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ADA compliance audit for website
13 January 2022
ADA compliance

The Best Way to Conduct an ADA Compliance Audit

Conducting an ADA compliance audit for your website is the first step to attaining website accessibility. Not only does it help you identify your website’s accessibility issues, but it allows you to fix them one at a time too.

If you want to learn more about ADA compliance audits, this article is for you.

Handling business matters is not easy. Aside from financial and other aspects, business owners also have to make sure that business legal matters are under control.

With ADA compliance lawsuits on the rise, business owners must constantly audit their websites for compliance. But how do you do it?

If you’re a business owner with a website, you’re in the best place to learn about conducting an ADA compliance audit. In today’s article, we’ll talk about ADA compliance audits in detail.

So, if you’re looking to make your website ADA compliant, continue reading!

If you want to know more about ADA compliance and web content accessibility, visit our guide below. 

ADA compliance guide

Auditing Your Website for ADA Compliance

As scary as it may seem, it is vital to conduct a website audit regularly.

Most businesses fear audits, regardless of the auditing that needs to be done. Aside from highlighting flaws, conducting an audit also emphasizes business loopholes.

Nevertheless, the great thing about auditing is that it sheds light on issues before they become unfixable.

The nature of auditing your website for compliance is also similar. It points out where you stand in terms of creating barriers for differently-abled people.

That said, the goal of auditing your website for compliance is to ensure that your website is accessible to all.

Ways to Conduct an ADA Compliance Audit on Your Site

Auditing Your Website for ADA Compliance

There are different ways to conduct an ADA compliance audit on your website. Generally, businesses and brands use two methods: manual and automated.

Manual Auditing

When conducting a manual audit, you have to evaluate every web page of your website using WCAG guidelines. It involves reviewing many elements of your website’s design.

Additionally, the WCAG provides four principles for accessibility: operable, perceivable, robust, and understandable. You can read our comprehensive guide on the WCAG guidelines to learn more.

In many cases, a manual ADA compliance audit isn’t practical for businesses, especially when considering the consequences of non-compliance. This is where automated solutions come in handy.

Automated Systems and Software

Just like manual auditing, automated auditing software helps you identify accessibility issues on your website. You can use many tools online, including various accessibility checkers that check for color contrast, font size, and more.

Aside from these, the World Wide Web Consortium also provides comprehensive accessibility audit tools if you want to check your site for ADA compliance.

The downside to using automated tools is that they can report incorrect findings or errors. Because of this, you might make bad decisions when it comes to your site’s accessibility issues.

Manual vs. Automated: Pros and Cons

Just like any other process, manual and automated auditing have pros and cons. The table below will give you an idea of these pros and cons.

These will also help you decide what method to employ on your website. Some of these pros and cons include:

Process Pros Cons
Manual Auditing
  • Identifies accessibility issues undetectable by automated software
  • Less dependent on reports 
  • Less costly
  • Leaves room for human error
  • Extremely time-consuming
  • It can be a tedious task
Automated Systems and Software
  • Can check your websites thoroughly
  • Provides detailed reports on accessibility issues
  • It might be too costly for some
  • It can be inaccurate or misleading

Hybrid Auditing Solutions

Now, aside from manual and automated auditing, another option is the hybrid method. Hybrid auditing solutions require both manual and automated auditing.

Because of this, hybrid solutions work best in terms of checking for compliance.

Auditing Steps or Methodology

website auditing steps

Now that you know what auditing is, it’s time to discuss the steps involved in performing an ADA compliance audit.

Like any other type of audit, an ADA compliance audit is a systematic process. It involves moving from one step to another to provide a complete picture of your website’s accessibility status.

Generally, an ADA compliance audit involves the following steps:

Page-by-page analysis

You don’t have to go through every web page on your site, you can simply audit a few pages under each section.

This way, you get samples that could verify compliance. These samples will be reviewed closely.

Identifying violations

After evaluating your website’s samples, accessibility issues will be listed in a report. Three different criteria levels need to be reviewed, ranging from code to website layout.

Reporting

An ADA compliance audit report breaks down your website’s accessibility concerns in detail. These can be quite extensive, depending on the issue found on your website.

Generally, these reports contain vital information, including:

  • Code recommendations

Since reports contain suggestions on how you can fix accessibility issues, you might need to alter or completely rewrite your website’s code. You can do this on your own or through a third-party programming service.

  • Site structure

Your site structure might be hindering people from easily navigating your website. You might need to modify your website structure or reorganize your web pages.

  • Training measures

Of course, auditing means running tests and fixing errors to make sure you’re adhering to standards. Aside from these, it also involves conducting the necessary training to prevent further compliance issues in the future.

Benefits of Auditing Your Website

Aside from helping you identify accessibility issues on your website, an ADA compliance audit offers other benefits. This is what an ADA compliance audit means for business:

1) Saves you from lawsuits

As a business owner, you don’t want to leave room for any legal loopholes. While there are legal issues you can’t control, ADA compliance doesn’t need to be one of them.

Because ADA compliance lawsuits are on the rise, a website audit is essential. 

2) Promotes inclusivity

If you want a good business reputation in your industry, ADA compliance should be one of your key goals. These days, younger customers expect brands to share their values, especially those they do business with.

Of course, one of those values is the commitment to diversity and inclusivity. By adhering to the ADA, you don’t only make your website accessible to everyone; you also prove that you’re dedicated to attaining inclusivity.

3) Increases pool of visitors

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States live with some type of disability. Thus, if your website is inaccessible to the differently-abled, you can lose customers exponentially.

With this, an ADA compliance audit isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s also a great strategy for standing out among competitors.

4) Improves SEO

Search engine optimization means optimizing your website so that it ranks higher on search engine results pages. Just like accessibility, you need SEO to grow your business and increase your customer base.

Additionally, SEO and ADA compliance work hand-in-hand. Some best practices that involve the two include alt text, easy-to-read header tags, and closed captions.

5) Provides a better user experience

Simply put, auditing your website for ADA compliance provides your users with a better user experience, regardless of disability. For example, adding video transcripts helps non-native English speakers understand what your content is about.

Thus, ensuring that your website adheres to ADA standards allows all users to access your digital assets without barriers.

Accessibility checker

Wrapping Up

Website auditing and correcting ADA compliance issues is a positive step for your business

You should also make a point of keeping up with the constantly changing regulations and standards.

Make a point of auditing your website periodically to ensure compliance at all times.

Find out where you stand with a website audit on Accessibility Checker.

Want to learn more about website accessibility? Read more insightful articles below!

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