With Super Bowl LII coming up this Sunday, February 4, now is the perfect time to look at one of the National Football League’s biggest victories: its commitment to providing a truly accessible experience on its website, NFL.com.
From encouraging participation on social media to searching for ways to improve the viewer experience, the NFL has long been known for its focus on fan engagement. Making its website more accessible is therefore just another way to bring more NFL fans into the fold and prioritize viewers’ needs and concerns.
Improving web accessibility isn’t just the right thing to do for the NFL, however; it’s also a smart business practice. According to tech company GlobalWebIndex, a full 65% of U.S. adults say that they’re NFL fans. With 19% of the U.S. population having some kind of disability, failing to make their website accessible would leave millions of NFL fans in the dark.
The NFL should be considered a prime example of how organizations and businesses should make their websites accessibly to users with disabilities, starting with their public promise of accessibility.
The NFL’s Web Accessibility Statement
A website’s accessibility statement is a web page that describes how the website’s owner plans to accommodate users with disabilities. Accessibility statements can take the form of everything from an informal policy to a 10-page report certifying the website’s compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
If you’re at all concerned about accessibility, your website should contain an accessibility statement. By visiting this page, users with and without disabilities will be able to understand what level of accessibility they can expect on your website, and recognize how committed you are to usability for all individuals.
In October 2015, the NFL released its Website Accessibility Statement on their website. This document states the NFL’s commitment to improving the accessibility and usability of its website. It outlines several concrete actions that the organization is taking to promote accessibility:
- Partnering with an accessibility consulting firmto audit its website.
- Using the recommendations from the audit to implement the appropriate portions of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA standards.
- Training the NFL’s development team on accessibility standards, including WCAG 2.0 Level AA and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- Testing the changes on adaptive technologies, such as screen readers and magnifiers, and with users who have disabilities.
Of course, NFL.com is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to accessibility for NFL viewers. Fans of each team will likely want to also browse their team’s website to view scores, read news articles, watch replays, purchase tickets, and find information about their favorite players.
Fortunately, in the past two years a number of NFL teams — including the Carolina Panthers, the Cleveland Browns, and the New Orleans Saints — have also announced their commitment to making their websites accessible. If users have any questions or concerns about accessibility on NFL.com or any of the team websites, they can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NFL’s commitment to web accessibility is commendable and an important part of its fan outreach strategy. If you’re also looking to take the next step in accessibility for your website, speak with the experts here at the Bureau of Internet Accessibility. We provide a free website scanning tool to help you understand how your website measures up to the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.