What Criteria Website Should Have To Be Recognized as ADA Compliant
In the age of digital technology, it is important for businesses to follow certain guidelines in developing their brands’ websites. Now, you might ask, what exactly is ADA? Well, it is an acronym for Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. Obviously, the world wide web, as its nature as a public space, is not exempt from this. In this post, everything you need to know about website ADA compliance should be.
Maintaining an ADA-compliant website provides needed special accommodations for prospective customers particularly for people with disabilities. Content on the web should be readily accessible to the hearing and visually impaired, people with difficulties in their motor skills, and those that need assistive technologies to navigate through the internet realm. Non-fulfillment of creating a ADA-compliant website could lead to financial liabilities, lawsuits, and overall harm to your brand reputation.
Because the ADA does not provide a clear set of guidelines for website compliance, a lot of website designers and managers follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It is a reference for businesses considering enhancing their digital accessibility. The WCAG has three versions: 1.0, 2.0, and 2.1. Version 2.0 is a replacement for the first version while 2.1 is an addition to 2.0. To add, there are three levels of conformance: A (bare minimum level of accessibility), AA (target level of accessibility meeting legal requirements), and AAA (exceeds accessibility requirements).
The WCAG guidelines guarantee that your website and its contents are:
Sight, sound, and touch are the three main senses that the guidelines can help with. The WCAG 2.0 can ensure that users can perceive every content on your website.
Navigation on your website should be easy to operate and have support for assistive technologies.
Avoid unusual and inconsistent functions on your website. Use clear and easy to understand terms instead of jargons, and have simple instructions.
Your website content must be easily interpreted by or adapt to various devices and platforms.
In addition to these principles, here are other concrete ways to address accessibility issues regarding your website:
Make sure your website is properly configured to allow the use of assistive technologies such as speech recognition software, screen readers, mouth sticks, to name a few.
Use alt tags for multimedia content
Through alt tags, users with disabilities may read or hear alternate interpretations of content that they would not be able to access otherwise. Alt tags identify the object and the role it plays on the website.
Create a consistent, organized layout
Menus, links, and buttons should be arranged so that they are easily distinguishable from one another and can be conveniently navigated across the web.
Consider color layouts and choose them wisely. Bright colors may be too intense for people with increased photosensitivity. Having contrast lines will be helpful for people with color blindness in interpreting the visuals on the website.
Create text transcripts for video and audio content
Text transcripts will aid hearing-impaired visitors on your website to understand content that would be inaccessible to them otherwise.
There are various ways businesses can produce a website that is accessible for users with disabilities. Consulting lawyers or web design agencies who know their way with disability law is a must for businesses concerned about ADA compliance, but if you are considering working on it on your own or with your internal team, reading the ADA requirements is a crucial first step.