ADA compliance increases your target audience
ADA compliance enhances your online reputation
ADA compliance means overall better website usability
ADA compliance improves your SEO efforts
ADA compliance ensures you avoid lawsuits and penalties
What Does This Mean For Website Owners?
# Create, adopt, and maintain a web accessibility policy consistent with prevailing standards.
# Review the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 for details about making websites accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, and photosensitivity.
# Hire a third-party consultant to conduct a thorough website audit to determine what features might be lacking and develop a list of recommendations for implementing necessary updates.
# Consider hiring website development experts who can help you enact these updates and ensure that your website is ADA compliant, has an optimized user experience, and works with existing assistive technologies.
# Implement training for internal web and content development personnel on ADA and WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
An ADA-compliant website isn’t just about having an easier navigation, making text content readable, or sufficiently contrasting colors in graphics, although these are huge components of being accessible. The website and content must also be scalable and robust enough to work with current and future assistive technologies.
Common Website Elements That Need To Be Accessible:
# Images: Graphics all need to include “alternative text”, an invisible code embedded to make it possible for assistive technologies to access information that explains the content of the image.
# Videos: Text transcripts or captions of videos should be made available.
# Colors: The colors of all elements on the site should be sufficiently contrasting so that information is easy to read. Additionally, any information in color (e.g. graphs, buttons) should be labeled in such a way that users can understand the color information without color.
# Form Labels: All forms with editable fields should be clearly labeled outside of the field itself. For example, a search bar should have a “Search” label before the field itself instead of inside the field box or after.
# Stylesheets: Website stylesheets are used to control a site’s layout and presentation and should be specially coded to ensure the site’s presentation is optimally retained. Stylesheets should also use relative rather than absolute units.
# Keyboard: All content functions should be operable through a keyboard interface, such as using unmodified arrow or tab keys.
* Public Accommodations
The following private entities are considered public accommodations if the operations of such entities affect commerce:
# an inn, hotel, motel, or other place of lodging, except for an establishment located within a building that contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and that is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as the residence of such proprietor;
# a restaurant, bar, or other establishment serving food or drink;
# a motion picture house, theater, concert hall, stadium, or other place of exhibition or entertainment;
# an auditorium, convention center, lecture hall, or other place of public gathering;
# a bakery, grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping center, or other sales or rental establishment;
# a laundromat, dry-cleaner, bank, barber shop, beauty shop, travel service, shoe repair service, funeral parlor, gas station, office of an accountant or lawyer, pharmacy, insurance office, professional office of a health care provider, hospital, or other service establishment;
# a terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation;
# a museum, library, gallery, or other place of public display or collection;
# a park, zoo, amusement park, or other place of recreation;
# a nursery, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate private school, or other place of education;
# a day care center, senior citizen center, homeless shelter, food bank, adoption agency, or other social service center establishment; and
# a gymnasium, health spa, bowling alley, golf course, or other place of exercise or recreation.