Accessibility compliance significantly reduces risk of litigation and makes Morguard's sites more widely available to a broader marketplace

Morguard Accessibility Audit

Morguard is one of North America’s leading integrated real estate organizations, specializing in real estate ownership, investment and management. Headquartered in Toronto, the company contacted bv02 after identifying that their websites were required to comply with accessibility standards laid out in AODA, the Ontario government’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Morguard is one of North America’s leading integrated real estate organizations, specializing in real estate ownership, investment and management. Headquartered in Toronto, the company contacted bv02 after identifying that their websites were required to comply with accessibility standards laid out in AODA, the Ontario government’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. bv02 recommended performing an accessibility audit on Morguard’s web properties in order to identify deficiencies and suggest fixes. With this report in hand, Morguard would be able to determine the most feasible path to overcome their accessibility challenges and become AODA compliant.

“Accessibility” is a concept and modern-day standard wherein all users should be able to access a website or mobile app’s content regardless of any disability they may have or the method by which they access the site or app. Today, most design and development methodologies and strategies, including those developed at bv02, involve incorporating code throughout the development life cycle that will conform with accessibility standards. However, websites that were developed prior to current accessibility standards often present challenges to website users with disabilities.

AODA was introduced in Ontario in 2005 in order to lay the framework for the development of mandatory accessibility standards across the province, in all areas of daily life. Websites and their content fall under the “information and communications” area of AODA, and depending on the size and type of the organization, the government has set out deadlines for compliance for web content. Some organizations were required to start complying to WCAG 2.0 Level A guidelines by January 1, 2012. The end goal is for all websites and content to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines by 2021.

bv02 uses an accessibility audit as a type of diagnostic tool for websites, to determine whether people with disabilities are able to comprehend, navigate through and interact with website content and tools with or without aides or special devices. In Morguard’s case, our Quality Assurance Testers knew upfront that the company’s sites needed to comply with AODA, and thus this was the standard that we audited the site against (there are other national, international and provincial standards that may apply in other situations). To assess their level of compliance with AODA, bv02 asked Morguard to provide a sample of URLs for the audit. These URLs included a broad range of content and functionality which allowed identification of common deficiencies.

Using these URLs as a representative sample of content and functionality to be found on Morguard’s websites, bv02 conducted both automated and manual tests during the audit. Automated tests crawled and analyzed the client-side code (HTML, CSS) on the provided URLs in order to validate against WCAG 2.0 Level A & AA standards. The generated reports were reviewed by our testers to identify common errors, and compare them against WCAG 2.0 Guidelines. We also conducted manual tests on the provided URLs to test against WCAG 2.0 Level A & AA guidelines for interaction and functionality. These included areas such as user interaction, colour contrast, keyboard accessibility, and screen reader interaction. We reviewed video and other graphic content, as well as other media such as PDFs to determine whether they could be accessed by website users with disabilities.

The culmination of an accessibility audit is the final report provided by bv02’s Quality Assurance Testers. This report contains detailed listings of the results of their testing. In Morguard’s report, as in all other accessibility reports bv02 develops, “Compliance Failures” for WCAG 2.0 Level A & AA guidelines were identified, as well as priorities and recommended fixes wherever possible. We also provided suggestions for improvements to general usability and accessibility. The goal for these audits is always to point towards solutions, whether they are implemented by our team or by an in-house team of developers.

Morguard is currently using the accessibility audit developed by bv02 to review and update their company websites and move toward complete compliance with AODA. This significantly reduces their risks of litigation, contributes to their brand’s image as a community partner, and makes their sites more widely available to a broader marketplace. Such measures take us closer to full accessibility on the web, which benefits all of us.

Solutions Provided

www.morguard.com
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