There’s a strong possibility you’ve heard of the terms “website accessibility” and “ADA website compliance” because they are increasingly used in the internet business world.
But many individuals are still unaware of what ADA website compliance actually entails or how it may affect a company.
I’ll untangle the complexity, walk you through the process of making sure your website complies with the ADA, and explain why it’s important.
The Meaning of ADA Website Compliance
The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was enacted in 1990, is referred to as the “ADA.” It was modified in 2009 to clarify which businesses must abide by ADA rules and to broaden the category of disabilities.
People with disabilities now have fair and equal access to housing, employment, transit, and other facets of daily life thanks to the law.
Access to online services is part of that, but there is some ambiguity around which websites must be ADA-compliant because they weren’t as common when the law was enacted.
What Exactly Does ADA Website Compliance Mean?
The short answer is that ADA compliance ensures that people with disabilities may access your site.
By enabling access to online material, such as blog posts, videos, and online services, for users who use screen readers or keyboard-only access, websites can really be said to comply with the Americans. On how to achieve that, more later.
Who Must Comply with ADA Website Requirements?
All companies are not obligated to adhere to ADA website compliance standards. Those needed to do this are:
- Local and state governments
- Private companies with more than 15 employees
- Charities and nonprofits with more than 15 staff
- Businesses that depend on or profit from the public (basically, any place the public enters regularly)
- But even if your company isn’t on that list, compliance is still something you need to be concerned about.
Making sure that everyone gets fair and equal access to your website should be your aim. After all, having a larger audience is always beneficial and might even win you some favor with the general public!
Guidelines for Accessible Web Content
Compliance is not an easy task. It’s difficult, it’s not necessary, and nobody else is doing it, right? Why then bother?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any plug-and-play apps or services that instantly make you compliant. If only everything were that simple.
Keep in mind that while compliance is a process, it is not impossible. Follows these steps
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), serve as a benchmark for businesses’ websites.
The WCAG concluded that a website must be the following in order to be compliant:
- But what does that actually mean?
No part of a perceivable website is restricted to one sense, such as vision or sight, making it simple to access and analyze. That entails making use of elements like the alt text for photos. In a way that screen readers can comprehend, this text describes what’s in an image.
Additionally, you should offer alternate methods of consuming content, such as webinars, videos, and transcripts for podcasts and other audio content. Additionally, since many websites employ faulty automatic text, you should make sure your videos have properly closed captioned.
Using audio descriptions on videos, which describe what’s happening in a video during pauses, is an option if you want to take it a step further, but it takes time and isn’t required by law. Simply put, it’s a good gesture.
Your website must be functional in order for users to traverse it without missing anything.
The website should be accessible with a keyboard or mouse, free of automatic scrolling or usability time restrictions, and with page titles that are easy to understand. Additionally, it must be simple for adaptive technologies like touchscreens and screen readers to operate.
Additionally, make sure your website doesn’t set off any physical triggers (such as using a strobe light that could cause migraines or seizures).
Users can recognize the language and read the content with ease on a website if it is clearly understood.
Without spending a lot of time getting to know the layout, they ought to be able to comprehend and anticipate it. For instance, the location of the search bar on each page should be the same. Additionally, it implies that all forms provide helpful validation errors and input assistance that clearly outlines what the form asks for.
Last but not least, a robust website is compatible with all browsers, assistive technologies, and other methods of accessing web material.
Your website needs to adapt as technology does. For instance, your website is not robust if it can only be accessed on a desktop using Internet Explorer or if a screen reader cannot understand it. All users can browse websites that comply with these requirements, making them ADA-compliant.