Main Menu

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How can a website be inaccessible?

If your website cannot be used by people with disabilities, for example visual, auditory, physical or learning disabilities, it will be classed as inaccessible.

2) Are there different levels of accessibility?

Yes, the Web Accessibility Initiative by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have developed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (version 1), which defines 3 different levels of accessibility - A, AA and AAA. The more accessible a website is, the higher the rating they will receive.

3) Which law(s) in the NZ requires that a site must be accessible?

In New Zealand, disabled people are protected by the Human Rights Act - Protection Against Discrimination for People with Disabilities. This act prohibits discrimination in employment, business partnerships, vocational and qualification authorities, access to public places, provision of accommodation, education, goods and services. Although the law does not specifically mention websites it can be argued that a company's website is a public service and as such should not discriminate against people with disabilities. The Act is enforced by the Human Rights Commission.

4) Is the Human Rights Act applicable worldwide?

No, the Human Rights Act is a New Zeland law but other countries around the world either have or are considering similar legislation. For example Australia has the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

In the UK part 2 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which came into effect in 1999, states that all services provided by a company must be accessible to people with disabilities. This legislation specifically mentions websites, intranets and extranets as being services.

5) What makes a website inaccessible?

The short answer is lots of things, but examples include:

  • Images that do not have text alternatives (ALT attributes)
  • If your navigation system requires JavaScript to be enabled
  • If your site uses multi-media technology but does not provide text alternatives

The complete list can be found in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (version 1).

6) Do W 3 A design accessible websites?

No, W 3 A audit websites for compliance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (version 1) but we do not offer any web design or fixing services.

7) What standards, if any, do W 3 A audit to?

We audit to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (version 1). These have become the standard for assessing website accessibility and are used by web designers around the world

8) Do W 3 A fix any issues found during the audit?

No. We tell people what is wrong with their websites and give suggestions how to fix it but do not fix them ourselves.

9) Why not?

We feel that as an independent audit company it would be unethical for us to fix websites, as it could be seen that the audit service is simply a way for us to drum up more business.

Also, our clients mostly have an excellent relationship with their website designer and it makes more sense for the original creator to fix any issues.

10) So why should we come to W 3 A for an audit if you only tell us what is wrong but don't fix it?

W 3 A audits provide independent proof that your website complies with the local legislation that applies to the website.

There has been a spate of sites claiming to be accessible but when those claims were investigated they were found to be misleading. As W 3 A is a completely independent company, with no connections to web designers or marketing companies you can be sure that a site that we say is accessible is genuinely so.

11) Aren't there automated tools that do the same job as you? Why should we pay you when we can get it for free?

Yes, there are a number of automated tools available that check websites for accessibility. However they do not look at the code in any great detail. For example, one of the criteria to be Bobby compliant is to have ALT attributes for every image. You can have an ALT attribute that simply says "image" and Bobby will say your site is accessible, when in reality it is not as the description does not tell a visually impaired person anything about the image.

W 3 A check the website manually so that, as an example, nonsense ALT attributes are changed to something meaningful.

12) How long is an audit valid for?

A W 3 A audit is valid until you make changes to your website, as any changes can impact on the accessibility of the site. If you do not make changes we have a maximum certification period of 1 year from the previous audit. Any changes to the relevant laws may also invalidate the audit.

13) How often should I get my site re-audited?

We feel that a site should be re-audited once a quarter as most people tend to update their website on that timescale. However, websites that change their page structure regularly may need to be audited more frequently as structural changes can and do influence accessibility.

14) Why does your website not have a W 3 A audit logo displayed?

As we built our own website we are barred from auditing it as auditors cannot audit work they have done themselves. This is to stop bias and mistakes being made.