ADA Compliance on the Web Guide

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There’s more to a website than nice content and a pretty design. Website development companies and businesses alike need to ensure their website meets the needs and demands of all consumers, including ones with disabilities. There are specific requirements that website should meet, such as being ADA compliant.

TM Senior Developer Josh Bourke and Developer Scott Lambert chat with Digital Marketing Coordinator Jailyn about having an ADA compliant website and some tools you can use today to get your website closer to those specifications.

ADA Compliant

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination. This law applies to all websites, including those specific to state and local government, public and private spaces, building codes, transportation, telecommunication, and much more.

The act was initiated in 1990 to protect individuals with hearing and vision impairments. Website development agencies, like TM, have the follow certain guidelines like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). There are four top guidelines to follow:

ADA Features

Perceivable

All non-text content should have a text alternative (alt tag) that serves an equivalent purpose. Individuals should be able to hover the image and describes what the image is. For example, a clothing retail company should be able to explain each item with a descriptive alt tag if individuals are searching through Google Shopping.

Design and content should also be distinguishable. Companies should tone down their brand color scheme to make sure the colors are not overwhelming for their users. Videos should include video captions and features to allow the pausing of any auto-play audio.

“You want to make sure you are reaching all people.” – Scott Lambert

Operable

Companies should make sure that your website functions correctly. Individuals should be able to use keywords to navigate through ADA compliant websites. Tabbing through forms logically creates an easier experience for all users.

Focus order is another important aspect of this feature. Website menus and page content should be clear, understandable, and straightforward for individuals. Users shouldn’t have to guess what’s next and get confused by the order that content is in.

Understandable

All text content should be simple for both humans and computers to read and understand. Once language is established by adding a language tag to the website code, the text can be translated and becomes universal to everyone who reads it. The website’s navigation should also be predictable.

Robust

Companies should put in place ADA practices to ensure the code is understandable to screen readers. A screen reader is a form of assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. It helps them have a regular experience with the web by incorporating text-to-speech, sound icons, and more.

Absolute positioning allows you to move elements based on top, left, right, or bottom values around the document. This helps with the positioning of content and website items programmed on the website.

Tools & Resources

Scott recommends these developer tools to use to make sure you have an ADA compliant website:

For experienced developers

  1. AXE Accessibility Plugin
  2. Chrome Accessibility Test/web.dev (website)

For beginners

  1. WAVE Evaluation tool
  2. Lighthouse

General resources

  1. Web AIM
  2. ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications)

Not Sure if Your Website is ADA Compliant?

TM can review and help come up with a plan of action to make sure your website is ADA compliant. Set up a free consultation with us today.

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