ADA Compliance Website Accessibility Checklist for 2021… and beyond

  • 25.11.2021
ADA Compliance Website Accessibility Checklist for 2021… and beyond   In the year 1990, the US government passed a law called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It mandates that products and services offered by public sector businesses are accessible to people with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities.   Considering the rapid use of technology, the government passed another law in the year 2010 and announced certain guidelines for Website ADA Compliance. In a nutshell, it implies that every organization provides web-based solutions by adhering to the ADA guidelines or else they face legal penalties.   Technical Standards for ADA Compliance To prevent financial loss as well as reputational damage, business organizations started considering a website accessibility checklist. The first step to ensure accessibility compliance is to refer to the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) which are prepared using the globally shared standards of accessibility for web based solutions.   WCAG documents are intended to be used by developers and accessibility evaluation experts, and anyone referring to web accessibility standards. The technical standards are explained in three releases, i.e. WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1 and the recently published WCAG 2.2. It is suggested that a developer should consider the most recent version to ensure the utmost compliance. To summarize, the guidelines (the older versions and the newly released) include the following accessibility factors:  
  1. Navigation: Every element including the text, images and the code of a webpage should be developed in a way that it confirms the latest guidelines for navigable web content. Users should be able to easily find where they are and how to navigate further. It might include development factors like page breaks, dragging movements, additional navigation methods, or screen magnifiers.
  2. Appearance: While using a web-based technology, the user should be able to clearly identify the focus indicators. The guidelines define the level of visibility with regards to contrast and minimum area of the focus indicators. For instance, the level of contrast should be adequate and discerning enough for the focused and non-focused components.
  3. User inputs: Users with mobility impairments should be able to easily input the information or operate the website. There are certain guidelines for assistive inputs and support functionality for minimizing the errors, for instance, redundant errors or mistakes during password entries.
  Why is it necessary to meet Website ADA compliance standards?   Creating ADA compliant websites is great to keep the risks of legal recourse minimal. Besides, adhering to the law would make a great difference to your business. A few convincing reasons to ensure Website ADA Compliance are listed below, have a look:
  1. Wide reach: With accessible content, you can easily reach a wider segment of the target demographic, including the 26% of the population that is disabled and using the internet.
  1. Streamlined SEO: With an ADA compliant website you are rewarded by Google and adhering to the WCAG standards is helpful to enhance your organic SEO efforts. It makes your website authentic and credible, which in turn crawls your webpages on SERP rankings so that you can reach more possible customers and clients.
  1. Reputational benefit: Your brand identity strengthens by adhering to the law. Compliance with the accessibility guidelines enables you to win the trust of your potential buyers as well as vendors who prefer to conduct business with compliant partners.
  1. Profitability: With increased usability and improved SEO rankings, your business would also reap the benefits of maximized sales and increased profitability.
  How to meet WCAG 2? WCAG ensures that your web-based content is ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’. Using the WCAG 2 resources, a business owner or a developer can create a compliant solution. The techniques to confirm the WCAG standards can be implemented in three levels of success criteria, i.e. A (minimum compliance), AA (mid-range compliance) and AAA (fully compliant). For all web-based information, it is recommended to at least aim for AA level of conformance. To meet these levels, it is indeed an ideal solution to have a Website Accessibility Checklist.   WCAG 2.2 Checklist for ADA compliant Websites Website content is a meaningful sequence of your key performance indicators. It is the digital face of your business. To make it easily accessible, SEO friendly and legally protected, you may consider the following tips to create the accessibility checklist:  
  1. Titles: Use relevant titles and headers that are easy to understand for users.
  2. Text: The webpage should not be populated with long paragraphs. Use CMS wisely to distinguish the information using easy-to-read bullets and font faces. Users should be able to resize the text to 200%.
  3. Color: High contrast schemes or the ratio of 4.5:1 with the background color are considered perceivable for the disabled.
  4. Images: As widely known, use alt text but make sure it’s not just limited to the images on a webpage. There should be alt text for every logo, button or banner to ensure easy access for those using a screen reader.
  5. Multimedia: While using videos, ensure that there are adequate accessibility provisions for the visually impaired and for the users with hearing disabilities. For instance, there should be audio descriptions or text descriptions. Not only this, for a higher level of conformance, a webpage with a multimedia element must have accessible narratives to change the settings of the content. For instance, gesture suggestions to access the video.
  6. Navigation: There should be options to access a website by keyboard or other techniques. Navigation should not be complex and must not be slow. Screen readers can be used by visually impaired users, however, such technology doesn’t work for image based programs like PDF, so consider the factor while considering Website ADA compliance
  7. More: The focus indicators should be clearly visible. Input assistance should be provided to avoid user errors. Minimize the errors of removed or redundant links.
  How to make your website ADA compliant? Referring to the checklist, you can assess your website using the accessibility evaluation tools. Additionally, you can hire a trained auditor to handle this complex task for you while ensuring accurate and detailed results. Software scans are an instant fix, but as they only run at a 30% accuracy rate with the risk of false positives, are not a sufficient solution – for a more reliable and complete assessment it is best to involve human intervention.   Check each page of your website using our Free Accessibility Checker or you can get in touch with our accessibility experts for a more proactive approach towards the latest release of WCAG 2.2. A great way to ensure your digital property is accessible is getting a VPAT. What is VPAT compliance? It is the process of documenting the accessibility of your digital property in an official template called a VPAT.