In this article, we are going to be talking about ADA Compliance and how it pertains to you, a business owner.

If you are interested in learning more about ADA Compliance, keep scrolling to learn:

What is ADA Compliance?

ADA compliance stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Designs. Basically, what that means is your website must be accessible to those with disabilities.

We do this by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAG provides us guidelines that we can use to improve accessibility on our websites.

Building ADA-compliant websites means building websites that are inclusive of everyone regardless of their disability.

Should my Website be ADA Compliant?

Yes, for a couple of reasons. The first one is, it is required by law. ADA applies to all electronic information and technology, i.e., the internet. The compliance laws apply to pretty much all businesses and web designers. For a little more clarity, ADA compliance applies to:

  • All local, county, state, and federal government agencies
  • Any business that works for the general public’s benefit
  • Businesses that would be considered a public accommodation
  • Privately run companies that currently have 15 or more employees.
  • Non-profit and charitable organizations which either have 15 or more employees or which operate for the benefit of the general public

With that being said, you should still aim for ADA compliance even if the laws don’t apply to you or your business. All ADA compliance really asks of you is for you to build your website so that they don’t exclude anyone with disabilities.
According to The World Bank’s Disability Inclusion Overview, “One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability”. So, that means that 15% of your users potentially can’t use your site.

How do I meet ADA Compliance Standards?

There are a lot of tools online that can test if your website quickly complies with WCAG. Unfortunately, none of these tools are able to find everything. They are helpful for reference but don’t replace thorough testing.

We typically use them in addition to thorough accessibility testing. When accessibility testing we focus on 3 main things.

Text Alternatives

This means providing text alternatives to any non-text content. The reason you want to do this is so anyone accessing your website who suffers from either visual or auditory impairments can still access the content you are providing. You can do this by:

  • Providing alt text describing any image or graphic and its context
  • Using proper labeling of form fields, errors, and error suggestions
  • Utilizing captions on any video or audio content

Visual Impairments

Here we tackle any issues that come from the various forms of visual impairment that aren’t solved by text alternatives. We aim to provide legible content for general vision impairments.

A rather large portion of the population has some form of colorblindness meaning they struggle with telling colors apart due to physical issues. Another surprisingly large chunk of our population visits websites needing to zoom in to enlarge the text to make it legible. We address this by:

  • Providing all text with enough contrast to remain easy to read for most visual impairments
  • Making sure the text is a legible size for users and is able to be scaled up if needed
  • Ensuring the content is accessible on all modern screen sizes

Keyboard Accessibility

To do this we make all functionality available from a keyboard so users who are unable to use a mouse or see the screen can still access your site. Have you ever used the tab key to navigate a website? That’s made possible by utilizing keyboard accessibility tools in HTML.

Keyboard accessibility means coding your site in an organized way that allows users to “tab” through your content efficiently. This sometimes means avoiding certain functionality like text/image sliders.

What you want to keep in mind when providing keyboard accessibility is:

  • Establishing a strong operations order, Focusable content receives focus in an order that preserves meaning and operability
  • All items in your site’s navigation are clearly labeled and accessible by keyboard
  • Featuring navigation bypass which means providing the option for keyboard users to skip the navigation options to access the “main content”
  • Outlining the items that are currently “in-focus” for keyboard users
  • Adding additional search functionality for keyboard navigation

Ready to make your website ADA compliant?

ADA compliance may seem like a daunting task, but that doesn’t stop it from being the right thing to do. That’s why at Hood West Design we build all of our websites with ADA compliance top of mind. It’s easier (and cheaper) to build your site compliant from the beginning than making your existing site compliant.

One tool we use when building sites is our ADA Compliance checklist which you can download below for free!

Hood West Design’s ADA Compliance Checklist

Looking to build a new ADA compliant site?

Contact us today to learn more about ADA compliance and how we can help you by building a new compliant site.