The Ultimate Guide: How to Make Your Website ADA Compliant
As the world becomes more digital, it’s important to ensure that everyone has access to the information and services available online. This is where ADA compliance comes in. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that websites be accessible to people with disabilities.
ADA compliance is important for web accessibility.
This guide will explain why it is important, what accessibility really is, and how to make your website compliant.
Why is ADA compliance important for websites?
ADA compliance ensures people with disabilities can access the same information and services as everyone else.
Without ADA compliance, people with disabilities may not be able to use your website effectively or at all.
Just imagine. You’re navigating a website, fully engaged in its content, when suddenly your cursor vanishes into thin air. This disorienting experience is all too common for countless users who encounter inaccessible websites on a daily basis.
This can lead to frustration, exclusion, and even legal action. In fact, there have been numerous lawsuits filed against companies for having non-compliant websites.
ADA compliance is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also required by law.
Understanding web accessibility
Web accessibility refers to the design and development of websites to ensure that they are usable by people with disabilities.
This includes people with visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, or neurological disabilities.
Web accessibility is achieved through the use of assistive technologies such as screen readers, keyboard navigation, and voice recognition software.
Web accessibility is not just about following the law. It is also about providing an inclusive and equitable online experience for all. It is important to remember this.
ADA compliance checklist for websites
To make your website ADA compliant, there are several things you need to do. Here’s a checklist to get you started:
Alt text. Provide text alternatives for non-text content such as images and videos.
Descriptive text. Use descriptive headings and labels to provide context and structure to your content.
Keyboard navigation. Ensure that all website functionality can be accessed using a keyboard. You should be able to access and “click” any link on the page, and use any element on the page such as its navigation, social media links or sharing buttons, carousels, or contact forms.
Captions. Provide captions and transcripts for audio and video content.
Color contrasts. Use colors that provide sufficient contrast between the foreground and background.
Screen readers. Ensure that your website is compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers and magnifiers.
Instructions. Provide clear and concise instructions for filling out forms and completing tasks.
Avoid flashing content. Avoid using flashing or blinking content that can trigger seizures.
How to make your website ADA compliant - a step-by-step guide
Now that you have a checklist, let’s dive into how to make your website ADA compliant. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Conduct an accessibility audit of your website to identify any issues. You can do this manually or use an automated tool such as WAVE or Axe.
- Create a plan to fix any issues that were identified in the audit.
- Ensure that your website uses semantic HTML to provide structure and context to your content.
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content such as images and videos using alt text or captions.
- Ensure that all website functionality can be accessed using a keyboard. This includes navigation, forms, and other interactive elements.
- Use colors that provide sufficient contrast between the foreground and background. You can use a tool such as Contrast Checker to test your color contrast.
- Ensure that your website is compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers and magnifiers. This includes testing your website with different assistive technologies and making any necessary adjustments.
- Provide clear and concise instructions for filling out forms and completing tasks. This includes using labels, error messages, and other cues to guide users through the process.
- Avoid using flashing or blinking content that can trigger seizures. This includes limiting the use of animations and ensuring that any animations are not too distracting.
Testing your website for ADA compliance
After making changes to your website, it’s important to test it for ADA compliance. Here are some tools you can use to test your website:
- WAVE - a free online tool that provides detailed reports of accessibility issues on your website.
- Axe - a browser extension that identifies accessibility issues on your website in real-time.
- Achecker - a free online tool that checks your website for compliance with WCAG guidelines.
Tools and resources for making your website ADA compliant
There are many tools and resources available to help make your website ADA compliant. Here are some of the most useful:
- Accessible.org - a website that provides resources and guidance on web accessibility.
- WebAIM - a non-profit organization that provides training, tools, and resources on web accessibility. Their Contrast Checker is one of the best tools available to check your color contrasts.
- WCAG - the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provide a set of guidelines for making websites accessible to people with disabilities.
- ARIA - Accessible Rich Internet Applications provide a set of attributes that can be added to HTML to improve accessibility.
Common mistakes to avoid while making your website ADA compliant
While making your website ADA compliant, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can make your website less accessible. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid:
- Using images of text instead of actual text.
- Using tables for layout instead of data.
- Using color alone to convey information.
- Using small font sizes or low contrast text.
- Not providing clear and concise instructions for completing tasks.
Benefits of having an ADA compliant website
- Increased accessibility for people with disabilities.
- Improved usability for all users.
- Reduced risk of legal action.
- Improved search engine optimization (SEO) due to better website structure and content.
- Improved reputation and brand image as a socially responsible company.
Making your website ADA compliant is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also required by law.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your website is accessible to everyone.
Remember to test your website for ADA compliance. Use tools and resources to help you along the way, and avoid common mistakes.
With an accessible website, you will improve usability for all users, reduce the risk of legal action, and improve your brand image as a socially responsible company.
At Kalyxo, we are committed to enhancing website accessibility as part of our comprehensive web design and development services, ensuring your site meets the diverse needs of all users. Contact us today to make your website ADA compliant.