Recently, we’ve had a number of our clients asking us about ADA website compliance. Apparently, legal teams around the United States are preparing for lawsuits relating to ADA complaints. But let’s turn that into something somewhat more positive. What if I told you that your company could be reaching 12% more clients online with only a few changes to your website? That’s right. The American Community Survey showed that the number of people who have disabilities in the U.S. in 2016 was 12.8%. And this statistic is unfortunately rising.
The Americans with Disabilities Act has done an incredible job of protecting individuals with disabilities from discrimination when it comes to brick-and-mortar building regulations. Things get a bit blurry when we are talking about online rules, though. The Department of Justice has recently stated that the ADA also pertains to the Internet. However, there are still more decisions underway.
Why Your Site Should Meet ADA Website Compliance Rules
Many people with disabilities utilize assistive technology that helps them to use computers. They might be using computer programs or devices such as screen readers. Users could be using text enlargement software and computer programs that help people control a computer with their voice. Some people use assistive technology that is built into the computer’s operating system. For example, basic accessibility features and computer operating systems enable some people with vision impairments to see computer displays by merely changing color schemes, contrast settings, and font sizes. Operating systems allow people with limited manual dexterity to move the mouse pointer using keystrokes instead of a mouse. And many other types of assistive technology are available, and more are still being developed. So, it is important to meet standards for ADA website compliance.
Poorly designed Websites can create needless obstacles for people with disabilities, just as poorly designed buildings prevent some people with disabilities from accessing them. Are you beginning to understand how ADA website compliance is vital for your company website?
Problems often happen because website designers wrongly assume that everyone sees and accesses websites the same way. This inaccurate premise can hinder assistive technologies and their users. If you want to find out if your company meets ADA website compliance standards, go to webaccessibility.com and administer the test against your website.
This is a multilayered topic for sure, and there are various levels of ADA website compliance. Sometimes it’s a simple fix to make an existing website ADA compliant. Sometimes it requires scrapping the whole thing and starting from scratch when updating web pages.
Remember to ensure that updates are accessible. For example, when images change, the text equivalent in alt tags and long descriptions needs to be changed to match the new images. If you have specific questions about ADA website compliance, there is a technical assistance document available at ADA.gov.
Typical ADA Website Compliance Issues
- Problem: Images without text. The solution would be to add a text equivalent to every image on your website.
- Problem: Documents are not posted in a format accessible to all users. The answer would be to post documents in a text-based format so their screen readers can actually see them.
- Problem: Specifying colors and font sizes. A solution would be to avoid dictating colors and font settings so that users can adjust them with their operating system capabilities.
- Problem: Videos and other multimedia-like accessible features. The solution would be to include audio descriptions and captions.
After you test to find out if your website is compliant and you want a second opinion on how you can take your site from non-compliant to legal, and user-friendly for all clients, we are well versed in making websites compliant. We build accessibility into our proposals and integrate them into our design and development workflow. If you have any comments or questions about ADA website compliance, leave them below. And if you want to talk about how Focused Idea can help you grow your business, send us a message, and we’ll get that discussion started.