7 Best Tips to Make Any Website ADA Compliant
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Technology is constantly evolving and changing- especially with the advent of the World Wide Web. Being a public space by technical standards, the internet and web design can fall under some rules and regulations. One of those regulations is website accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It can apply to websites; you as a creator must provide an accessible website that all potential customers can access. However, the ADA and keeping a website ADA compliant can be a little complicated for an everyday internet user.
The Americans with Disabilities Act may have been created for more than just the internet, but it was specifically designed to evolve with time. The range that the ADA covers, then, is broad and ever-spreading. The ADA’s bottom line is that it encompasses all domains considered ‘places of public accommodation,’ flexible language that means your website- being public domain- falls under it. These days, the ADA in the web context means keeping your website free of accessibility issues for all users that may come across it. The ADA, being a wide net of accessibility regulations, is complex and ever-evolving. So how do you go about having an accessible website compliant to the ADA and immune to any lawsuits?
Here are some simple tips on how to make a website ADA compliant.
The guideline is comprehensive and offers a great place to start in making your website ADA compliant. The WCAG has three levels: A, AA, and AAA, which all encompass different levels of ADA compliance, from the most basic to the more complicated. Keep in mind that your website should aim to meet Level A and Level AA requirements at the very least. Adhering to these levels will keep you from running into any legal trouble down the line.
The main principles of the WCAG are as follows:
Following this criterion set by the WCAG is a good way to gauge your website’s ADA compliance.
These criteria for web accessibility are then separated further into the three levels mentioned earlier: Level A, the minimum; Level AA, the mid-range level; and finally, Level AAA, the highest level.
Level A (minimum) – Counting the most basic web accessibility features, which sets a minimum level of accessibility but not broad enough to encompass more situations.
Level AA (mid-range) – Includes the broader and more common barriers for people with disabilities.
Level AAA (highest) – Being the highest level of accessibility for online content, it is difficult to satisfy this criterion because not all content types can meet the AAA level.
ADA website compliance boils down to ensuring all the aspects of your website- text, design, video, or audio- conform with the technical guidelines laid down by the WCAG.
Alternative text or alt text is used by screen readers and assistive technology to describe your website’s elements to your users. This is useful for sight-impaired users and is a general requirement for any website.
iii. Make your website design elements, including headings, page titles, and buttons, accessible to all. The ADA is created to make sure all users that may come across your web content, especially disabled users, can access all the elements of your website at any time. This includes color use, font size, and audio and video content. The 2021 ADA Web Compliance Checklist covers this comprehensively. Still, the basics of that checklist are broken down into the levels in the WCAG 2.1 to enumerate the requirements for web accessibility further.
The checklist is as follows:
Level A Compliance Checklist
Level AA Compliance Checklist
To make your website ADA compliant includes keeping your content simple to help your users scan the content of it easier. The text must be broken up into headings and sub-headings, correctly punctuated, and all abbreviations and acronyms should be punctuated with periods for readability. Take the initiative to audit your website against the best practices to make sure it can meet the criteria.
Get an expert to audit your website’s code and its CSS to make sure that the best practices are being utilized and to make sure you have clean, up-to-date code. Your website must adhere to the law, of course, but it should also be completely functional and not have any holes in its code. After all, what is your website if it is not usable at the most basic level?
Available from Google, the WAVE Tool on Chrome is a great tool easily used to look for any issues, including and not limited to alt tags, styles, and site elements.
To make a website accessible to individuals with disabilities, it’s important to label all forms on your site properly. Screen readers cannot work properly without carefully assessed labels to determine the functions on your site. Adding to this, pages on your site should be easily visited and found at any time of use. An ADA compliant website should be usable even without a mouse, with all elements accessible by moving the focus in a logical order.
With these tips to make your website ADA compliant in hand, web design with accessibility in mind could feel a little less intimidating. However, manual checking of your content for ADA compliance for people with disabilities can still be a daunting task.
That’s where ADA Compliance Pros can help. You can work with experienced, certified professionals who can identify all the liability risks on your website and provide cost-effective solutions for meeting all ADA requirements.
Visit our website at adacompliancepros.com today to find out what we can do for your web content.