Is My Website ADA Compliant? -Find Tips and Tricks to Check Here
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Creating a website is no easy task. Creating a website for a business or service can be even trickier. Why? Because businesses and service websites fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Determining what makes a website ADA compliant can be complex, but with some tips and tricks at your disposal, you can start your own quick audit process to see if your site complies with the standards the ADA sets.
To start with, the ADA covers all ‘places of public accommodation,’ which can be interpreted to include websites. Web accessibility means keeping your site ADA compliant as well. Creating an online presence for your business or service means that your content is available to any user on the World Wide Web- effectively making it public use or a place of public accommodation. Ultimately, that means website accessibility should be one of your greatest priorities when building your website.
Keeping your website ADA compliant comes down to ensuring all your site elements- including text, interface, and media like video or audio, even live media- conform to the guidelines laid down by the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines checklist the WCAG. The flexible language of the ADA means that it encompasses a website or service. Making your site ADA compliant is important for many facets of your business, not just the legal side.
While the ADA is the legal requirement for website compliance, website accessibility is measured against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Making your site optimized to work with existing assistive technology is the reason why the WCAG exists in the first place. The extensive checklist that the WCAG provides checks if your content is accessible to all users, especially people with disabilities.
Web content misdesigned can not only stop users with disabilities from utilizing your site, but it can hurt your business and put up walls between you and your potential customers. Prioritizing accessibility, particularly for state and local government sites, is very important as those sites especially act as information wells for their respective communities. That same well of information can act as a bridge between pockets of their communities.
WCAG has four main principles, each focusing on a list of criteria that assesses ADA compliance.
These criteria for website accessibility are then further separated into three levels to break down the degrees of accessibility.
While the WCAG and the levels of web accessibility it covers can be broad, breaking down some of those items on the checklist in the most general tips can help you understand those requirements better. Here are some simple tips on making a website ADA compliant, based on some of the most important aspects of the WCAG.
Alternative text or alt text is used by screen readers and assistive technology to describe your website’s elements to your users. Text is one of the most important web design elements and is one of the things that can make your website accessible. This is useful for sight-impaired users and is a general requirement for any website.
If you are creating a website accessible to people and avoid accessibility lawsuits, you should make sure to test that all visual elements on the page do not flash more than three times per second, as this can trigger a physical reaction for individuals with epilepsy or other similar conditions. Take the initiative to protect your users and customers by keeping elements that can be hazardous off your web design.
Screen readers often have the most difficulty translating forms on websites, as the data is not always formatted for the easiest interpretation of the most accurate through assistive technology. Web accessibility means that visual cues and clearly identified labels are used to indicate where information is on your forms. There should also be a function to allow any individuals reading your site’s forms with a screen reader to be notified when information that they input is incorrect or correct. Finally, there should also be a method to notify the user when the information has been inputted successfully or if an error has occurred.
Poorly formatted visual elements can be one of the biggest hurdles to having an ADA compliant website. Things like poor color contrast or bad text layout can get in the way of making your website adhere to the standards set by the WCAG. Make sure to properly format your visual elements, define them all clearly, and simplify the visuals as much as possible while making sure all design factors like color contrast and text readability are easily understood, regardless of all users’ visual or cognitive impairments.
Navigation on your website should not be limited to only functioning with a mouse or tablet cursor. Some users have their online navigation limited to keyboard use only. Approximately 98 percent of website menus that exist right now are not fully accessible via keyboards, making them fall out of ADA compliance. Don’t let your website fall into the same problems and include keyboard navigation in your web design. Some common ways of using keyboard navigation tools include using the Escape key to close menus and exit pages. The tab key should allow users to shift between page elements or navigation buttons, and the Enter key should interact with dropdown menus buttons by confirming a user’s choice.
As a basic design principle for more than just websites, check if your website has any redundant or broken content. After all, nothing can turn off a user and turn away a potential customer faster than a website that looks poorly assembled with broken or empty links and chunks of text or images that appear more than once on a single page. Go over the elements of your website with a fine-toothed comb, so to speak, either by carefully doing this by yourself or enlisting the help of an ADA compliance website audit service.
With these tips in your arsenal, the process of checking to see if your website is within ADA compliance, at least on a surface level. But testing to see if your website is ADA compliant can include many technical bits and pieces that a layperson can have some trouble with. There is a long list of exactly how to make your website ADA compliant, and while it is intimidating to tackle that by yourself, you don’t have to.
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.