The Americans with Disability Act was enacted in 1990 as a civil law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. These standards apply to transportation, schools, and all private and public places that are accessible to the public. Recently, even websites have been interpreted as a “place of public accommodation”. They must offer the same level of accessibility and guarantee adherence to the law.
The Department of Justice offered guidance on what companies or individuals should look out for when developing their websites. This article seeks to unpack some of these guidelines. You can also make use of this tool to check the compliance of your website.
How do I make my website ADA compliant and suitable?
Today, the court has stated that it can order compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 on how to make your website accessible. It is organized into 12 guidelines under 4 principles:
- Perceivable. This is based on the aspect of perception. Web content should be able to cater to all senses.
- Operable. In terms of navigation. Control buttons and interface forms.
- Understandable. Content and interface are easy to comprehend.
- Robust. Should work in all environments.
You can also:
- Add images with Alt Text and reinforce the use of Screen Readers.
- Use CTA buttons to enable the user to customize the font size.
- Being sensitive with color and contrast. You should understand that black text with the blue background can be read easily but red text with a green background is harder to read. This is catering to the visually empowered.
- Making video and multimedia accessible. However, make a better judgment with audio. Don’t end up with hours of audio with zero consumer engagement.
How can you test web accessibility?
Web accessibility is highly complex. To truly understand web accessibility and web development, you must be versatile with CSS, HTML, accessibility APIs, and how people with disabilities use computers. However, it doesn’t mean it is impossible to measure how well you have satisfied ADA standards of accessibility if you lack the above experiences.
Here are some of the strategies you can use:
Disable your mouse
Try to navigate through your website using only your keyboard. Play along with the Tab and Shift Key. If you can go to the intended direction and navigate to all menus and controls, then you have a really accessible website for the blind, visually impaired, or those who lack motor control.
You can erase the code of an image from your website and see if the content still makes sense. Does it make the content harder to understand? If it does, it means you should set up alternatives like text or use markups. This should give contextual feedback and make your life easier. You should make exceptions on branded content like logos or trademarks.
There are companies and experts who can help you with this task. Some of them are a phone call or a click away!