When creating a website, people need to understand that there are many types to choose from. However, having an ADA compliance website is one of your best options. Digital accessibility is essential in this world, but many businesses forget about it. Luckily, you know that having one is the best way to give everyone equal access to the internet.
To learn more about what an ADA-compliant website is, continue reading below.
What Is ADA Compliance on a Website?
ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is one of the most visible and complicated legislatures that Americans have. However, there are many different things that people need to understand to know where their website is ADA-compliant.
ADA Compliance Means Website Accessibility for All
In 1990, the ADA was instituted to help end discrimination based on differing disabilities. Many of the language and ideas came from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was implemented to battle discrimination based on religion, race, sex, or national origin. However, the ADA went further, so people needed to make accommodations for employees who had disabilities.
After the ADA went into effect, people began to notice more wheelchair ramps everywhere, accessible washrooms, and many other things that are not considered normal in America. However, the internet was a topic that no one knew would snowball into what it is today and would also need businesses to make accommodations for many people.
Are There Any Web Content Accessibility Guidelines?
Like with every other piece of legislature, the ADA has had a complicated and confusing relationship with the internet. Nothing says that businesses need to have an accessible website for all to use. It went under review in 2008, but web accessibility was never a topic people discussed. This is why the law begins to struggle when people are trying to determine if a site needs to be ADA-compliant.
The ADA states that any owner, operator, or lessor needs to ensure that every public place can accommodate everyone and meet ADA standards. With this knowledge, it is understandable that people would assume that this thought process would translate to the online world. However, it is a grey area that many legal people will struggle to handle.
Across America, it has been said that ADA compliance needs to be followed by businesses online because these are also public places. Also, other cases talk about how web accessibility should only be thought of if the website represents a physical location. There have been accessibility lawsuits like the case against Winn-Dixie Supermarket, and the chain lost because the site was not accessible to people with low vision.
However, other people believe ADA website compliance for an online website does not need to happen. There are no federal laws about ADA compliance and the digital accessibility of a website, which is why there is no clear-cut answer to this question.
The problem didn’t stop there because the U.S. is looking to adopt more accessibility requirements that will continue to confuse everything else. In January 2018, it was said that all federal websites needed to be following set guidelines that are the basis of website accessibility in Europe. However, this was pulled back by the current administration, which has left the equal access digital waters murky.
Should You Think About Web Accessibility for Your Website?
If you want to add assistive technologies on your website for disabled users because you think it is mandatory, then you should know that it is not. However, many states have added accessibility laws, and many website accessibility cases have been filed. Many people have been successful during these cases compared to previous years. That is also because there are no clear definitions that people should follow, which is why many companies will look at ADA compliance and put it on the website just to air on the side of caution.
However, since there are no regulations, how can people tell if their website is ADA compliant? The best way to do this is if they were to look at the WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines and make a decision from there.
This is because these have been the accessibility principles used throughout Europe since 1999. These are only recommended actions for ADA accessibility compliance on a website. Still, they are great for people to follow to ensure that they create a safe digital space for everyone.
What Accessibility Issues Should People Think About?
ADA compliance is tricky because many people may not know where to start. However, the WCAG guidelines have created the acronym POUR, which will help people achieve ADA compliance. This might be through assistive technologies.
- Perceivable: This might be an issue someone has when finding and processing the information on a website. A way to combat this would be to have audio descriptions for videos.
- Operable: A person having trouble navigating and using a website might need assistance. The way to combat this would be to ensure that all operating systems on the website can be used with a keyboard and a mouse.
- Understandable: Some people may find it challenging to discern and comprehend everything on a website, which is why companies can change this by creating error messages that clearly state the problem and how to fix it.
- Robust: Electronic and information technology have changed so much that people should have a website that will continue to adapt and evolve to meet the person’s changing needs. This is where people should test screen readers with their website because it should be able to read everything fine.
How the Americans with Disabilities Act will continue to remain vague regarding accessibility guidelines for the online world does not mean that people shouldn’t receive it when they head to a site. Also, many American courts will side with people with disabilities regarding public accommodation online.
Lastly, even though people only use the WCAG as a guideline, it is the best thing to do regarding online accessibility. Every person who uses the website will appreciate that people are taking the extra time and effort to create a website for them.
ADA Compliant Website Checker
Below is the checklist that people should consider when creating a website for people with disabilities to use.
- Everyone should read the law documents.
- There needs to be an ALT tag for every media file and map.
- Any online forms should have descriptive HTML tags.
- Hyperlinks need to have descriptive anchor text.
- Every page on a site should have a skip navigation link.
- Text content should be structured with heading tags.
- PDF files need to be accessible.
- Videos should have audio descriptions, transcripts, and subtitles.
- Color contrast needs to be according to the WCAG.
- Fonts should be made accessible.
- HTML tables should have row identifiers, column headers, and cell information.
- Audio files need to have a written caption.
- Any call-to-action buttons should have an accessible name.
- An accessible web design means that it should be navigated through a keyboard as well.
- An accessibility policy should be made on the website.
- Contact information should be easy to find.
- Always test a website with the guidelines.
- Automating a website will help with finding any critical issues.
Accessibility Legislation and Guidelines that Will Achieve ADA Compliance
All government websites follow the WCAG 2.1 guidelines, which were last updated in 2018. Many different changes have been put into the legislation that people can use to help address any web content that needs to be fixed for screen readers and more.
However, there are many different things that people will need to take note of to ensure that they follow the guidelines set in place by WCAG 2.1.
When writing content for a website, there are a few things people need to ensure that people use it properly. This will also help screen readers translate everything to the person without any problems.
People with screen readers will appreciate content that can be read easily. This means that headings are used properly, and there are heading tags throughout the website. A logical hierarchy should be used when it comes to setting titles up because it gives everything structure.
Everything should be easy to read and follow. People with disabilities may struggle with cognitive function, which is why the website should be easy to scan. Every sentence should be short and to the point.
This is also where having bullet points, summary sections, and bolded keywords will come in handy because it makes it easier for people to scan. There is no need for any complicated words.
Linking to other web pages is great for search engine optimization, but people should not put just ‘Click Here’ and hope that people with disabilities will know what that means. Instead, a descriptive link should be made so that it is clear to screen readers and people with other visual impairments.
Web content might be linked to PDFs, Word documents, or PowerPoints, but these all must be made accessible. There is a way to create accessible files for people to use, and there might be an accessibility checker that can help with that.
A design that follows accessibility legislation will help people with disabilities use the website.
There are three ways that people can make their videos more accessible:
- Subtitles: All videos should have subtitles used. This helps people with hearing disabilities, but it is great for when people are watching something in a crowded area.
- Transcripts: A text version should be available if there is any speech in a video. This should be a descriptive transcript that describes what is happening in the video.
- Audio Descriptions: A speech version of a descriptive transcript is great for blind people or other people with visual disabilities.
There should be ALT text for every image and a short picture description. This is the information people with disabilities will read when they come across it, which is why file numbers should not be there.
Around 4% of the world’s population has some form of colorblindness, which means that if a website uses colors to communicate information, then this might be lost to them. Text and background colors may blend if the right colors are not picked. That is why sizing, icons, and whitespace should be used to help with communication.
Sans serif fonts are the easiest to read, which is why accessible websites use them. Also, size 12 should be used.
Public accommodation for the digital world is important because it will help increase conversions and helps people think about the four types of disabilities. Marketers will think about the following three things when building a website.
People with visual or motor disabilities will use the keyboard to help navigate a website. A website must ensure people can access all the navigational elements without a problem.
Form and Table Labels
Labels need to be everywhere when making a form. This is because screen readers will know the name of each field, so the person does not forget to add any critical information.
A call to action is critical for marketing, but they need to be accessible. These buttons should have an accessible name, usually text on the button.
Provide Equal Access with Finepoint Design and Marketing
Working with the right marketing agency will help every business create the website they need. That is why people continue to work with Finepoint Design and Marketing. We are a Michigan-based web design company that works with businesses all over the United Sates. The team is filled with knowledgeable, passionate, and experienced members who will always work hard to ensure every client is happy. You can contact us any time with your website and ADA compliant questions.
Also, the team knows what it takes to make a website that is accessible to everyone. This will not only help with search rankings but also be a great way to stand out from the crowd. Even though many big companies are beginning to implement these strategies into their website, it does not mean it is being done correctly.
Working with the right team will ensure that every website page is made with care so people are treated equally and fairly.
ADA compliance makes people create a website that everyone can use. That is why companies continue to evolve and create an online presence that everyone can join in on. Overall, having an accessible website is the right thing to do.