organizations must ensure that all of their web pages’ content is keyword accessible by search engines and assistive technologies alike. This makes it a lot easier to navigate websites and find relevant content.

Users Must Have Enough Time to Consume Content

If timed content exists on a website, like a video or a slideshow, then this content needs to be displayed for long enough to give users enough time to read and comprehend the material.

Avoid Visuals That Could Cause Seizures

Certain imagery can trigger seizures in some people. This generally includes fast, bright flashing lights. To maintain AODA compliance, organizations need to avoid any kinds of visuals that are known to cause seizures amongst individuals.

Self Explanatory Links, Menus, And Titles

To maintain website compliance, all navigational elements on a web page need to be easy to understand. They must offer a clear purpose to the reader. Wherever there is a link, a menu, or a title, anyone should be able to understand exactly why it’s there and where it leads. This makes website navigation easy.

Enlarged Text Option

This is an important part of AODA website compliance for anyone with visual impairment. All websites need to offer the option for large print text for easy readability. Wherever there is text on a website, an alternate format should be available to help those who can’t see the smaller text.

Web Pages Must Be Clear And Predictable

In order to meet accessibility standards for the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, all content needs to be easy to understand. Whenever a user is on a website, they should be able to know exactly what each page is about and what they can expect from the different pages.

Available Support And Assistance

The web content accessibility guidelines also clearly state that effective support and assistance must be available to help or correct any mistakes or errors. To maintain AODA website compliance, you need to be able to adapt and improve your website as required.

Input Assistance And Error Indication

Proper input assistance forms another one of AODA’s accessibility policies. The idea behind this is that everyone makes mistakes, and it’s only too common for website users to leave an error when inputting information on your site. However, people with disabilities may have a harder time detecting these errors.

Maximize Compatibility

The disabilities act states that websites need to maximize compatibility with any current or future user agents, including assistive technology (AT). Technologies change very quickly, so it’s important that your web content follows conventions to remain compatible with APIs. This makes it easier for different AT solutions to work with your website as this technology develops.

Offer Adaptable Content

According to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, when you create website content, it needs to be able to be presented in different ways without losing its information or structure. For example, you should be able to display the content in a simpler layout while still offering all of the same critical information.

What If You Can’t Comply?

If your organization doesn’t comply with the standards set by the Government of Ontario and the World Wide Web Consortium, then your organization will be liable for financial penalties. However, before you start seeking legal advice, there are occasions where not being able to comply within the reporting deadline can be accepted.

Make Sure Your Website Complies With AODA

At Parachute Design, we incorporate all of the necessary regulations and best practices into our web developmentservices. We know how to work with the latest WCAG standards to help organizations stay compliant with the many AODA regulations while creating a beautifully unique website design.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Parachute Design

Parachute Design Group Inc. is a boutique Toronto web design agency specializing in beautiful hand-made website design, custom logo design and branding.