The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) necessitates certain businesses make accommodations for people with disabilities. This anti-discrimination law, passed in 1990, protects the rights of customers with disabilities and ensures they are treated equally. Additionally, ADA also requires businesses to maintain an accessible website. All “places of public accommodation” are required by law to remove any “access barriers” that would inhibit a person with disabilities from accessing the business’ goods or services.
What this means for your business is that even if it has no physical location at all – your website should be accessible. If people without disabilities can use a website, then it would be an act of discrimination to have barriers in place that prevent people with disabilities from using it.
Not only should your site be accessible to all potential clients on a laptop or desktop, but also on tablets and mobile phones if you provide that service. Simply put, ADA compliance is assuring your website falls within a set of prescribed accessibility standards.
Here are five tips to ensure your website is ADA Compliant:
• Videos – if you have a video of your product and are speaking about it, but it doesn’t have captions, then people who are deaf or hard of hearing will not have equal access. Captions will need to be provided for those who need them to get the same information.
• Images – Having images on your site with no alternate text is a violation. The purpose of the alternate text is to allow screen reading tools to describe the image to someone who is blind. The text needs to accurately describe to someone with no sight exactly what you and I see. It should not be a single word, or a partial description.
• Usage of a Keyboard with your Site – It’s important to ensure your website is fully accessible without a mouse so that people with physical or sensory limitations can use it. Having a website that can be easily navigated with a keyboard and making sure moving sections can be paused if a user needs more time is imperative. In addition, it is extremely important to ensure your pages and sections are clearly labeled so users can decipher where on your website they are as they navigate through your site.
• Text Alternatives: Providing text alternatives for any non-text content is key – so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
• Content – Create content which can be presented in different ways (example: simpler layout) without losing information or structure. The language of the page should be programmatically identifiable.
These are just a few to help you ensure your website is ADA compliant. The entire website should be reviewed under the WCAG 2.0 AA requirements for full compliance. If you haven’t made provisions to ensure that your website and other online assets are ADA compliant, please contact us – Accessology is here to help and guide you!