Do you have a business website? If yes, chances are you know about the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). The act got enforced by the federal government back in 1990, and it aims to secure people who need physical accommodations, for instance, ramps for the wheelchairs and elevators. The act guarantees them from any discrimination.
Most people aren’t aware that ADA compliance also applies to websites today. Website discrimination takes place based on the use of apt fonts, file types and colors. Incomprehensible fonts and colors can discriminate the people who are visually impaired. Also, few files might not allow the consumers to read a text aloud. It is essential to know more about this compliance to manage your business accordingly.
ADA regulations and websites
The ADA regulations don’t discuss anything sites. But the U.S Department of Justice emphasizes on WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 and 2.1, that got developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, a global group that establishes and promotes web regulations. According to WCAG, there are multiple standards for making a website accessible to disabled users, for instance, making use of color-schemes with high contrast and also adding captions for any audio content.
The web accessibility lawsuits
Multiple U.S courts have suggested that commercial websites need to comply with the ADA regulations. Also, the ADA commands auxiliary assistance in communication, which the court interpreted as website accessibility and online video captioning.
Back in 2018, there were over thousands of lawsuits concerning website accessibility. Industrial verticals that got affected by this are restaurants, eCommerce stores as well as the consumer-good brands. As such lawsuits increase every passing day, the companies today must adhere to the ADA guidelines that avert all kinds of expensive litigation as well as negative press. It is essential to conduct an accessibility check of the websites with the help of an expert service provider.
Ways to examine the website’s WCAG compliance
Do you want to make sure that your website adheres to the WCAG guidelines? If yes, then you need to opt-in for a blend of manual and automated testing. Several companies focus on developing websites to provide accessibility audits. All these might get a tad bit costly. One of the crucial things to check is whether a website has alternative text for each image. The “alt text” is a phrase/word that describes the image for the ones who are visually impaired. Hence, it is essential to get the alt text correct, as it assists in enabling the screen reading software to describe all the images. Additionally, it allows the search engines to show the pictures depending on the descriptions written and showcase the outcome correctly. Though this testing can get slightly dull manually, you need to opt-in for an automated system to come across all problems much faster.
If you audit the website manually for WCAG compliance, then you need to assess multiple website design factors. Website owners can initially assess the colors that get used in the site and evaluate the color contrast ratio and background score.
You can also use various web accessibility tools. It is essential to ensure that your website is:
Functional and operable
Make sure that your website is user-friendly. People should be able to navigate it using a cursor, and the site should also follow keyboard commands. If you want, you can also press “tab” continuously to check whether you can have access to the website elements with just the keyboard. If a website depends mainly on the communication of the desktop mouse, then you might want to get the assistance of the developer to enhance the accessibility aspect.
Robust and capable
Make sure that your website can switch to any and every requirement that the different users may have. With the constant Google updates and SEO changes, your website might have to adapt to new changes. So, make sure that the site can easily change to the shifting SEO and consumer requirements.
The users need to search, find as well as process the data. It is necessary to add audio descriptions for most content so that your website data can be perceived by many. Ensure that everything is clear and accessible for all visitors to your site.
Most users must understand the information and matter you’ve presented on your website. The recommendations make your text more readable. And here you can assist in recognizing the phrase or word definitions that get used in unusual ways. It can be adding a language that of a low secondary education level as well as expanding the abbreviations. You can also make a specific version of the website available for which no one requires any advanced reading capacity. You can also refer to the WCAG 2.1 that provides extra insight on the way to make your site more understandable.
When website owners test their website for WCAG compliance and make all the required changes, then the site becomes accessible to all. To know how to go about it, you need to first learn about ADA and also get to see the tool-kit that ensures better website accessibility. Even though it seems like the best practices for local governments and state, even business houses and website owners can gain immensely from it.
You also need to check the website in recurrent intervals to ensure that you don’t get caught up with the ADA lawsuits or any other probable legal problems. You must verify whether your business gets updated for ADA requirements. And for that, you need to check whether there have been any new updates and recommendations. You should also get in touch with an agency that can help to work on your website accessibility based on the SEO and other web changes. That way you can get the best of worlds. It is essential to have an accessible site; else you might lose your clients to your competitors and other market players.