An informal survey of Fortune 1000 companies indicates that the majority of firms have embraced web accessibility as a core-value, and have committed dedicated budgets and time-to-market studies to the goal. Speaking with individuals across these companies, certain common obstacles become apparent:
- The task of ‘old’ legacy code
- Third-party software tools that are commonly used require their own unique amendments, but the companies do not have the legal right to make the changes that are needed on their own.
- Companies produce thousands of pages of new content (both internally and externally) every day. In many instances, the content is pulled from third party sources or individuals that are not aware of WCAG 2.0 AA standards.
In short, there is an ever-growing challenge to IT teams charged with achieving and sustaining WCAG compliance due to the high volume of web posts, PDFs, videos, white papers and other content being produced daily.
The truth is that the nature of Internet 2.0, which is quickly produced and content heavy, makes it nearly impossible to keep up with today’s demands. Companies have to be nimble and produce content constantly, often within 1 hour or less, to be relevant. A prime example of this was Oreo brand cookies during the 2013 Super Bowl. During an unexpected power outage during the game, Oreo was able to cleverly capitalize on the incident by referencing the blackout on social media posts. After the game, Wired Magazine trumpeted the tactic as one of the best-timed marketing campaigns in recent history as it described “how Oreo won the marketing Super Bowl with a timely blackout ad on Twitter.”
These are the current realities of the Internet today. Real-time responses offer more flexibility to brands, but, at the same time, require more work to ensure that their campaigns are accessible to all potential users or customers. As it stands today, achieving and maintaining WCAG standards is a burdensome and tedious task for companies looking to reach as broad an audience as possible.