ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s a comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. In the past, the law has usually applied to public spaces, such as making buildings wheelchair accessible.
More recently, however, courts have ruled that the ADA also applies to the virtual world. This means your website needs to be ADA compliant in order for those who are blind, deaf, or those who use assistive technologies, like screen readers, to easily navigate your web pages.
Let’s take a look at how to make your website ADA compliant.
What Does an ADA Compliant Website Look Like?
ADA compliant website is for companies that fall into ADA Title I or Title III. According to FindLaw.com, that includes:
- Any brand with a minimum of 15 full-time workers that work over 20 weeks annually fall under Title I of the ADA.
- Organizations that come under the “public accommodations” category, like banks, public transportation, and hotels come under Title III.
All these businesses are required to create a website that provides reasonable access to those with disabilities. Moreover, making your website ADA compliant will help your company avoid penalties and expensive lawsuits.
Tips to Make Your Website ADA Compliant
Website accessibility means making sure that people with disabilities can also meaningfully engage with your site content. Now that you understand which businesses need to comply with the ADA, the next step is to build an ADA-compliant website. So, how can you do it?
When it comes to making your website compliant, the ADA does not provide any clear or specific guidelines, but there are several things you can do to increase the accessibility of your website.
1. Choose the Right Images and Graphics
When it comes to making your website accessible, visual elements like images and graphics do a great job of attracting more traffic to your site. But keep in mind that those with visual impairments might not be able to see them. So, make sure to add captions for every image. If you have video content, make sure to add closed captioning.
You also need to add HTML tags for images, this will also those who use screen readers to understand what’s on the page.
2. Pay Attention to Fonts
Most web users think that font style & size is just a matter of taste. But, keep in mind that the wrong font type and size can cause eye strain or headaches for some users. Also, remember that small fonts or text will be difficult for those with visual impairments to read.
When formatting text for your website keep the background of your webpages light and use a simple font type in a dark color to make it easy to read. Some good choices for user-friendly and readable font include Open Sans, Quicksand, and Georgia.
3. Keyboard Navigation
If we talk about good UX design, a general rule of thumb is that an easy and simple to navigate website with an intuitive & clear layout is something everyone should go with. But, if you’ve added content such as slides, presentations, or videos that run on auto-play, don’t forget to add a feature that enables users who rely on keyboard navigation to slow down or pause any auto-play content.
4. Disable Pop-Up Windows
We all know how frustrating it is when our screens our bombarded with pop-ups or call-to-action buttons. These unwanted windows are not just challenging to close but also make users leave the website. And for individuals with disabilities, they are more than just a mere nuisance. So, try to provide clear instructions to make the site easy to navigate for all users.
The Key Takeaway
The Department of Justice has made it clear that websites need to comply with the ADA. Optimizing sites for accessibility and ADA compliance can serve to generate better content that is understandable by more people, which makes the internet a better place for everyone. These are some essential tips that can help you in understanding how to make your website ADA compliant.
The bottom line is, making your business website accessible and ADA compliant eventually comes down to enhancing and broadening the audience experience (including people with disabilities) to accommodate those with specific needs, so that they can interact with and understand everything your website is offering.
Also, keep in mind that making your business website ADA compliant is not just a one-time job; in fact, it is an integral part of the ongoing maintenance of your website.
If you’re still in doubt about whether your website meets ADA standards you can always consult with a lawyer to make sure you deliver a user-friendly experience for everyone.