Since its early years, the NFL has emphasized fan engagement and accessibility. Innovations such as “Monday Night Football” and Super Bowl halftime shows have helped the league surpass baseball as the nation’s most popular sport.
Now the NFL and several teams are trying to enhance the fan experience by making their websites more accessible for people with disabilities which may include vision, hearing and developmental or cognitive impairments.
Over the past two months, several NFL teams including the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants have announced their intent to implement relevant portions of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA) as their web accessibility standard.
Implementing the WCAG 2.0 AA standards as set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) will also bring the clubs into further conformance with the Section 508 Web Accessibility Standards developed by the United States Access Board.
The teams plan to use the NFL’s accessibility consultant, the National Center for Accessible Media to audit their websites and provide recommendations for making them compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA standards. The Center is also providing the league’s web development team with periodic training about WCAG 2.0 AA and Section 508 conformance.
In addition, the teams have adopted website accessibility policies in support of their commitment to the program. They will test their sites periodically using assistive technology such as screen readers and magnifiers and with users with disabilities.
In October 2015, the NFL said it planned to implement portions of the WCAG 2.0 AA standards over time. The league said it would conduct periodic accessibility audits and end-user accessibility testing and evaluations of NFL.com.
Onix is also committed to accessibility, helping organizations create accessible web content. Its product Equidox converts PDF to HTML that conforms to the WCAG 2.0 AA standards. Over time the company will also make its main web site more accessible implementing relevant portions of the WCAG 2.0 AA standard. Onix’s current accessible website for the Equidox product can be found here.