Ensuring Accessibility in Local Government Apps and Web Portals - WCAG "AA"
In today's digital age, accessibility is not merely a virtue but a legal and ethical imperative, especially for local government organizations. Ensuring that mobile apps and Citizen Requests/311 web portals meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) "AA" compliance standards is not just a best practice; it's a requirement for serving all citizens, regardless of their abilities. In this blog post, we'll delve into why being WCAG "AA" compliant matters for local government decision-makers and how it can benefit both your organization and the community you serve.
GOGov CRM portals and Mobile App are Web Content Accessibility Guidelines at Level AA complaint. What does that mean?
WCAG "AA" (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines at Level AA) compliance is a set of international standards that ensure digital content is accessible to individuals with disabilities. It focuses on providing a comprehensive and inclusive user experience, covering factors like text alternatives for non-text content, adaptability, and robustness. By adhering to WCAG "AA" compliance, digital platforms become more accessible, accommodating people with varying abilities, and meeting legal and ethical requirements.
Why does WCAG "AA" matter to local government municipalities?
Every citizen has the right to access government services and information. Being WCAG "AA" compliant ensures that individuals with disabilities, such as visual or hearing impairments, can access and utilize your digital platforms without barriers. This inclusivity is a cornerstone of modern democracy, allowing all citizens to participate fully in civic life.
Many countries, including the United States, have enacted laws and regulations that require digital government services to be accessible to all citizens. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the U.S., for instance, mandate accessibility in digital services. Non-compliance can lead to costly lawsuits and fines, not to mention the damage to your organization's reputation.
Enhanced User Experience
When local government apps and web portals are WCAG "AA" compliant, they provide a superior user experience for everyone. A clean and well-structured interface benefits all users, including those without disabilities. Improved usability and intuitive design lead to higher user satisfaction, encouraging more citizens to engage with your services.
By not ensuring accessibility, local governments risk discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Discrimination undermines the principles of equality and fairness that democratic societies uphold. Ensuring accessibility is a critical step in avoiding such discrimination.
Accessible digital services allow local governments to reach a wider audience. Whether it's an emergency alert, voting information, or applying for permits, everyone can access and interact with your content. A broader reach strengthens community engagement and ensures that no citizen is left behind.
Investing in accessibility can yield cost savings in the long run. By addressing accessibility from the start, you reduce the risk of expensive retrofits or legal actions. Moreover, accessible digital services can boost economic participation among individuals with disabilities, contributing to the local economy.
Setting an Example
Local governments that prioritize accessibility set an example for businesses, non-profit organizations, and the wider community. Leading by example can encourage others to follow suit, fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect for all.
The WCAG "AA" standard is internationally recognized and embraced as a global benchmark for digital accessibility. Complying with these standards ensures that your local government's digital presence aligns with international best practices, demonstrating a commitment to a global community that values inclusion and diversity.
Ensuring Accessibility in Local Government Apps and Web Portals
WCAG "AA" compliance is not an option but a necessity for local governments. It reflects a commitment to the principles of equality, inclusion, and fairness that democratic societies hold dear. By ensuring accessibility in mobile apps and web portals, local governments empower all citizens to participate fully in civic life and lead the way towards a more inclusive future. schedule a demo with GOGov to learn how Local Government Mobile Apps and our Citizen Requests/311 solutions can help your municipality.