A closer examination of these WCAG 2.2 requirements, especially when considering the larger context already established in previous versions, makes one thing clear. Colleges and universities must ensure that their efforts to achieve accessibility are not just one-time initiatives. Instead, they need to be ongoing, strategic efforts with the goal of continuous improvement.
A few steps can help you get there:
- Establish clear digital accessibility policies and procedures. This standardizes the process. It ensures that every part of your online presence can follow WCAG 2.2 requirements and any other guidelines established for higher education.
- Conduct regular accessibility audits and testing. Your policies can serve as the benchmark for this step. This helps ensure that no guidelines or requirements slip through the cracks. Quarterly and annual tests allow you to account for new guidelines like the coming WCAG 2.2.
- Train and educate all relevant staff about digital accessibility. Making your website and its surrounding properties accessible is not an isolated job. As the coming WCAG 2.2 for higher education shows, it requires a team effort. Everyone even tangentially involved in anything from content creation to graphic design should be at least somewhat aware of accessibility needs and requirements.
- Consider creating a dedicated accessibility team and/or individual. A point person or team ensures strategic relevance at all times. Does your budget not allow for a dedicated team or individual? If so, then you can create an accessibility group that meets regularly to review guidelines and set the strategy.
These steps take time. They might be budget-intensive. But they’re absolutely essential to ensure that your website continues to meet all relevant accessibility standards. Then, of course, there are benefits for your students to keep in mind, as well.
The Benefits of Digital Accessibility for Prospective and Current Students
It’s not just about legal jeopardy or complying with WCAG 2.2 requirements. Prioritizing digital accessibility can also have significant benefits for your students. It ultimately helps you create a better experience for the audience on campus that matters most.
Consider the positive impacts that digital accessibility can have on your students’ learning experience. Quickly and easily finding information online, from the course catalog to how to get to class in a wheelchair, matters. It can make all the difference for students who might struggle to access the same educational benefits as their peers.
Creating such an accessible experience makes your education more inclusive. It expands your ability to educate all potential students, regardless of their disabilities. Students benefit from a more equitable and inclusive environment. Meanwhile, your campus community benefits from a more diverse student body set up for short-term and long-term success.
Those benefits start long before students first set foot on campus. Digital accessibility can also benefit prospective students searching for the right college. If they can find the right information to help them make a college decision easily, they’ll become more likely to enroll and get the education they deserve.
Improving Digital Accessibility While Preparing for the New WCAG 2.2 Requirements
The WCAG 2.2 requirements are coming. Their immediate impact can be defined by the new requirements and success criteria they set. But in truth, digital accessibility goes far beyond a simple update to standardized guidelines.
To accommodate their students, higher education institutions need to prioritize digital accessibility. Guidelines like WCAG 2.2 are not designed to be hindrances or criticisms of current web presences. Instead, they’re pointers to what the modern student needs to successfully navigate your website, interactive map, and more.
Improving your compliance with accessibility, in other words, carries significant practical benefits. Steps like building your own policies and conducting regular audits help your organization remain compliant. But ultimately, it pays to make sure that your digital partners share the same accessibility priorities.
That includes your interactive campus map and virtual tour. Concept3D has a long history of prioritizing accessibility, ensuring that all potential users can benefit equally from these online tools. Ready to learn more about our own accessibility priorities and how we are preparing our platforms for the new WCAG 2.2 requirements? Get in touch today.