SquareSpace Accessibility: Will Your Website Meet WCAG 2.0 AA?

Someone recently emailed me, asking if I could make their website accessible.

The website was simple, fairly easy to remediate but the problem is it was created with SquareSpace.

While SquareSpace is aware of accessibility and provides this page on things you can do to make your website more accessible, they don’t aggressively attack it, nor do they make advanced editing easy.

Here’s their policy page:

https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/215129127-Making-your-Squarespace-site-more-accessible

Here’s their policy on custom code:

https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/205815358-Custom-code-FAQ

Someone very helpful posted on the SS community forum, SS’s response to being asked if they met WCAG 2.0 AA success criteria.  Here’s the most important selection from the response:

It’s important to note that some Squarespace elements may not be fully accessible. If your site is required to comply with accessibility standards, you may wish to consult with an accessibility specialist to determine what strategies may be necessary to achieve compliance.

– Source: Squarespace Community Support

The following elements could easily be updated to be accessible:

  • adding alt text to images
  • using more descriptive links/headers
  • updating header structure

But I didn’t see a way to meet multiple other WCAG 2.0 AA success criteria.

Further, if this potential client had any forms (e.g. newsletter sign up form, registration form, etc.), those forms would have needed programmatic labels and I don’t know if this would be possible.

It should be noted that I don’t have a SquareSpace website so I cannot experiment with all of their features but from their accessibility policy and support response, it’s clear they’re not the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  I recommend creating a self-hosted website so that you can fully control and customize code.

I’ll review WIX for accessibility in another blog post.

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