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Introduction

An ADA-compliant website will not only help protect your business against lawsuits and fines but also provide accommodations needed for potential customers with disabilities.

Prioritizing website accessibility has the following impact:

  • Increases site visits and traffic
  • Improves a site’s search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Secures legal best practices

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990. It guarantees people with disabilities the same right as everyone else to enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services, and participate in state and local government programs.

The Act requires certain businesses to make specific accommodations for people with disabilities.

What is ADA website Compliance?

ADA website compliance applies to the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design.

In September 2010, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.

It requires that all electronic information and technology on your website to be accessible to those with disabilities.

Why should your website be ADA compliant?

People with disabilities comprise 26% of the U.S. adult population and over one billion people worldwide, so the decision to ensure accessibility to online content and services is first of all one of inclusivity and ethics.

Investing in accessibility also brings other benefits, including reducing the legal risk of an ADA-related lawsuit, improving your search optimization and overall user experience, strengthening your brand, and reaching a consumer audience with billions in spending power.

Is ADA compliance mandatory for my website?

At the moment, there are no clear website accessibility guidelines specified by the ADA.

Organizations are encouraged to use the WCAG 2.0 level AA guidelines as a guide on how to become accessible until the DOJ defines the regulations.

Many states have also adopted their own accessibility laws, and the volume of ADA web accessibility-related lawsuits has skyrocketed in recent years.

With no clearly defined regulations to follow, it is probably not worth it for most companies to gamble that a court will rule in their favor.

ADA Compliance Checklist for websites

  1. Follow WCAG guidelines: The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) has four main principles, each focusing on a list of criteria that assesses ADA compliance.
  • Perceivable – Is the information and the site interface presented so that users can easily perceive it and its contents?
  • Operable – Is the website’s user interface and web navigation user-friendly and clearly operable?
  • Understandable – Is the site’s content and its user interface’s operation easy to understand and use at first glance?
  • Robust – Lastly, is the website adaptable to the myriad of browsers and assistive technologies its users might be utilizing, even after steady updates?

2. Add alt text to images: If images are used, including photos, graphics, scanned images, or image maps, make sure to include text equivalents for them, using “alt” tags and/or long descriptions for each. Ensure that the text equivalents convey the meaningful information presented visually by the image.

3. Add captions to video content: Ensure that videos appearing on your website include appropriately synchronized audio description and captions. This is a great way to ensure people with hearing impairments can engage with your video content.

4. Use sufficient colour contrast: People with low vision or colour blindness find it difficult to view specific colour contrasts. Make it easier for people with vision impairments to separate foreground from background content by using sufficient colour contrast.

5. Check HTML code: Check the HTML of all new webpages. Make sure that accessible elements are used, including “alt” tags, long descriptions, and captions, as needed.

6. Make forms accessible: People with vision and cognitive impairments cannot navigate forms online if they do not have descriptive labels. Make online forms accessible by providing descriptive labels, clear instructions, error alerts, and keyboard-only access for form fields.

7. Provide keyboard-only navigation: People with hearing and visual impairments and mobility issues rely on their keyboards to navigate websites rather than a mouse. Make sure people with disabilities can easily navigate your website using a keyboard.

8. Organize your website logically: People with disabilities find it difficult to navigate a website that has no logical order of pages and elements. Use logical and intuitive navigation order of links, form elements, headings, etc. to help users find content and determine where they are.

9. Use the right fonts: Build your website using the right fonts to help visually impaired visitors to read the information on your website.

10. Help users report accessibility issues: Provide an accessible form, a telephone number, and email address on your home page for visitors to report any accessibility issues on your website.

Need help to test your website for accessibility and compliance?

When it comes to making your website and web content accessible to all, there is a lot to tick on the checklist. If you are unsure of where to start, codemantra can help you to make your website and digital content like PDFs, Word, Excel, etc. accessible to people with disabilities and compliant with ADA and WCAG standards.

With our ADA compliance services, we can help you optimize your website and content to ensure it complies with ADA standards.

To get started, get in touch with us at 1-800-769-9715 or email us at engage@codemantra.com to speak to our expert accessibility professionals.

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