Web accessibility is a crucial practice for creating a rich web experience for everyone. What this means is that access to websites should have no barriers, especially for the differently-abled.
For instance, The World Bank reported that more than 15% of the global population lives with a disability. This can include:
Some users have visual impairments that hinder their ability to see clearly or perceive color contrasts.
Some people live with mobility impairments, which affect their skills and ability to move. In most cases, using a mouse can be difficult.
Cognitive disabilities include conditions like dyslexia and dementia.
These impairments hinder users from clearly hearing sounds and music. These can include deafness and partial hearing loss.
To provide a great user experience for everyone, businesses have to ensure that their websites are accessible.
You should make the necessary modifications to your website to cater to the needs of differently-abled people. This way, online content and general website functionality will be fully available to them.
Website customization for a personalized experience
Elements have high contrast between each other
Large and easily readable text
Subtitles and closed captions
What is the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in different life areas. These include employment, federal services, and public accommodations.
The ADA includes five sections, known as titles, each covering a different area of public life. These five sections titles are:
Title I: Employment
Title II: Public Services: State and Local Government
Title III: Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities
Title IV: Telecommunications
Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions
Now, if you’re a business, Title III of the ADA applies to you.
Title III of the ADA ensures that places of public accommodation are accessible to people with disabilities. It also protects the differently-abled by ensuring that there are no barriers to services.
According to the ADA National Network, places of public accommodations include hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and banks, to name a few. Now, why do websites have to be ADA compliant?
While websites aren’t explicitly mentioned as a public accommodation, courts have recently found that the ADA can apply to websites. Although there aren’t specific guidelines for website accessibility, most businesses turn to the WCAG accessibility standards.
Website accessibility is crucial to providing a great user experience. While you can’t be 100% compliant, there are things you can do to make sure that your website is accessible to as many people as possible.
Here are some ways to achieve ADA compliance for your website.
1) Understand website accessibility guidelines like ADA, WCAG, and section-508.
Because there are no specific guidelines that pertain to websites, businesses and federal organizations refer to existing accessibility standards, including the WCAG and Section-508.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
The current WCAG 2.1 guidelines ensure that your web assets are accessible through three conformance levels: A, AA, and AAA. The WCAG also follows four guiding principles, ensuring that your website and its elements are accessible to the differently-abled.
Section-508 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on disability in federal programs, employment, and aid. It also provides standards that cover the accessibility of information and communication technology.
These standards provide recommendations on what modifications you can make to achieve website accessibility. Thus, understanding these standards will help you fix accessibility issues on your website.
2) Refer to ADA-compliant websites
With the rising number of ADA noncompliance lawsuits, businesses have started focusing more on website accessibility. There are a lot of ADA-compliant website examples you can use as references.
For instance, BBC’s online streaming service, BBC iPlayer, has several accessibility features. It’s not only easy to navigate, but it’s compatible with assistive technologies.
The Scope website is also a great example as it features an accessibility assistant. This lets users customize the appearance of the website, allowing for a better user experience.
Since these websites adhere to accessibility standards, it makes them a great inspiration for those who have just started their accessibility journey.
3) Audit your current website
A website accessibility audit determines how accessible your website is. It involves evaluating your website and its pages for accessibility errors and generating a report containing the errors found on your website.
Conducting a website audit helps you identify the accessibility features your website is lacking. You can do this by using third-party tools or manual auditing to ensure your website employs the best practices for accessibility.
If you’re ready, you can kickstart your accessibility efforts by performing a website audit.
Website auditing helps you identify accessibility concerns on your website. Doing this periodically allows you to make the necessary changes if there are any.
Additionally, conducting a website audit regularly helps you keep up with the latest accessibility standards and checklists available to you.
4) Publish an accessibility statement
Providing an accessibility statement on your website is important for several reasons.
For one, an accessibility statement shows that you are committed to attaining accessibility. It also shows that you care about your users by providing them with your website’s accessibility information.
Generally, an accessibility statement contains the accessibility standards you’ve applied, your commitment to accessibility, and contact information.
Plugins and third-party accessibility software help you attain accessibility more easily. These tools detect accessibility issues and fix them for you.
Some of these tools are also free, so take advantage of them if you’re new to website accessibility.
If you don’t have enough time, you can have a third-party accessibility solution provider do the job for you. We recommend checking out accessiBe,UserWay, and EqualWeb, three of the most trusted accessibility software options in the industry.
accessiBe is an AI-powered, fully automated web accessibility solution that makes web accessibility effortless and affordable, empowering every business to achieve ADA and WCAG 2.1 compliance within 48 hours.
Fast turnaround with a 5 min installation, and 48-hour compliance process
100,000+ clients use accessiBe including legal and government organizations
Includes accessibility statement and certification
Litigation support package and monthly compliance audits
Built specifically for websites and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)- some web apps might not be compatible
Are you an agency that manages a client’s website? If you want to make websites ADA compliant through third-party service providers, start with the Accessibe Partner Program.
Join a partner program now with exclusive offers!
Accessibility is an important issue, especially in the digital world, which is why all sites need to be ADA compliant.
Being compliant helps you avoid lawsuits, makes your website more user-friendly, and promotes inclusivity. The job may seem difficult, but with the help of tools and resources that are discussed above, accessibility is not impossible to attain.
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