Actionable Steps Toward an ADA Compliant Website6 min read

Blog, Website & Digital Design

Actionable Steps Toward an ADA Compliant Website6 min read

by | Blog, Website & Digital Design

Partner + Creative Director

With the passing of George H.W. Bush in late 2018, we’ve been reflecting even more how one of his greatest accomplishments, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and how it’s ever more important today. While the former President may not have imagined ADA compliant websites at the time the bill was passed; as the masses of consumers flock to the digital hemisphere for their information, the ADA ensures that everyone is provided the same opportunities to access that information online. Whether it be ensuring that colors will be clearly visible to everyone, including those with colorblindness, legible font options for the visually impaired, and even audio assistance for hearing impaired visitors.

So what does it mean for your business and your website? As a professional services firm, it’s critical that you recognize how important having accessible content online is for your customers. It allows every current and potential client the ability to access important information, and also keeps your firm covered under the legalease of the ADA itself. It means analyzing your site to ensure that it meets the guidelines presented by the ADA, and making necessary updates to commit to the best level of accessibility. In our last ADA blog, we discussed what the ADA was, and why it’s important to maintain compliance on your digital business front. Now we wanted to discuss what the guidelines suggest and provide more insight into the action items that can put your on the right track to maintaining a higher level of compliance.

What do these changes look like?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for ADA compliance maintains four areas of focus, making the acronym P.O.U.R.:

Perceivable

This affects a user’s ability to find and process information. A website can become perceivable according the WCAG by utilizing, or providing multiple options:

  • Your website should utilize colors that can be accessible to those with colorblindness. There are several levels of colorblindness, so it’s a good option to either find colors that users of all abilities can clearly understand and perceive content without colors blending.
  • Any videos should include closed caption descriptions, so that those who hearing impairments can still process the information shared.
  • Text should be able to increase to 200% without disrupting the content layout to ensure anyone with visual impairment can interact with the content without disruption.

Operable

This will affect how your users navigate through your website. Not only should all action buttons and information be found easily and clearly, it should also allow for anyone to access it without a mouse.

  • This means integrating keyboard accessibility to the entire site.
  • Provide the ability to pause moving objects to allow longer time to process the content.
  • Clearly labelling all pages, sections, and headers so that users can easily understand and follow the flow of the website.

Understandable

This is related to a user’s ability to discern and comprehend a website and all of its information and navigation.

  • Error messages should be concise and provide clear explanations for the errors, including information on how to correct it.
  • Navigation should be consistent throughout the website. One page should operate similarly to another, as to provide an easy experience for all users.
  • Provide input assistance and clear instructions to guide users to properly filling out forms.

Robust

Having a robust website means maintaining its ability to adapt, and evolve, to the changing needs of all users with disabilities.

  • Maintain robust coding that will help assistive readers understand the code.
  • Use universally recognizable HTML tags for assistive products and technologies.

How do you make these changes?

Understanding how the ADA dictates compliance for websites, and the compliance guidelines they maintain, is only half of the battle. Now it’s time to take action with your website and make changes to become more accessible for customers, new and old. Many companies offer ADA compliance audits, which will provide insight into your website’s current state of compliance, and detail the steps needed to step closer to full compliance. Many of these changes, however, aren’t always top of mind when you’re creating your digital business front, so there may be a lot of changes needed. If you’re looking at a wide net of compliance updates, consider bringing in professionals, like us.

We’re here to help you make the best changes to your website, and produce results that will enable customers of all ability levels to access your website smoothly. If you’re ready to make changes to your website, we’re ready to help!

 

For more information on ADA Compliant Websites, take a look at a previous article “ADA Compliance for Your Website – Getting Started“.

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