When building your website, the goal is to reach as many people as possible to make it worth your time and money. But what if you found out that your website wasn’t accessible to everyone? That there are people with certain disabilities, who aren’t able to navigate your site.
When your website isn’t compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), that’s precisely what happens. When your website lacks ADA compliance, someone cannot use your website because of a hearing, vision, or physical disability. So not only can you miss out on potential clients, but you also open yourself up to fines and even an ADA compliance lawsuit.
Although there are no ADA regulations on what an ADA-compliant website looks like, you can take steps to ensure that your site is accessible to everyone.
Accessibility means availability to everyone, regardless of disability, and other factors. Providing signs in braille, elevators, and wheelchair ramps are examples of accessibility in the physical space. But how is that converted into the digital space?
All that digital accessibility means is that any copy, photos, videos, forms, and buttons on your website must be accessible. For example, do you provide the option for captions on audio or video content? That is something that a user with hearing loss or deafness would need to be able to navigate your website.
The Website Content Accessibility Guidelines provide web developers with a checklist of items to test for when ensuring that their website content is accessible. The four categories that your site must meet to be ADA compliant are:
Meeting these guidelines is essential not only for the sake of accessibility but also for the sake of SEO. Google has stated that they consider web accessibility when ranking websites, so following these guidelines can help your website rank higher in search results.
Here are steps you can take to ensure that your website is ADA compliant.
Conducting an audit of your website is essential for pinpointing accessibility issues such as low contrast text, missing alternative text, etc. You can use programs such as WAVE or Lighthouse to rate your site for accessibility, and you can test your website with screen reader software.
When choosing graphics for your website, your graphics should flash less than three times each second. More than that could cause someone viewing your page to have a seizure. There should also be an alt text that describes your images so that it can be read aloud for visually impaired users.
Alt text allows site readers to describe images to users verbally. Another important factor is using fonts that are easy to read. The font should also be a color that contrasts with the background of your page because using a lighter font on a light background will cause people to strain to read it.
A large audience should be able to understand a website that is ADA compliant. An example would be using an “X” in the top corner of a pop-up so that users know how to close the window. In addition, all forms on your website should have instructions that can be read by all users when trying to enter information.
An assistive reader should be able to read your code, so make sure the code on your website has to use standard HTML tags. And even if documents are provided in PDF form, you should also provide them in a text-based format. Software used to read text for visually impaired users cannot understand complex image documents.
The “operable” category of ADA-compliance standard is to ensure that users can navigate your site using only a keyboard. Some users can’t grip a mouse or use a touchscreen.
Your site should also allow users to pause over content or slow scrolling or slideshow movement. In addition, you should eliminate videos with autoplay or that have a time limit.
As technology advances and new discoveries are made to assist people with disabilities, the compliance standards will change. That means you need to make sure you keep up to date with all compliance changes.
By having an ADA-compliant website, you are opening your business up to a more extensive potential customer base, and you are also helping create an inclusive society. Plus, it positively impacts your SEO.
At KangoMedia, we offer web page design solutions that make your site not only ADA-compliant but also responsive, user-friendly, and visually appealing. We design websites and digital marketing campaigns that convert visitors into leads and paying customers. We’re more than a service provider. We’re your partner in growth.
Contact us today, and let’s talk about your business!