Posting an accessibility statement is a best practice for ADA web compliance (the DOJ has mandated them in settlement agreements).
But how do you write an accessibility statement and what about an accessibility policy?
Having researched whether to go with statement or policy, my recommendation is to publicly post a statement of your policy.
An accessibility statement is a condensed version of an accessibility policy. Whereas a policy may be broad for small businesses (and, in effect, basically the same as a statement), for larger organizations, a policy usually contains more intricate details and formalities such as:
- Project plans and objectives
- Implementation methodology
- Procedures and processes outlines
- Target dates specifications
- Training parameters
- Responsible individuals and departments named
- Penalty and review / maintenance guides
Because these details are largely for internal use, a statement that summarizes the key takeaways of the policy is best practice for corporate organizations.
As a small business, your policy or statement may be one in the same so either designation is fine.
Whether your page is designated as a policy or a statement, it should be prominently linked from the homepage of a website (ideally sitewide) or, for mobile apps, on the home screen and other primary screens. This link is typically featured in the footer.
Here is a skeleton web accessibility statement outline:
- State your policy generally. This section speaks to your commitment.
- Invite feedback, particularly if anyone encounters any barriers.
- Identify the standards you meet/strive to meet.
- Discuss compatibility and possibly technical limitations.
- Cover the presence of an accessibility coordinator.
- Detail who is aware of your policy, who your policy is distributed to.
- Outline any experts or consultants you have invested in and how they are furthering your accessibility.
- Touch on your accessibility testing methods.
- Speak to your organization’s accessibility training and education practices.
- Talk to your compliance or efforts towards compliance with applicable laws.
- List out helpful resources.
Important: Do not make claims that are not true.
If you scroll below, I’ve included a brief example template for all of the items above. This is much more thorough than using a generator — my template is based on DOJ private enforcement actions involving website accessibility.
This section guides you through how to write an accessibility statement with a template and corresponding example text.
Note: This is only a limited shell template. You will need to add content and customize the template to accurately align with your organization’s actions and messaging.
Accessibility Statement Skeleton Template
A. Provide a clear page title/headline.
Kris Rivenburgh.com Web Accessibility Statement
- State your policy.
At KrisRivenburgh.com, we’re committed to accessibility. It is our policy to ensure that everyone, including persons with disabilities, has full and equal access to our digital offerings.
2. Invite feedback.
We welcome your feedback on your experience with KrisRivenburgh.com. Email us at accessibility@KrisRivenburgh.com with any questions or comments you have.
3. Identify Standards.
KrisRivenburgh.com is compatible with most major Internet browsers including Chrome, FireFox, and Safari.
KrisRivenburgh.com may not perform optimally on Internet Explorer and older browser versions.
5. Accessibility Coordinator
KrisRivenburgh.com has appointed a Web Accessibility Coordinator to help meet the objectives in this policy.
KrisRivenburgh.com distributes this policy to all personnel who work with web content including writers, editors, designers, and developers.
KrisRivenburgh.com has retained an independent expert consultant to conduct annual audits and testing on KrisRivenburgh.com.
KrisRivenburgh.com engages in regular automated testing and (annual / bi-annual) manual audits and user testing to assess and improve accessibility.
KrisRivenburgh.com web content personnel undergo mandatory bi-annual accessibility training.
Through genuine effort and commitment including testing, audits, consulting, and remediation, we believe KrisRivenburgh.com adheres to best practices for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
For more information on web accessibility and legal requirements, here are helpful resources:
A Great Start
The objective of an accessibility policy statement is let everyone know that we’re serious about web accessibility - that there’s a genuine commitment and good faith effort coming from our end.
When it comes to compliance with United States anti-discrimination laws (starting with Title III of the ADA) for private entities: Broadly, the legal standard whether your digital asset provides effective communication and meaningful access. In litigation, it’s best practice that your digital asset is in full conformance with WCAG 2.1 AA.
Also, if you’re a small business, don’t worry too much about the more cumbersome formalities such as hiring a coordinator (after all, your staff might just be you). Again, the most important thing to concern yourself with is conforming to WCAG 2.1 AA.
Last thing — make sure to customize your accessibility statement template to align with actions and stances you have taken.
If you would like to use my written out, fully customizable accessibility template in Microsoft Word, you can purchase it on Accessible.org.