However, most modern web pages are dynamically
updated using content management systems. Associations
should therefore set clear goals to build accessibility into
everything they place online moving forward.
It’s best to start by picking the low-hanging fruit, such as
alt text for images, using HTML standards to include navigation within the page and ensuring that online forms can be
completed by someone using assistive technology. These
changes can be done fairly quickly and can become part of any
association’s standard operating procedure for site updating.
In addition, many associations use third-party and hosted
technology solutions, many of which already have numerous
accessibility elements and tools in place. Do your due diligence when evaluating and buying these tools and demand a
high level of accessibility in the online products you purchase
Not surprisingly, associations representing those with disabilities often are model examples of ADA compliance. For
example, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
uses You Tube’s captioning feature for all its online video, and
its site is designed with CSS to separate the site’s presentation from its content.
Accessibility is no longer an issue only for government agen-
cies and the vendors that supply them. Instead of worrying
Visit the Association Forum’s “Achieving Diversity in As-
sociations” Professional Practice Statement to learn more
ways to best serve increasingly diverse members at asso-
ciationforum.org>Resources>Samples and Best Practice
Guidelines>Professional Practice Statements.
about future enforcement, now is the time for all organizations to embrace accessibility.
Why? It’s clear that providing website accessibility to all
visitors isn’t altruism; it’s good business sense. Embracing
accessible design opens associations to a huge market of
consumers with disabilities. Whether their members are differently abled or not, associations must ensure that all visitors can access all aspects of their websites — lest they miss
out on valuable dollars (and sense).
Layla Masri is president of Bean Creative, an Alexandria, Va.-based studio of
digital developers who fuse design and technology into immersive websites,
apps and interactive environments. She may be reached at