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The Best Way to Conduct an ADA Compliance Audit

Unlike other compliance and regulatory requirements, making your website accessible and ADA compliant is probably the one you’ll relate to the most. 

When was the last time you used social media? Probably this morning. How about purchasing something on Amazon? Or ordering a cab on Uber? The internet is as essential to our lives as electricity and water are. 

Now, imagine you don’t have access to most websites just because you are visually impaired, have mobility issues, or have a cognitive disorder such as seizures. Seems quite limiting and unfair doesn’t it?

The good news is that as a website owner, you can be a part of the movement to create a more accessible society for all.

Let’s dive in.

Infographic: ADA compliance audit

The Importance of Web Accessibility & Auditing Your Website

Web accessibility standards and regulations were put in place to ensure that everyone has equal access to the web, regardless of ability. Most of today’s global disability acts incorporate the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

These guidelines highlight what website owners need to focus on and change to ensure their websites are accessible to users living with disabilities. 

Should your website not meet these requirements, you could be the next recipient of a costly demand letter or be involved in a brand-damaging ADA lawsuit. Lawyers are constantly on the lookout for sites that are not ADA-compliant because of the high payouts that are often linked to these cases.

What’s more, by not making your website accessible, you are cutting off a large portion of the market that could potentially bring you hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. Not to mention the fact that you’re discriminating against a certain portion of your target audience.

Ready to make some changes? It’s easier than you think!

How to Conduct a Manual ADA Compliance Audit on Your Site

Testing your website against the latest ADA web accessibility standards requires a manual approach.

Undertaking a manual audit means evaluating every page on your site by WCAG guidelines, which is what ADA web accessibility standards are based on. 

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.

During the manual auditing process, an accessibility expert will ensure that each of your web pages meets these four WCAG principles. This involves using assistive technology and evaluating the code of your site to check for accessibility issues. Some of the checks that will be performed include:

  • Whether your content can be accessed using assistive technology such as screen readers.
  • If your site meets the necessary color contrast requirements.
  • Ensuring that all your images have appropriate alternative text and any videos have the necessary captions.
  • Using a keyboard or keyboard emulator to navigate and interact with your site.
  • Check that your website is properly formatted for users who rely on assistive technologies.

Following the audit, a comprehensive report is generated that outlines exactly what needs to be corrected on your site to comply. 

You can either get your web developer to carry out these updates or you can hire an accessibility expert to do it for you. 

Once all of the fixes have been completed, another audit is run to ensure nothing was missed and that you’re 100 percent compliant. 

You can learn more about our Manual Auditing services here.

What About Automated Testing?

If you’ve just started your accessibility journey, you will know that automated testing tools are also available.

While these tools are convenient, they are only capable of auditing a limited number of on-site elements. The result is that you may miss important issues that could result in a costly ADA-related lawsuit.

Running your site through an automated tool is a good starting point, but a manual audit is the best approach if you want to ensure you’re fully compliant. 

Benefits of Auditing Your Website

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:

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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