All You Need To Know About ADA Compliant Website
If you’re a web designer and you’ve never heard of the acronym ADA, chances are you’re probably going to hear about it a lot more from now on. The Americans with Disabilities Act or shortly the ADA created a compliance document for all website designers to follow in order to ensure that the needs of the disabled on the internet are met. Are you sure you have an ADA compliant website?
If you’re uncertain whether your website is accessible, the ADA has outlined all the factors you will need to keep in mind when evaluating. What has changed when it comes to the responsibilities of website designers? How can designers assure that each of the elements they are adding to a website can fit the needs of disabled users? You can use our article as a guide to learn all about ADA compliance in web design. Check if your website is accessible to users with disabilities and limitations.
ADA Compliant Web Design
The best way to explain ADA compliant web design is to think of it as a website designed for everyone. Anybody with any type of disability or limitation should be able to use your website in a way that will provide them with all the information you intended for your users. In terms of SEO, having an ADA compliant website also brings your website benefits such as more organic traffic from the search engine, which ultimately leads to more sales and business growth.
Ever since 2016, when the Department of Justice accepted the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as the guideline for making websites accessible, they are becoming widely accepted as the ADA compliant standard.
7 Steps To an ADA Compliant Website
Let’s say your website has been active for several years now. After receiving a few angry emails from your disabled users, you have finally decided to turn your website into an ADA compliant one. Although you understand the general idea, determining where to start is not that easy as it seems. To help you have a more inclusive website and adopt the WCAG, here are the seven steps you will need to follow if you wish to design an ADA compliant website.
#1 Evaluation of Your Current Website
Review your website and see what’s its current state when it comes to accessibility. You can use various tools and programs that are at your disposal, such as WAVE or Lighthouse, or manually test your website with screen reader software. If you want your website to be ADA compliant, it will have to meet these category standards:
#2 Choosing ADA Compliant Graphics
Big importance in ADA compliant websites will play the graphics you have chosen. That’s why when including graphics, keep in mind they shouldn’t flash more than three times per second. If you go over this limit, you could inadvertently induce a seizure in a person who is on your website. Your graphics should also have descriptions or captions so that they can be read aloud to those who are visually impaired. When adding informative or engaging visual content, all of your users should have equal access to it.
#3 Adding Alt Text & Readable Fonts
Your website should be perceivable and the content writing you use on the website must be readable for all your users. However, this is easier said than done. You will need to go carefully through each of the elements on your website as many things will fall under the term of perception. First of all, you will need to provide alt-text for all the images in your code. These alt-text captions will allow site readers to describe images audibly for those who are visually impaired.
Another important component of accessibility is the font. You will need to use the ones that are easy to read, for instance, Georgia, Quicksand, and Open Sans. When it comes to colors, you should avoid having a light font color on a light background. It causes your users to strain to read the copy. The same is with the dark font color on the dark background. The best thing to do is to opt for light backgrounds with dark colors for most of the website content.
#4 Making Website Features Logical
You cannot convert your website into an ADA compliant one if it’s not understandable to your wider audience. Your website needs to operate predictably and include labels over blocks of content and media to help your disabled users. It should be built in a way it avoids user errors and has readable instructions on all website forms where it’s expected from your users to enter their information.
#5 Coding Your ADA Compliant Website with Standard HTML Tags
The most challenging requirement of ADA recommendations is obviously the technical one. Making sure your ADA compliant website coding has standard HTML tags means that the code should be readably by an assistive reader. That’s why it’s vital that your website uses standard HTML tags.
Make sure you also provide documents in a text-based format as complex image documents will not be understood by text reader software that visually impaired users use to navigate the website and consume information.
#6 Making Your Website Keyboard- & Pause-Friendly
Can one navigate your website if your users only use their keyboards? Keep in mind not all of your users will interact with your website with a touchscreen or a mouse. To pause content or slow down automatic scrolling or slideshow movements is crucial. You will need to eliminate any video that autoplay and put a time limit. Of course, all of the video interactions and pausing must be performed using only keyboard functions.
#7 Keeping Up-to-Date on ADA Compliance Changes
ADA needs and continuous. You will notice all these new technology solutions made for people with disabilities. They should be implemented on your website. Make sure that the text is always easily readable and that your code works well with assistive readers. This also means that everything you do to make your existing website more inclusive. You will apply it in your future work with other websites as well. Making your website comply with the ADA implies all of your users are comfortable on your website. And, more importantly, they are able to use it for its intended purpose.