Looking for essential steps to make your website ADA compliant?
ADA compliance is a critical issue that your businesses can’t afford to ignore. A non-compliant website is actually a problem. Always make sure that your website is accessible to all kinds of people.
With ADA compliance, you can make your website easy to use for visually and hearing-impaired audiences. Its main objective is to reduce or even remove any communication barriers between businesses and their audience.
In this post, you will learn about:
- What is ADA compliance?
- Importance of ADA compliance
- Common Web Accessibility Issues
- Benefits of making your website ADA compliant
- Tips to make your website ADA compliant
- Website Accessibility Evaluation Tools
Let’s get started!
What is ADA compliance?
ADA means the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act was established and enforced in 1990 to aid people with disabilities to give them access to information.
ADA compliance ensures that users with disabilities can easily access the website premises without any limitations. ADA compliance is America’s most important law regarding accessibility and civil rights for people with disabilities.
According to the survey, 61 million adults in the U.S. live with a disability and 62% of adults with a disability own a laptop or desktop computer.
In the ADA compliance act, it was specifically stated that all the information and electronic technology i-e: Websites must be made accessible for people with disabilities.
Importance of ADA compliance
ADA compliance makes disabled people feel included and open up opportunities that are available for non-disabled people. Most importantly, being the owner of an ADA-compliant website means you get more traffic on your website with more profitability.
Do you know, In just the last couple of years, the number of ADA lawsuits increased by over 50% across different industries? These ADA lawsuits might be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive for the website owner. Also, it leaves a negative impact on the brand.
Having an ADA-compliant website not only promotes equality and accessibility to disabled people but also saves a ton of legal cases from being filed against the business.
Do you know about the Domino’s Pizza accessibility lawsuit? The supreme court ordered the company to make its website accessible for individuals with disabilities and paid $4,000 to the blind man who filed the lawsuit.
Common Web Accessibility Issues
No doubt, while building up a website it becomes a challenge to keep all these accessibility aspects in mind. In addition to this, Unfortunately, web accessibility issues are often overlooked by website designers and developers.
According to the latest survey report, Among one million homepages, an average of 51.4 accessibility errors were found per page.
Following are the most common accessibility issues which people often face:
- Poor contrast text
- Leaving empty links and buttons
- Missing alt texts for images
- Non-HTML content limiting web accessibility
- Non-descriptive text for hyperlinks
- Data tables not adequately marked up for screen readers
- Empty form labels
- Too many navigation links
- Unclear form controls
- Lack of keyboard accessibility for screen reader users
Make sure to address all these kinds of issues and make your website more user-friendly.
Benefits of making your website ADA compliant
Most of the website’s owners hesitate to make their website accessible because they don’t want to pay high costs. They are usually not even aware of the benefits of web accessibility.
According to the survey, 97.4% of the world’s top one million websites don’t offer full accessibility and because of that 60% of screen reader users feel that web content accessibility is getting worse.
Below, we have listed the top benefits of making your website ADA compliant :
- Increased website traffic
- Reduced risk of legal complications
- develop an innovative business mindset
- Improved website SEO
- Improves your brand reputation
- Better user journey leading to more conversions
- Promotes business growth
Although the cost of compliance is high it’s nothing, if we compare this cost with the money you will have to pay later in ADA lawsuits. You must comply with the requirements to set the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding online accessibility.
Tips to make your website ADA compliant
Following are a few tips that can be taken to ensure that your site is accessible to those with disabilities.
1. Headings must be properly nested
Properly nested heading elements help disable users understand the structure of the information on the web page. From an accessibility point of view, the structure of the code should be aligned with the visual presentation.
According to WebAIM’s screen reader user survey, 68.8% of the 1,224 respondents use headings to navigate pages.
The benefits of adding the headings to your webpage by maintaining the hierarchy are :
- Helps to navigate quickly to any specific section
- Allow search engines to detect the page’s main topics
- Boost the SEO
Heading hierarchy should make sense as a “table of contents” for the page. Heading levels should never be avoided (e.g. H1 directly to H3) from an accessibility point of view.
2. Add breadcrumbs sitewide
Breadcrumbs indicate the current page’s location within a navigational hierarchy. You can enhance the user experience by adding breadcrumbs to your website. A good placement for breadcrumbs is below the main navigation bar and above the page title.
You can also resolve accessibility concerns using Breadcrumbs. Don’t forget, without proper markup, people who use screen readers may not understand the purpose of the breadcrumb menu.
The benefits of using breadcrumbs on your website are:
- Encourages Browsing
- Provide SEO Benefits
- Reduces Bounce rate
3. Add alt tags for all images, videos, and audio files
Adding alternative text to the media on your site is a principle of web accessibility. It helps people with visual impairments to understand the graphical content of your website.
Do you know, 26% of all home page images (10 per page on average) had a missing alternative text? Nearly half of the images missing alternative text were linked images—resulting in links that were not descriptive.
ALT text serves three important purposes:
- Boost SEO
- Improves website accessibility
- Add text placeholder when media is loading slowly or failed to load
Tips for writing good alt text are :
- Keep it (relatively) short
- Include your keywords
- Avoid keyword stuffing
- Don’t include “image of,” “picture of,” etc. in your alt text
- Don’t use images as text
4. Define the site’s language in the header code
Specifying the language of text content helps the browser to correctly display or process your content. For example, In HTML, the lang attribute should be used to specify the language.
Declaring language in the header section helps to use and present information to users in the most appropriate way. The more content is tagged correctly, the more useful text-readers applications will become.
5. Create text transcripts for video and audio content.
Text transcripts for video and audio content help hearing-impaired users to understand the content easily. Without text transcripts, the video and audio content wouldn’t be accessible to them.
According to the latest survey, “71% of people with disabilities leave a website immediately if it is not accessible.”
Benefits of Video and audio Transcription are :
- Increase accessibility for users who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Global outreach through the ease of translation to other languages
- Increased SEO and video views
Free Transcription Tools which you can try to create text transcripts for video and audio content are :
6. Enable keyboard navigation.
Keyboard navigation helps the user to know about his/her current location and update as the user navigates the workspace. Do you know, 19.9 million adults in the US (8.2%) have difficulty lifting or grasping which can impact their use of a mouse or keyboard?
You can make your website more user-friendly for users who cannot use the mouse by adding the tab functionality and by displaying the keyboard-focus indicator.
The tabindex attribute explicitly defines the navigation order for focusable elements within a page. Using this attribute, you can define whether elements should be focusable or not.
7. Make content placement and functionality predictable
One of the most important aspects of accessible pages is the provision of well-organized content that’s easy to navigate. Make your website content and its functionality easily accessible.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are organized around four principles:
Your website should have the following features :
- Follow logical order for content and elements
- Includes explained abbreviations
- Have the phonetic pronunciation for words or link to pronunciation guides
- Have predictable user interface that is consistent from page to page
- Large buttons in intuitive locations
8. View Color from a Color-Blind Perspective
Use of proper color contrast in your website is essential. The most critical aspect of color-blind accessibility is ensuring that crucial information on a web page is represented by something other than color.
No doubt, Designing for the colorblind is not often a bed of roses for designers who aren’t colorblind themselves. Keep in mind, 4.5% of the population are color-blind, according to Colour Blind Awareness.
Following are the tips To Help Color-Blind Visitors Use Your Website:
- Provide more than one cue for links or interactive elements
- Use descriptive text for images
- Don’t forget about contrast
9. Provide functionality to enlarge text for the visually impaired.
Enlarging text is primarily the browser’s responsibility. Most web browsers allow you to increase and decrease the size of text, images, and other web page content with “zoom” features but some browsers allow you to zoom only the text size.
While building up your website, Developers should code in such a way that does not interfere with the browser’s default ways of enlarging content. It is also important to avoid providing images of text, as text cannot be resized through text resizing, and may become blurry when zoomed.
Website Accessibility Evaluation Tools
Website accessibility evaluation tools are a handy resource. It’s really mandatory to run the Website Accessibility audit regularly on your website to avoid any kind of risks.
Below, we have listed the top 3 Website Accessibility Evaluation Tools for you:
The WAVE Accessibility Evaluation Tool is a free application published by WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) which has provided web accessibility solutions for many years.
This tool helps the authors to make their web content more accessible to individuals with disabilities. WAVE can identify accessibility errors and facilitates human evaluation of web content.
Accessibility Checker is a free web-based audit tool. It scans your website for major legislation around the world. The uniqueness of this tool is the presentation of the errors it finds on your website.
For every error, this tool provides a detailed explanation about it. It also states the reason for the error and gives multiple options on how to solve it. This helps get a more comprehensive view of accessibility for your website.
The FAE evaluates a web page for its accessibility by referencing the ITAA Web Accessibility Standards which are based on the WCAG 1.0 and Section 508 guidelines.
We can break down the results of evaluation in 5 categories:
- Navigation and Orientation
- Text Equivalents
- HTML Standards.
The judging of the overall performance in each category is a percentage, divided between Pass, Warn and Fail. So that, you can focus on the specific areas with the most problems.
In conclusion, No matter whether you own a startup website or a successful website, you cannot afford to ignore ADA compliance. In order to keep your website secured from any kind of legal action, make sure that your website is navigable for all kinds of users.
An ADA-compliant website not only leads to a healthy website but also helps you to attract and retain customers for your website.
Now, it’s time to make your website ADA compliant. Follow the above-mentioned steps and make your website’s accessibility easier.
Feel free to comment us below, if you find this blog helpful while making your website ADA compliant.