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ADA compliance, web compliance, accessibility
November 29, 2021
10 minutes

Your Guide to Achieving ADA Compliance on Any Website

Having a digital presence can take your business to new heights.

However, the real question is whether your website will ever reach its full potential if it’s not accessible to everyone, regardless of the ability.

Laws, rules, and regulations ensure websites are accessible to all and can be used without any barriers. Some of these include the ADA, section-508, and the WCAG.

If you’re a business owner who’s interested in expanding their customer base and avoiding costly lawsuits, this ADA compliance guide is for you.

If you are curious to know more about ADA compliance for websites, visit our guide below.

ADA compliance guide

What Is Website Accessibility?

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:

  • Visual impairments

Some users have visual impairments that hinder their ability to see clearly or perceive color contrasts.

  • Physical disabilities

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

Cognitive disabilities include conditions like dyslexia and dementia.

  • Hearing impairments

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.

What are some examples of website accessibility features:
  • Website customization for a personalized experience
  • Keyboard-friendly navigation
  • Elements have high contrast between each other
  • Large and easily readable text
  • Subtitles and closed captions

What is the ADA?

ADA compliance guide for your website

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.

How many sections does ADA include?

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.

Read this post if you want to learn more about ADA compliance!

Tips for Achieving ADA Compliance

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.

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

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

Website accessibility solution

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

Auditing Your Website for ADA Compliance

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.

If you don’t know where to start, you can write your accessibility statement using our accessibility statement generator.

5) Use plugins and software.

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: Our Top Recommendation
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • AODA
  • Section 508

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Built specifically for websites and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)- some web apps might not be compatible

Existing Clients

Note for Agencies

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!

Wrapping Up

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.

Find out the status of your website by conducting an audit on Accessibility Checker

Found this article insightful? Learn more about ADA compliance below!

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