Every website has to meet a specific set of standards in order to have an efficient and optimized experience for its visitors. While it is important to make your website’s performance stand out, you might be restricting viewers with disabilities without realizing it.
This is where ADA compliance comes in. ADA, which stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act, “requires state and local governments, businesses and non-profit organizations to provide goods, services, and programs to people with disabilities on an equal basis with the rest of the public.” Also in relation to this, the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) offers a set of technical requirements that make your website accessible for a wider audience.
This audience may include a range of people with disabilities such as blindness, deafness, learning disabilities, limited movement, photosensitive elements, and more. These guidelines are intended to provide accessibility standards to provide everyone with an equal viewing experience.
1. Keyboard controls
Some users with disabilities do not operate with a mouse or do not have access to one. It is important to have your website fully functional and navigational with just the computer keyboard. This is one of the most important factors to comply with ADA and WCAG guidelines.
2. Audio accessibility
A simple step that all websites should have is audio controls. Users should be able to freely adjust volume levels as well as stop the audio independently. This is generally a public accommodation for most websites.
3. Color and theme
Another step to pay attention to is the color and theme of your website. The color should not be used to convey specific elements on your website. Users with visual disabilities need simple forms with mainly text defining CTA’s (call-to-action buttons) instead of images. Keep it simple with text CTA’s. Text is also important. Input forms must have a name describing their purpose as well as any form of media on the website. They should also include a text alternative that defines the element.
4. Videos with captions
Any form of video on the website should always include captions to be accessible to people.
5. Content distribution
Depending on the content, there should always be more than one way to view your website to accommodate different audiences. These instances include other formats such as different layouts, structure, and instructions. Simple layouts should not include annoying elements such as obsessive moving, hamburger menus, blinking, etc.
In following these sets of guidelines, your website should meet the standard digital accessibility for many users with disabilities. A website that is ADA compliant can potentially increase website traffic and increase sessions for a wider audience. One thing to note is that your website can potentially avoid penalties such as lawsuits and fines that range from $55,000 for first time offenders to a new maximum of $150,000! There are numerous instances where companies have had to deal with situations like these in the long run. If you have any other questions about website design or ADA compliance, we would love to help!
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