“If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business.” –Lee Kuan Yew, first Prime Minister of Singapore

It’s an age old conundrum: Do we do this project in house, or should we outsource it? In almost every project being considered in this context, there are pros and cons to each side. It’s important to think through what doing a new project in house or using outside consultants means for your business. When it comes to assessing your site for ADA compliance, there are six critical elements for you or your ADA compliance consultants to consider.

  1. Expertise

In order to properly evaluate website accessibility, it’s vital those assessing the site know exactly what is included in ADA website accessibility. Understanding the background of ADA legislation and the current landscape is important. It’s also imperative those reviewing your site are familiar with WCAG 2.0, currently the gold standard for website accessibility.

  1. Resources & ADA Checklists

Having the right tools and a thorough understanding of the appropriate resources is an important part of proper assessment. The Title II Checklist (Website Accessibility), published by the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, includes 11 yes/no questions to help determine a website’s level of accessibility. Fifteen additional questions assist the assessor’s determination as to whether the company has set up the proper policies and procedures to guide website accessibility.

The HTML 508 Checklist, published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, reviews 67 criteria, answerable by yes or no questions, to help you determine website accessibility.

In addition to understanding the ADA compliance checklists, it’s also necessary to know how to use the right tools to evaluate the site’s level of compliance and having the right adaptive technology tools, including access to screen readers, text-to-speech features, screen magnifiers and tools to access a site with voice commands only such as Dragon Naturally Speaking.

  1. Objectivity

Being able to take a step back and objectively look at a website is critical. If a reviewer has been involved in the creation of a site or programmed a site personally, it may be difficult to remain objective when evaluating items that were poorly programmed or neglected without consideration of potential disabled users.

  1. Analysis and Reporting

It’s important the person evaluating the site have the skills to be analytical and communication oriented. They need to be able to pull the various threads of what’s lacking and what works along with a clear go-forward strategy to create a comprehensive and well-written report for the C-suite. The report needs to provide a concise executive summary, educate readers on key elements and provide examples of specific recommendations for those responsible for the website.

  1. Time

Can those working on the site complete the assessment in a timely manner? Do they have the necessary bandwidth to complete the assessment and communicate it outward? Will they require additional time to become familiar with the standards for WCAG 2.0? Do they have the technical knowledge required to evaluate each checklist element? Or will they need time to get up to speed?

  1. Budget

The cost for an assessment is not limited to outsourcing. Choosing to use an in-house team will incur direct costs. The amount of time the in-house team requires to complete the assessment is one factor. The cost of assigning their incumbent workloads to other staffers should also be factored into the in-house or outsource decision.

Based on our experience, an assessment of a small website (20-30 pages) requires approximately 60-75 hours to fully test the website using all of the necessary tools and to draft necessary reports. This does not include the time required to come up to speed on the mandates of ADA, the current landscape, testing tools, checklist criteria and WCAG 2.0. It also presumes your in-house team are professional writers skilled in communicating complex ideas and are capable of providing a cogent and cohesive set of specific strategic recommendations for decision makers.

Given the unique skills required and the already overloaded schedules most people have, it’s a good idea to investigate outsourcing.

If you’d like to explore outsourcing the assessment of your website’s accessibility, email me at [email protected]. We are ADA compliance consultants, and we can help!

Note: We at EnVeritas Group are not attorneys. This information should not be considered legal advice. We encourage everyone to read  the Americans with Disabilities Act, by visiting https://www.ada.gov and to review Section 508.

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