Why does your website need to be ADA Compliant?

So you’ve had your company website built, and it’s feature-rich and aesthetically pleasing, as well as offering all the information website visitors are looking for.

Maybe you didn’t know that there are some types of disabilities that may make it difficult for some to properly access, view, and utilize your website and that’s okay.

It’s something that tends to be out of mind when focusing on all the other aspects of website design.

However, it is advisable that you ensure your website is, in fact, ADA compliant; and if it isn’t, make the necessary adjustment as quicky as possible.

If you don’t, you not only risk losing potential customers and clients who are unable to use your website, but you also open yourself to the risk of a lawsuit.

(Before we start: if you’re looking for help with accessible web design or ADA-standard web development, we can help.)

And then someone asks you if website is ADA, and your mind goes blank as you ponder the answer.

What Does ADA Compliant Mean?

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that commercial and public entities provide access and accommodation for individuals with a range of disabilities.

That’s why nearly every establishment you frequent will have handicapped parking spaces, wheelchair ramps, and bathrooms that can accommodate individuals with disabilities.

In 2010, the law was amended to include websites as well, since they were also classified as a “place of public accommodation.”

However, according to the current standards, you may be wondering if your website needs to be ADA compliant.

The answer is: probably. Let’s dive in.

How Do I Make My Website ADA Compliant?

The final standards for website accessibility have yet to be officially released (the standards are expected sometime in 2018).

However, there is a current standard that businesses can utilize as a guideline the WCAG 2.0 level AA technical requirements.

Established in cọnunction with Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), these standards serve as a highly useful reference tool.

Additionally, the guidelines also showcase exactly how some disabilities may affect people when they try to view your website and what steps you can take to ensure interaction.

Consider taking the following steps to ensure your website ADA compliant:

1. Make Sure the HTML is Accessible & Clean

Proper HTML utilizes meta descriptions, title tags, bulleted lists, and other components that ensure visually impaired individuals can easily locate items on the web pages, and those screen readers can efficiently locate and read the content.

2. Offer Text Alternatives

If your website includes graphics and videos that display pertinent information, you’ll need to include text alternatives for those that may not be able to effectively view the multimedia.

3. Offer a Simplified Version of Your Website

Understandably, you are proud of how our website looks, but offering a simplified version can make it easier for individuals with a variety of disabilities to easily find content and navigate the site. Simply separating the content into different sections in a basic layout can make things much easier for many.

4. Offer a High Contrast Option

Individuals with visual impairments can often read a web page better if the contrast is high. You can design your website with this in mind, or offer an option for pages that can be viewed in higher contrast.

5. Avoid Flashing Graphics