Home / Platform / Squarespace Website Accessibility and ADA Compliance 101
Danny Trichter
Author
Hina Ilyas
Researcher
#squarespace #webaccessibility
October 14, 2021
5 minutes

Squarespace Website Accessibility and ADA Compliance 101

Squarespace has become an increasingly popular website-creation platform over the years. Launched in 2004, Squarespace now generates annual revenue worth $754.2 million.

The platform currently hosts millions of websites, with 3.79 million subscribers across the globe. However, despite its growing popularity, Squarespace websites are still vulnerable to ADA compliance-related lawsuits.

Because simply being on Squarespace doesn’t make your website accessible. You have to add accessibility tools to ensure that your website is accessible and compliant.

Curious to learn more about ADA compliance website guidelines? Feel free to check our guide!

You can also learn about WCAG compliance by reading our WCAG guide.

That being said, let’s dive into how you can make your Squarespace website accessible for all. If you’re a website owner and want to attain Squarespace accessibility, continue reading!

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which all accessibility standards are based on, applies to both web pages and web applications, including native and hybrid apps. These guidelines provide detailed instructions on how website and app owners can make their platforms accessible to users with varying disabilities, ensuring they are not discriminated against in day-to-day life.

Understanding-WCAG-The-Global-Accessibility-Standard

WCAG forms part of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This initiative was created to ensure that disabled users don’t encounter any barriers when browsing websites and engaging with mobile apps, which are now an essential part of our lives.

According to Title 3 of the ADA, businesses are required to make modifications in order to accommodate people with disabilities. Despite the fact that websites weren’t originally named in the ADA, recently, courts have ruled that they should be included.

Squarespace’s Commitment to Accessibility

Squarespace’s Commitment to Accessibility

Squarespace takes the issue of accessibility seriously.

For instance, they have a detailed guide on the best practices for Squarespace accessibility. Changing certain elements ensures that your website is easier to navigate.

Some of Squarespace’s guidelines include:

Text

To achieve Squarespace accessibility, headings are a crucial element to consider. Headings should clearly show the structure of a website, making it easier for users to navigate.

Additionally, headings should highlight the importance of text. For instance, website owners should only apply heading 1 (h1) to the most important headings on their sites.

Images

Images help enhance the users’ visual experience and make a website more presentable. However, some users might not be able to view images.

Alt text is a best practice that you can employ to make your e-commerce site accessible for all.

Is Your Website ADA Compliant on Squarespace?

As mentioned, Squarespace provides its users with detailed guidance to ensure web accessibility for all. However, website owners are still responsible for achieving full ADA compliance.

So, how do you do this?

Ensuring full accessibility and WCAG compliance is achieved starts with a website audit. From there, you can opt to use suitable ADA compliance solutions.

Common Squarespace Accessibility Issues and How to Avoid Them

Common Accessibility Issues on Squarespace

Squarespace websites are known for their eye-catching and attention-grabbing designs. website owners can use ready-to-use templates without having to code.

With over sixty options available on the platform, you can choose a design that meets your needs. Customization is also a breeze.

The only problem is that these visually appealing websites come at the expense of accessibility.

If you have a Squarespace website, here are some accessibility concerns you should look out for:

Problem 1: Unavailability of fully accessible templates and plugins

Squarespace has customizable website templates and helpful compliance guidelines to ensure website owners can easily meet WCAG requirements. Unfortunately, not all templates and plugins are fully compliant with accessibility policies. What’s more, you might need coding knowledge to make certain changes.

Problem 2: Some accessible elements are too basic and can be compromised during customization

Squarespace templates allow you to easily adjust multiple elements on your site. These include headings, fonts, and colors. However, only 20% of accessibility requirements are related to design and UI changes. Additionally, having accessible elements doesn’t mean it’s an accessible website.

Problem 3: Most accessible elements that Squarespace templates offer are only related only to the website’s design

As mentioned, Squarespace offers a lot of templates that e-commerce site owners can tweak to their liking. Unfortunately, these designs are not made to be fully customizable.

And while the latest version has improved, there are still other aspects that have accessibility issues. These include navigation and semantic markup, which are both important for achieving Squarespace accessibility.

How to Attain Squarespace Accessibility?

How to Attain Accessibility on Squarespace

Once you’re done auditing your e-commerce site and find accessibility issues, you need to fix them to be ADA compliant.

Fortunately, there is a range of well-known solutions available to make it that much easier.

Here are our recommendations:

Audioeye: The No. 1 Choice
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • AODA
  • Section 508 Compliant

AudioEye is a compliance solution designed to help your website meet ADA and WCAG 2.1 compliance guidelines. It uses award-winning automated techonology but still fixes existing issues through manual remediation.

Pros

  • Improves your site’s accessibility score by an average of 25 points
  • Services over 60,000 clients across the U.S. and Canada
  • Accessibility statement and certification included
  • Litigation support packages available
  • Free 30-day trial

Cons

  • Not always suitable for European website

Existing Clients

accessiBe
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • AODA
  • Section 508 Compliant

If you’re looking for another automated compliance solution that you can employ, accessiBe is an excellent choice.

Not only will it help you comply with WCAG and ADA, but you can also receive an accessibility certification for your website.

Pros

  • Simple, affordable, effortless, and compliant worldwide
  • 7-day free trial
  • Account managers available to guide you through the product, pricing, and any questions you may have
  • Fast turnaround with a 5 min installation, and 48-hour compliance process

Cons

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

Existing Clients

Userway
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • AODA
  • Section 508 Compliant

Another tool you can use is UserWay. It’s an accessibility widget that you can install on your e-commerce site to achieve Squarespace accessibility.

Pros

  • Quick and easy process
  • 1M+ website installations
  • Affordable cost & dynamic pricing
  • Multiple solutions and services offered

Cons

  • Customer support is lacking

Existing Clients

EqualWeb
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • AODA
  • Section 508 Compliant

Lastly, we have EqualWeb. This compliance solution uses a mix of automated and manual remediation, making it an effective tool for attaining Squarespace accessibility.

Pros

  • Litigation insurance plan
  • Easy installation
  • Low starting cost
  • Free widget

Cons

  • Confusing pricing model
  • Expensive remediation package

Existing Clients

Tips for Website ADA Compliance

ADA compliance is easy to achieve, especially when you know what to fix.

Here are some tips that you should keep in mind to make website compliance a breeze.

☑️ Add a Website Accessibility Interface to Your Site

When you have an accessibility interface, any visitor can adjust the design of your site to cater to their requirements. For example, someone with a visual impairment can adjust the size and color of the text, while someone with ADHD can reduce distractions, making your site easier to use.

☑️ Cater to Assistive Technologies

The other step you will need to take to make your website accessible is to ensure it’s compatible with screen readers and navigation tools.

A screen reader makes it possible for visually impaired users to read all content on a webpage, including the alternative text of images. The alternative text explains what a user would see in a picture using descriptive language. Therefore, all visuals on your site should have alt tags.

Navigation tools are used by people who don’t have a full motor function – they allow for ease of movement when browsing a website. Some keyboard keys will perform specific functions, and on-screen keyboards will contain shortcuts to make navigation easier.

At this stage, you probably think that website accessibility sounds like a complex project. But with the right plugin, ADA compliance is easier than you think.

Access Exclusive Agency Discounts for Your Customers

AudioEye Partnership Program

The Audioeye Partnership Program makes developing accessible and compliant websites more affordable. Differentiate yourself from your competitors by adding ADA compliance to your agency’s offering!

The program is open to agencies of all sizes across several industries. Through this partnership program, you get access to exclusive perks and discounts that benefit your business and your clients.

Learn More About the Program Here!

Summary

If your e-commerce website is on Squarespace, it’s your responsibility to make every possible effort to ensure your site’s ADA compliance. Let’s face it: achieving ADA compliance can be time-consuming and quite costly.

However, the benefits you reap from it are useful for business. Not only does it help you steer away from legal risks, but it’s also a way to carry out your social and moral responsibilities.

Above all, an ADA-compliant website is good for your brand reputation, business, and other people.

If you found this article helpful, check out our other articles on ADA compliance for websites!

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