WCAG 2.1 & 508 & ADA Compliance

A WCAG Compliant knowledge base software that lets your information accessible to all individuals.

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A knowledge base management software with WCAG 2.1 AA conformance means its developer team has invested time and energy into upgrading their software for web accessbility standards. PHPKB provides the VPAT, which documents an audit of our knowledge base software in regards to the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. With affordances such as strong color contrast, video caption considerations, and robust integration with assistive technology, many organizations find AA conformance to be a good balance between serving a wide range of users with a reasonable budget.

It is recommended to use a WCAG 2.1 compliant knowledge management solution like PHPKB software that will allow getting knowledge base accessibility with WCAG compliance that covers 508 & ADA standards.

What is WCAG?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 is a referenceable technical standard that covers a range of recommendations for making web content accessible. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are an important asset for businesses, organizations, and other entities who want to make their digital content accessible to all people. WCAG is a step-by-step set of technical requirements explaining how you can make your service portal, app or other digital properties accessible to people with various kinds of disabilities (Hearing Impairment, Vision Impairment, Dyslexia etc). The set of guidelines specify what to look for when reviewing a website, application, or digital document for accessibility barriers. Most importantly, following the WCAG means your business is complying with just about any federal, state, or local about accessibility for people with disabilities.

WCAG

The common misconception is that accessibility is designed solely for disabled people. In fact, everyone benefits from accessible content, and your audience will increase by gaining access to accessible content on different platforms or in different ways, because they can use your content with fewer constraints.

Versions of WCAG

People with disabilities should be able to enjoy their online experience without obstacles. The WCAG have been developed to ensure equal access and opportunity. They take into account the different ways that users with disabilities use the web, such as with assistive technology or keyboard-only access. WCAG exists in three versions: 1.0, 2.0, and 2.1. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 have replaced the WCAG 1.0 standards, so those are the ones your organization needs to meet to be compliant. The 2.1 standards add to the 2.0 standards instead of replacing them.

WCAG Levels

The guidelines are divided up into three levels of conformance: A, AA, and AAA.

  • Level A: This level represents the bare-minimum of compliance.
  • Level AA: This level is the target compliance level that legally covers where a group that works with the public needs to be according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Level AAA: It is the highest level achievable, meaning it complies with the success criteria of all three levels. Any organization that has achieved this level of compliance is exceeding requirements.

WCAG levels might be quite difficult to understand sometimes and in order to simplify it a bit, you may also consider the following priority definitions:

  • Critical – Issues that prevent users from using an application. No workarounds available.
  • Major – Issues that make using an application difficult and/or disorienting, but don’t block a user’s ability to complete the operation.
  • Minor – Issues that are annoying but do not hamper use, or enhancements that could be made to the application.
  • Info – Does not adhere to best practices. General recommendations for improvements.
Benefits of making your knowledge base accessible & WCAG 2.1 compatible

Not every knowledge manager takes care of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). That is possible to change soon. Many public organizations and business websites around the World have been targeted for failing to follow WCAG 2.1 standards. If your country currently does not have any regulation related to these guidelines, it does not mean that this will not happen in future. If you run a knowledge base already, we recommend to check out what kind of changes are expected, and if you want to launch a new knowledge base, take that into account - better to do something now than have a problem later.

Even if it is not required by law to make your site accessible, you should consider adding WCAG options and be prepared for any future laws changes. Most businesses haven't thought about the accessibility but having an accessible knowledge base system can help your company’s reputation. You can stand out and show your morality and social solidarity with people with disabilities. It’s also a great way to increase the number of website visitors and provide better financial benefits. Prevalent opinion is that if your website doesn't comply with the WCAG standards, you lose about 20% of your potential customers.

Another big advantage of an accessible knowledge base site is that search engines like accessibility-ready sites more than others. It happens because of coding rules that must be kept, for example, they see the content of your images (alt text for images). You should know that web accessibility does not concern people with disabilities only but also helps mobile users, older users, users prone to epileptic seizures, and much more.

WCAG 2.1 AA Accessibility and PHPKB

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 aims at making web content more accessible and the PHPKB knowledge base software (version 9.5 and above) is 100% WCAG 2.1 compliant and ready.

Being WCAG 2.1 compliant allows your knowledge base to reach a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these, and is extremely important in making your knowledge content more usable.

WCAG 2.1 compatibility means that customer facing knowledge base pages will not break WCAG rules at all, whereas color schemes, content setup etc., is up to the user/designer maintaining the site for accessibility.

How PHPKB Ensures Good Web Accessibility?

People use very different ways of navigating and consuming content. There are users that need to be supported by additional software tools that helps them access content easier. These tools, known as assistive technologies, range from screen readers to touchscreens and head pointers. However, PHPKB knowledge base application and assistive technology talk to each other. Not everything that is written in HTML is fully understandable for assistive technologies. Therefore, to help “translate” content from “technical language” to more human readable language, additional accessibility API standards have been created and PHPKB knowledge base software comply to them. Below is the list of a few checkpoints that PHPKB knowledge management software comply to make web content more accessible.

  • W3C Markup Validated HTML PHPKB knowledge base software HTML is W3C Markup Validated to makes sure HTML structure has no errors, as the assistive technologies can have problems interpreting the page content with errors.
  • Equivalent Alternative Text PHPKB knowledge management application provide alternative text to non-texual elements such as images, graphs, graphs, buttons and design elements. It is especially helpful for people who are blind and rely on a screen reader to have the content of the website read to them.
  • Logical Document Structure Headings, lists, and other structural elements are logically organised to provide meaning and structure to knowledge base pages. They also facilitate keyboard navigation within the knowledge base page.
  • Descriptive Links Every link makes sense when read by itself and makes content easy to read and understand.
  • Keyboard Alone Tested All actionable elements such as forms in PHPKB knowledge management tool are accessible using only keyboard. PHPKB team of tester perform all keyboard only test manually and are not totally dependent on automatic tools.
  • Supports High contrast Mode Color contrast can also be problematic. If the contrast between colors is too low, users who have low vision won’t be able to read or see the text. For example, if the body font is small and in a light color is used on a white background, it will be too hard for a person with low vision to see. PHPKB knowledge base software uses color proportions that suits high contrast mode and text is fully readable.
  • Text Zoom The font style and size used in PHPKB knowledge management application is completely readable even at 200% zoom
  • Descriptive Messages The software has descriptive messages that not only explains the problem but also suggest the solutions fo fix it. Besides, messages don't rely on colors to denote importance for content. Instead, software uses bold or italics to differentiate from the rest of the page.
PHPKB Web Accessibility Test Results

Document Versioning

Does accessibility affect SEO?

But choosing to make your knowledge base more accessible isn't just a way to serve a larger customer base; implemented correctly, web accessibility also boosts your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and improves your knowledge base's organic search rankings.

We can see how website accessibility has a strong relationship with essential elements of search engine optimization (SEO). Almost without exception, Google ranks websites with accessibility techniques included in metadata, content, visual design, and development better in organic search. Why? Search engine crawlers can’t see or hear, and they only use a keyboard, similar to many people with disabilities. While accessibility is not a direct ranking factor, incorporating elements of accessibility aligns with many core search engine optimization techniques that PHPKB knowledge base software offers.

So, it is advised to use an accessible knowledge base management solution like PHPKB software that lets your information accessible to all individuals.

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