Online businesses are becoming more aware these days that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to their website and are curious what ADA website compliance involves.
ADA website compliance means that Americans with a range of disabilities can access the information on your site.
With our lives increasingly conducted online (think banking, medical care) the importance for an accessible website is even more important. Plus, people with impairments should also get to watch their favorite shows or easily order lunch online like I can!
The good news: You can make your website accessible pretty easily.
The challenge: From a legal perspective, the laws of ADA are a little murky. There several levels of compliance making it difficult to decide how much ADA is enough.
ADA & Website Accessibility
In 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design were passed which covers the design of physical spaces and now includes websites as well.
The goal is to reach the same level of accessibility online that people are guaranteed offline.
Who does it apply to?
Businesses covered by the ADA are:
- Businesses with more than 15 employees
- Companies operating for the benefit of the public and non-profits
How to Comply with ADA Standards
Here is a check list of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
- Provide text alternatives for images
- Provide captions for multimedia such as videos
- Make seeing and hearing content easier
- You should be able to make the site function with just a keyboard
- Give users enough time to read and interact with the content
- Help users easily navigate the content
- Text should be readable and understandable
- Content should appear and work in a predictable way
- Maximize compatibility with user tools
- Make sure your website satisfies conformance requirements
The Three Levels of Conformance
A, AA, and AAA are the three levels of ADA conformance.
Level A conformity is the bare minimum, it provides the least benefit to impaired users but the focus of this level is making it easier for browser readers to navigate and translate the site.
While this is an improvement, it doesn’t make a site accessible.
Level AA considers a site to be accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities, including the most common barriers to use. This level includes guidance on color contrast and error identification. This is the level that most businesses should be aiming for.
Level AAA is the highest level, but it can significantly affect the design of the site. On the other hand, it also makes your website accessible to the widest range of people with disabilities.
Need help making your site ADA compliant?
Want a help to making sure your website meets all of the criteria? Contact us today and we’ll help you get to the level you need!