If your business has an online presence in the form of a website, now you need to make sure that it is accessible to able and disabled people equally. Website accessibility is about making sure that people with disabilities can access your digital property in a way that is substantively similar to someone without disabilities. This article includes an ADA compliance website guide to help you design your site to meet the needs of all your visitors.
Why You Need To FollowADA Guidelines for Websites
- Were you aware that 13 percent of Americans in the age group of 12 years and above have hearing loss? They aren’t able to hear spoken words or catchy music played on videos.
- 26.9 million adults suffer from some form of vision loss which prevents them from clearly seeing images on a website. They are unable to gain a full understanding of your services or products if you use images as part of your explanation.
- ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations guide companies to use standard coding practices when using a website to communicate with what we like to call stakeholders (meaning anyone who wants to use a website).
- The original Americans with Disabilities Act addressed the discriminatory practices specifically related to physical locations. The application of Regulations to websites only started in 2009. Many websites are now required to conform to accessibility guidelines so that individuals with disabilities can easily access information in the online space.
ADA Compliance- What is it?
In1990, U.S. President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which began its focus on discontinuing discrimination that applied to people with various disabilities. The ADA made it illegal to treat individuals with disabilities unjustly.
This Act affected jobs, transportation, and public buildings, to give individuals with disabilities the opportunity for complete and equal access. Private and public organizations that meet the criteria of being a “public accommodation” must follow ADA Guidelines at their physical business locations and online locations too.
Dangers of Not Following ADA Guidelines for Websites
A non-compliant site puts your company at risk for expensive lawsuits (with statutory penalties) and long, drawn-out legal battles. In 2018, there were 10,163 Title III ADA website suits filed in federal courts in the U.S. In 2019, that number had risen to 10,206. ADA lawsuits often cost the defending company far more than just the legal fees. The lawsuits can also damage your reputation, brand, sales, and profitability.
If you do not have any experience working with people with disabilities, it’s often challenging to figure out how to make a website ADA compatible. This is why you need clear ADA compliance guidelines to help your design and code your website. There are different types of assistive technologies that help people surf the web, and they use tools such as screen readers, magnifiers, optical character readers, and text readers. When you update your business site, make sure it is compatible with all these tools.
Checklist for an ADA-Compliant Website
If you’re launching a new business website, ensure it’s in line with all the compliance standards before you make it go live. If you have an existing website, work with an ADA compliance auditor to perform an ADA Website Audit make sure it is accessible. Some points to follow include:
- Website Presentation. Determine whether the design is complicated and if visitors will be able to adjust it to different screen sizes and devices.
- Text. Make sure to use larger fonts. It’s crucial to give users the ability to adjust the fonts, text color, and image sizes with a browser tool. The ADA rule for web page resizing is up to 200% of all the original content size. The website text has to be readable when enlarged.
- Subheadings. Use the hierarchy in subheadings within all web page content.
- Maintain Consistency in Labels. Use the same tags and labels for identical elements.
- Focus on the Code. It’s challenging to navigate a site that has error pages, broken links, and HTML errors. Use quality website coding to avoid similar issues.
- Layout Consistency. Maintain a consistent layout throughout the site and make sure you utilize the same framework for all the pages.
You can find a detailed checklist and guidelines for accessible websites on the U.S. government’s ADA website.
Provide Adequate Customer Support
ADA compliance guidelines for websites also state that you need to provide support for disabled users and make it straightforward for users to submit their feedback. Some other things to pay attention to are:
- Address all concerns as a crucial aspect of customer service.
- Be willing to alter things when needs or rules aren’t met.
- Be proactive in your effort and ask users with disabilities to test your website. Ask them for suggestions on different ways to improve it.
- Get the site regularly audited to guarantee that you meet all the ADA compliance guidelines for websites.
This is a complex task, and it’s best to leave ADA compatible website development to experts. For information about our ADA website compliance services, feel free to contact us at 310-437-8185 or use our website Contact form.