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You’ve heard about the ADA and AODA compliance but what exactly does it mean for your business?
ADA compliance can seem like a time-consuming task when you first get started, which has deterred many businesses from complying at all.
To prevent this going forward, smaller governmental bodies have taken things into their own hands by making the process more relevant to businesses in specific cities and provinces. The AODA is a byproduct of this effort.
If you are a public sector organization or website owner in Ontario, Canada, AODA website compliance applies to you.
So, where do you begin?
To make it that much easier for you to provide your customers with a more inclusive experience, we’ve created a basic guide and AODA website compliance checklist.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) came into effect in 2005 to ensure that all Ontarians had equal access to products, services, resources, and facilities, including those available online, regardless of ability.
Ontario is aiming to provide all residents with equal accessibility across public and private spaces by 2025.
AODA Ontario was not created as a replacement for the ADA, WCAG, or the Ontario Human Rights Code. Instead, it’s an extension of these acts and regulations, further ensuring businesses, public sector, and non-profit organizations that have 50+ employees adhere to the applicable accessibility laws.
The aim of this compliance checklist is to keep things simple, which is why it’s not extensive or exhaustive. It does, however, cover the most important aspects of AODA compliance.
We have also focused solely on website compliance, which will ensure your customers have full and equal access to your content, products, services, and general online facilities.
Many people will require assistive technology to access and engage with your site, including screen readers and keyboard navigation. Legal requirements for web accessibility state that your website needs to be compatible with technology such as this to cater to disabled users.
Many disabled users need clear labels and instructions to engage with certain elements on your site. Be sure to clearly label form fields, tables, and charts to provide visitors with an accessible experience.
To make your content easier to read and scan using assistive technology, it helps to incorporate numbered and bulleted lists where it makes sense to do so.
CAPTCHA codes are generally visual in nature, but since some website visitors might be visually impaired, it’s important to have audio alternatives available.
Website visitors need to be able to engage with every element of your website, including images, audio files, and videos. AODA compliance requires you to add alternative text to images and captions to video and audio files. Users should also have the option to stop audio output at any point.
People with mobility conditions and neurocognitive conditions often use eye-tracking devices to engage with online content. By looking at specific parts of a screen, a visitor can use input fields, on-screen keyboards, and any other technology that’s enabled for disabled users.
Since flashing content can cause seizures in some users, it’s important to either remove that type of content completely or limit it to 3 seconds or less. It doesn’t help to provide visitors with the ability to turn the content off either as they might not be able to do it in time.
Not only should you aim to keep your menus simple, but they should be standard across all pages. This makes it easy for your visitors to understand and they know exactly what to expect.
Lastly, make sure that if a user has to zoom in on text or any of the elements on your site that it doesn’t become distorted to the point of being unusable. Ideally, visitors should be able to zoom in on specific elements.
This AODA compliance checklist will provide you with the basics, allowing you to meet legal requirements and provide all users with an equally accessible experience.
By taking these small steps you can do your part to create a more inclusive society and project yourself as a socially responsible brand.
Find out where your website stands in terms of AODA compliance by assessing it through an online accessibility checker. You can do this on Accessibility Checker.
If you want to learn more about ADA and WCAG compliance, we recommend starting with these blogs:
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