Hiring an Accessibility consultant Vs. Doing Accessibility Tasks Yourself
You have a lot of options when it comes to making your web site accessible. And one of the first and most important things to decide upon is whether you would ask an accessibility consultant to help you or do it on your own.
Let us take a look at each option. This will provide you with a better understanding of the choice you are planning to make.
Hiring An Accessibility Consultant
You should contact an accessibility consultant even if you haven’t started your site yet. This professional will help you in planning the most accessible structure for your content. The good thing about this particular option is that you are implementing accessibility during the earliest stage of your site. This ensures that little or no modifications are made and you would spend even less time in making your site accessible. Having an accessibility expert in the planning stages of your site also lets you receive more help at a lower cost. This is the time to figure out the accessible components you are planning to purchase or develop, and avoid those which will need much modification in order to be accessible.
But what if you already have an existing site? While this is not the ideal scenario, you can still contact an accessibility consultant. This individual will look at your site’s existing front end and its source code and would identify the accessibility issues found in each web page. The accessibility expert will then provide you with a detailed report explaining the positive qualities and problems of your site. You have the option to ask the accessibility expert to do it for you. But a more cost effective option is to take the report and have your developers fix the issues. Then you can ask the expert to check the updated site again.
If you have a large web site or a complex web application which will be used by the government, you can be sure that all standards and regulations are met, and you do not need to be concerned with the risk of being legally liable for your content.
If you have a smaller site, hiring an accessibility consultant provides you with more time to focus on your content. If you have a blog, you can work on producing your next posts. If you focus on Internet marketing, you can focus on promoting your own product or an affiliate product. You can basically give attention to these tasks while the accessibility expert works on making your site accessible.
Your only main concern is the cost involved in hiring an expert to make your site accessible. This is, after all, a task that requires someone with years of experience in web accessibility. You can nonetheless find accessibility consultants that offer free initial consultations and reports.
A good consultant will work with your developers to ensure that they understand the changes, and they will be equipped with great knowledge about accessibility for your next site update or your next project.
Working on the Accessibility of Your Own Site
You can also choose to do the accessibility tasks yourself. This involves learning international guidelines for making sites accessible to persons with disabilities. If your country has its own set of accessibility standards, you have to learn them too. Please ensure that you have a thorough understanding of your country's standards and regulations, as you may become legally liable for inaccessible content.
Then you can start examining your site and identifying accessibility issues based on the guidelines you’ve learned. Since web site validation is an integral part of accessibility, you may have to work with online validators to determine the errors in the structure and code of your web pages. After taking all of this data, you can begin modifying your codes and the structure of your site.
Once you have finished improving your site’s accessibility, you have to check from time to time if the guidelines have been revised. It is important to make sure that your site would still meet the new guidelines and standards in the long run.
Obviously, you need to invest many hours for these tasks. The main advantage though is that you won’t have to spend any amount of money in this option. If you have more time, you may even decide on helping other site owners in making their site accessible.
Hiring an accessibility consultant lets you focus on providing more content and doing business. Take this option if you already have a lot of tasks to do. On the other hand, you can choose to work on the accessibility of your site if you have enough time to spend on it, and you are ready to take up understanding its legal implications.
And, of course, if you decide that you need a consultant, we will be happy to help. Please check out our accessibility consulting services.