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Web Accessibility Reporting: Forming Your Strategy

Nov 27, 2023


Web accessibility has a tremendous return on investment. However, if you’re making a business case for accessibility, you need to provide updates to key stakeholders. 

That means regular reporting, which isn’t always easy: Digital accessibility is somewhat subjective. But by setting a clear goal, you can show your progress. Here’s how to get started.


1. Set a realistic, testable goal for website accessibility


The standards for digital accessibility are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). If you’re reporting on accessibility, WCAG is an essential document — and your report should reference the guidelines regularly. 

Other technical specifications exist, but they’re almost always based on WCAG. The Revised Section 508 Standards of the Rehabilitation Act, for example, is nearly identical to WCAG 2.0 Level A/AA. 

WCAG is organized into three levels of conformance (conformance means voluntarily following the guidelines): 


  • Level A contains the most crucial standards (called success criteria) for attaining a basic level of accessibility. 
  • Level AA contains additional requirements, along with all Level A success criteria. For most types of content, Level AA is considered a reasonable level of accessibility.
  • Level AAA contains additional criteria, which may not be attainable for all types of content. 


Unless you have a website specifically geared towards individuals with a specific disability, your goal should be Level AA conformance. The best practice is to focus on Level A accessibility barriers first, then fulfill Level AA, then address any Level AAA criteria that you can practically fulfill. Learn why Level AAA success criteria are strict, but still worth your attention.

Once you’ve chosen a goal, you can test your website against WCAG and begin remediation. You can also build accurate reports comparing your website with WCAG standards.

Related: Web Accessibility Audits Offer a Measurable and Repeatable Approach to Compliance


2. Have a consistent reporting template


The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which publishes WCAG, offers a Template for Accessibility Evaluation Reports. That website contains evaluation instructions along with a blank report, which can be used as a template. 

Of course, you’re under no obligation to use the W3C’s template — and many organizations take a different approach. But it’s important to be consistent, especially if your reports will be delivered on a regular basis. 

Some tips to keep in mind: 


  • Keep the report focused on WCAG, and resist “mission creep.” While accessibility overlaps with search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and other processes that are important to your business’s objectives, you want your accessibility report to focus on accessibility.
  • Include information about the methods you’ve used to test your content. If you’re only performing automated accessibility tests, make that clear in your executive summary; if you’re combining automation with manual tests, explain how the manual tests were performed. 
  • List specific accessibility issues that need to be addressed. Identifying issues and their respective WCAG success criteria will help keep your team accountable (and help you show progress). 
  • Avoid talking about accessibility as a “project.” Digital accessibility is a mindset, and the work doesn’t end when you reach your conformance goal. 


Related: How Often Should You Test Your Website for Accessibility?


3. Take a collaborative approach to accessibility testing and reporting


Accessibility is a team effort. If you assign reporting to a single individual, what happens when that person leaves your organization? 

A collaborative approach will help you maintain consistency. It also helps you make progress: If developers, designers, and writers understand that they have a role to play, they’ll be more invested in the results. 

Wherever possible, you should also involve people with disabilities. Ask users for feedback via your website’s accessibility statement and include a sample of their responses in your evaluations. 

It’s also okay to ask employees with disabilities to contribute; just make sure that you’re asking for their professional expertise (not assigning them extra work that could be performed by a certified accessibility tester). 

Related: Avoid These Common Mistakes When Testing for Accessibility


4. Consider working with an accessibility partner


While it’s completely possible to handle accessibility reporting on your own, an accessibility partner can help you objectively measure your achievements. Objectivity can be extremely important for digital compliance — and experienced experts can provide remediation guidance that helps you resolve issues correctly.

The Bureau of Internet Accessibility provides accessibility audits, on-site and self-paced training, and other resources to help organizations achieve sustainable results. To learn more, send us a message or download our free eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Web Accessibility.

Use our free Website Accessibility Checker to scan your site for ADA and WCAG compliance.

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