Most credit unions, when looking for a new website development partner, consider the cost to be a major factor in their selection decision. While a less costly estimate might be a reason to choose one agency over another, you should carefully evaluate exactly what you are getting for the lower cost.
There are other considerations once you've secured a budget. You'll want to review the agencies ability to update your website to WCAG 2.0 AA standards and what tools they will use to maintain ADA-compliant website. If they do not have a track record of developing accessible sites you’ll want to interview agencies that specialize in auditing, monitoring, and remediation.
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An accessible website doesn't mean you need to have a website that doesn’t engage your members. In fact that’s that is exactly what you need in today's competitive market, having something that personalizes a visitors experience for the continued success of your credit union.
Web design is something we take seriously at CUWD, or we wouldn’t have named the company what we did. Our designer staff is very knowledgeable in designing website that meet ADA-compliance, without having to sacrifice a great user experience or design to make your credit union’s website compliant.
Audit Processes and Experience
ADA compliance is complicated; the WCAG 2.0 checklist is long as we mentioned above. Therefore, achieving and maintaining compliance is something you do not want to do alone, so you'll want to select your vendor carefully.
You can select a company that only does automated scanning, which we showed isn’t very comprehensive or one that only does live testing, a very time consuming and expensive process. Then you need to look for a remediation partner who understands WCAG coding guidelines, more costs. Or you can contact CUWD, we put all three into one package. Our Accessibility Audit consists of automated and live testing and our development team is well versed in the WCAG guidelines.
The Website Redesign Timeline
It's important to work with a vendor who can guarantee a website launch that meets the demands of a pending law suit. Ask to see a statement of work or suggested timeline for the design and launch process to ensure that your website will be ready in time.
HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK TO ENSURE A TIMELY LAUNCH:
- How long does the development/remediation process take?
- Is there a formal discovery process? How long does it take?
- Will a project manager help me build my sitemap?
- How can you ensure my website is ADA compliant when launched?
- How easy is it to reach your support team?
- Can we make changes on our own to the website, or do they have to go through support?
At CUWD, depending on the complexity of the credit union web site, the process ranges from two to three months, start-to-finish. Once contracted, your work can begin in just a few days with a kick-off meeting. We begin the process immediately to ensure the fastest road to accessibility.
Website Development Platform
Ensure your vendor provides a platform that makes compliance easy as accessibility requirements may change. In addition, you'll want to ensure you can make simple updates yourself, and not have to go through support.
Important platform considerations include: Ability to add ALT text, setup admin rights, and the ability to embed videos with transcripts. Also in most cases of accessibility, open source solutions like Wordpress will do more harm than good in terms of cost to maintain plug-ins.
The CUWD Simplicity 5.0 CMS makes it easy to update your credit union website with easy to use modules and to maintain compliance with the built in “ADA Quick Checker” feature. Ask use for a demo to see how simple it is to stay accessible. ADA Quick Checker Demo
You'll want to check out different vendors' content migration processes to help you speed up the redesign process. Be sure to ask how content is migrated, as you do not want non-compliant content from your old website creeping into your new website.
Simplicity of Ongoing Maintenance
If your credit union is like most, you probably have a small group of individuals updating website content. This makes it easy for your website content to become non-compliant quickly, especially if your webmasters aren't thoughtfully adding content.
Some companies will only monitor your site with automated scanning tools, which as we said above don’t always catch all errors. Others have developed extensive algorithms to mask the errors on your site costing thousands of dollars per year without fixing the core coding issues
What your credit union needs is a accessibility partner who will perform a comprehensive monthly audit which entails digital audit scanning, live testing and extensive accessibility remediation experience. This is why CUWD created a program to include comprehensive monitoring and maintenance.
Selecting your credit union’s website vendor is the most important part of achieving and maintaining website accessibility. Be sure they have a history in website design and development, and are capable of handling the vast requirements of ADA compliance and website accessibility.