Steps to Staying in Line with ADA Website Compliance

The Americans with Disability Act is a US national standard that sets certain regulations about accessibility. Their primary goal is to create a more accessible landscape, allowing all people – despite any disability they may have – to access both physical and online spaces.

Following this act, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines were developed. These are regularly updated standards that help to ensure ADA website compliance.

Who Has to Comply with ADA Requirements?

While the ADA requirements don’t specifically state that they impact all businesses, the wording of their contact actually ensures that they do, in fact, impact everyone. Currently, there are four main umbrella groups that have to follow ADA requirements. These are:

These final two sections ensure that action can be taken against pretty much anyone that creates an online website but doesn’t include accessible features. Considering that the number of individuals and businesses that are being sued for not making their websites accessible is rising, it’s time we all began to think about making our websites accessible.

The list of companies that have been sued has reached the heights of businesses like Amazon and Netflix, showing just how impactful these laws and regulations have been.

Why Should My Website Strive to be Compliant?

Alongside the above reason that if your website isn’t accessible, you’re vulnerable to lawsuits, there are several reasons that you should invest in creating an accessible online space.

Foremost, accessible websites rank better on Google than those that aren’t accessible. In fact, a core part of modern SEO (Search Engine Optimization) touches upon making websites accessible to everyone. This means that if you make your website accessible, you’ll be boosted up the search page rankings.

Partly due to this, by making your website as accessible as possible, you’ll be getting even more traffic to your site. This impact is then intensified when considering that 1.3 billion people worldwide have a disability that affects them when browsing the internet. If you’re looking to directly expand your website’s reach, accommodating this huge number of disabled people online will help boost the success of your business.

Finally, putting financial and success reasons aside, you should simply aim for ADA website compliance because it’s the right thing to do. Everyone has a right to access the internet, and your business should help with this factor. Creating an online space that is accessible to everyone should be one of your top priorities when starting a website for your business.

How Do I Go About Making an ADA Compliant Website

Considering that there are hundreds of regulations to consider when you’re making a website, creating an accessible online space isn’t always the most straightforward process. However, when facing technological challenges, technological solutions arise. Over the past few years, there’s been a shift in the number of online services that offer help when creating an online website.

Automated accessibility tools can be run on your site, automatically resizing, changing fonts, and making sure that colors are more balanced on your site. These automatic changes will cover up to 70% of what needs to be done on the site. These tools will also then put a small disability button onto each page of your website.

When someone with a disability accesses the page, they’ll be able to select their disability using this icon, which will then impact visual changes on the site. Tech tools like these make ADA compliance a breeze, taking out all the work from the equation.

However, if you want to manage ADA compliance yourself, then there are a few key steps you’ll need to follow.

Let’s break these parts down further.

Evaluation

When creating an ADA-compliant website, you should run your website through a program that will tell you where you meet and where you fail the guidelines. As this is the first step in the process, you might fail at first. However, don’t worry, this will help point you in the right direction as you know exactly what you should be working on fixing.

Once you’ve got a list of things that need fixing, you can get to work in the next category.

Graphics

Images and graphics are a large part of navigating online. To make sure that people with disabilities don’t miss out on these aspects, the ADA’s guidelines ensure that they’ll be able to understand them.

In the graphic section, you should ensure that all of your images have a strong Alt text, which will be a short description of what’s happening in a photo. This is so that when a text-to-speech reader arrives at the photo, it can read out what’s occurring in the image for a person that may not be able to see.

Additionally, if you have any moving GIF graphics, they shouldn’t flash more than three times in a second, as this could trigger a seizure in someone browsing the page.

Fonts

Did you know that some fonts are more easily read than others? Fonts like Quicksand, Open Sans, and Georgia are all classified as fonts that are easy to read. Due to this, you should strive to make sure that when you publish a page, the font that you’ve used is reflective of this easy-to-read category.

As the text is pretty much the main focus of a website, this is one of the most essential parts that you’ll have to adapt when making sure that your website follows regulations.

Navigation

Additionally, you should ensure that the structure of your site is logical and navigable by keyboard. Be sure to have a clear system of movement from page to page, with clear markings that dictate how to change pages and how to exit out of a page. An example of this would be a red ‘x’ symbolizing close.

You should also ensure that anyone that accesses your site can move through the different pages by using only their keyboard. Due to the fact that not everyone accessing the internet is going to be using a keyboard and mouse, you should make sure that they can access it using only the tab and enter keys on their keyboard.

Final Thoughts on Designing an ADA Compliant Website

When designing an ADA-compliant website, you should always steadily refine your features, checking them with an ADA tool to ensure that you’ve covered all of your bases. While you can create compliant websites manually, there are a large range of technical tools that will do the process for you currently out there, creating a much easier way of doing this.

Whether you take a manual or an automatic approach to ADA website compliance, you’ll be helping create a fairer online space for everyone.

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