ADA is short for the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA prohibits discrimination against anyone based on ability or disability. You are most likely familiar with some public measures already taken such as reserved handicap parking spots or push buttons that open doors for those who cannot keep the door open themselves.
ADA compliance has the same concept in regards to websites since they are technically public spaces. Your website should be accessible to all people, so we’ll explain how it should be accessible, specifically to disabled people. What does it mean to have an accessible website? Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed so those with disabilities can use them. More specifically, they can perceive, understand, interact and contribute to your website and others.
What Are the Web Content Access Guidelines (WCAG)?
Web Content Access Guidelines (WCAG) are now widely accepted as the ADA-compliant standard. The WCAG documents were created by the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are some of the most influential protocols shaping web accessibility policy. They have a great beginners introduction to accessibility, with tips and information on how to make your website more accessible. There are two versions of standards regarding WCAG, and it is expected there will be another standard (2.1) released in September 2022. These standards do not change after being published.
The WCAG has four compliance principles:
- The way users perceive content online through their senses of sight, sound, and touch.
- Extremely relevant to people with motor disabilities, weak muscles, injured limbs, etc. Can your website be navigated just by a keyboard or other alternatives?
- Ensures your website is easy for everyone to understand and navigate.
- Robust (Contains Two Parts)
- Clean HTML/CSS that meets recognized standards
- Your website is compatible with assistive tools
If your site doesn’t meet these four compliance principles, you may be making it more difficult for disabled users to navigate your website.The WCAG doesn’t have legal authority, but it is considered the most important set of standards regarding accessibility. It is enforced to different degrees in various countries.
Using accessiBe Software to Make Websites Compliant According to the WCAG
On our website, you can see in the bottom right corner there is a blue circle with a white body. If you click this circle, you’re presented with a list of options to enable use with specific disabilities. From here, you can select which one applies and the website adjusts accordingly. This prevents triggers to certain disabilities and makes it easier to navigate the website if you have any of the disabilities listed.
This helps with many disabilities such as: blind people using screen-readers (JAWS, NVDA), people with motor impairments who use only keyboards, and a variety of other disabilities such as color blindness, epilepsy, and minor visual impairments that are mainly focused on the UI and design of the website (color contrasts, animations).
The example below shows how the website adjusts. We tested the ADHD Friendly Profile. As you can see, this view provides the user with fewer distractions and a better focus. It highlights the portion of the page they’re reading while dimming the rest of the page, allowing the user to quickly and easily find essential information.
There are many different options! It also allows you to adjust various orientation, content, and color settings. You can look through them yourself to see how our website changes. It is quite fascinating to see how this AI-powered software changes your website to fit everyone’s needs.
Is making your website ADA compliant relevant to you?
In short, yes. ADA applies to ALL electronic information and technology. It applies to virtually all businesses and web developers. This list will break down where it applies:
- State and local government organizations
- Private organizations that employ 15 or more
- Organizations that work for the public’s benefit such as grocery stores, hotels, law offices, etc.
Even if you don’t believe you make the “cut” for what should be ADA compliant, you should be inclined to make your electronic information accessible to everyone. If it is not compliant you run the risk of losing potential customers, too.
So, how is this enforced?
You honestly may not be aware your website isn’t ADA compliant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make an effort to do so. If your website is not ADA compliant you risk facing a lawsuit, and the lawsuit can cost you thousands! There have been lawsuits filed against major companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, Dominos, and Glossier.
What are some other ways to make your website more accessible?
- Create alt tags for all images, videos, and audio files on your website. Alt tags, also known as alternate descriptions, provide an alternative text for search engines. So, how does this help you make your website more accessible? Alt tags also allow users with disabilities to to read or hear these alternative descriptions. When writing an alt tag you describe the image or video on your webpage, and you can include the purpose it serves on your page. This feature is also available on many social media platforms.
- Create transcripts of videos and audio files. Transcripts and closed captions for videos and audio files help users understand your content that would be unimportant to them otherwise. This ensures those with hearing impairments can still learn from your content!
- Create a consistent, organized website layout. Make sure your website is easy to use for all users. Have a clear menu bar, headings, and an easy to follow layout.
How does Amity Digital make websites accessible – and compliant – according to WCAG guidelines?
For some, ADA compliance means renovating your entire website to ensure that the accessible alternatives are built into the HTML coding. This can become expensive and time consuming, but it’s necessary. Want to skip the stress of overhauling your website? Let Amity Digital help!
We use an AI-powered software solution that scans, analyzes, and fixes any accessibility compliance gaps in 48 hours. That’s right – in 48 hours, your website will feature access tools allowing disabled users to properly utilize your website.
And our software will re-scan and re-analyze a website every 24 hours to maintain ADA and WCAG compliance within any new content or added pages. Contact us today to get started! Fill out our contact us form on our website or give us a call at 610-871-4872.