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How to Test ADA Compliance
13 January 2022
ADA compliance

How to Test Your Website for ADA Compliance

Since its enactment in 1990, ADA requirements were initially only applicable to physical businesses and accessibility solutions. But in recent years, courts have agreed that it should also apply to websites.

Accessibility-related lawsuits are rising rapidly. In fact, Seyfarth Shaw found that in 2020, there were over 10,000 lawsuits related to accessibility non-compliance.

Non-compliance with accessibility standards doesn’t just affect major corporations either, small businesses are also at risk.

Due to this, website owners are advised to test their websites for ADA compliance to ensure they are meeting accessibility standards.

Now, if you’re a website owner, you’re in luck. This post will discuss an ADA-compliant website test in detail. If this interests you, continue reading!

If you are interested in learning more about ADA compliance for websites, access our free guide below

ADA compliance guide

Testing for ADA Compliance

ADA compliance testing is the process of ensuring a website or mobile application meets the necessary accessibility standards.

Thus, it is important to test for ADA compliance and WCAG compliance, especially in today’s digital landscape.

Of course, the accessibility standards you should comply with depends on where you are. If your website serves users in the United States, it should comply with the WCAG guidelines.

According to the WCAG, you have to ensure that your website adheres to four main principles: operable, perceivable, robust, and understandable.

  • Operable. Ensure users can easily navigate your website not only with a mouse, but a keyboard too. In simple terms, your website should allow users to navigate using keyboard-only commands.
  • Perceivable. Users must be able to find and process information and content efficiently. This means providing audio descriptions, transcriptions, and closed captions.
  • Robust. Your site should be able to adapt to users’ changing needs. For example, it should be compatible with screen readers.
  • Understandable. Your website and content should be easy to understand. This means the text on your website should be readable, it should expand abbreviations and include formats that don’t require advanced reading abilities.

Now, if you’re planning to test a website for ADA compliance soon, there are two methods you can choose from: manual and fully automated.

When to Test ADA Compliance

Manual ADA Compliance Testing

Manual accessibility testing involves checking your website or application yourself. This enables you to evaluate it for accessibility issues that might be barriers for disabled people.

Manual testing is crucial for identifying issues that an automated accessibility test may not find. You should also remember that 70% of the WCAG guidelines’ success criteria require human evaluation.

This way, an expert can properly interpret the criteria and navigate the areas that technology can’t. Remember that even though this is a time-consuming and costly approach, it delivers a thorough and complete report about your website’s accessibility status.

Here are some examples of manual testing:

  • Using a screen reader to test your website or app for content coherence when read aloud.
  • Testing your website’s navigation using only a keyboard to ensure that your content is accessible and that skip navigation links exist.
  • Turning off your speakers or microphones to ensure that the user experience doesn’t change with or without sounds.

Automated ADA Compliance Testing

Unlike manual testing, automated testing uses software and automated processes. The main benefits of automated testing are cost-effectiveness and quick turn-around times.

Many website owners use tools like accessibility checkers to do automated testing. Software like this can ensure that your website is accessible to all users, regardless of ability.

Mainly, these tools check for compliance with the WCAG and include testing elements such as:

  • Labels
  • Alt text
  • Font size
  • UI hierarchy
  • Text contrast
  • Internal and external links

However, while automated testing is fast, its downside is the lack of a thorough audit. Generally, automated testing tools cannot test websites and apps for all of the WCAG’s success criteria, which means it will still require human intervention.

The Ideal Approach to ADA Testing

While there are two methods to choose from, there is an ideal way to do accessibility testing. The best way is to adopt a mix of manual and automated testing, which is hybrid testing.

With a hybrid approach, organizations can customize the process according to their needs and goals. Besides this, here are some other factors to consider if you want to take on a hybrid approach:

  • The size of your website
  • The number of websites you have
  • How accessible your content management system is

Hybrid testing can be better than either one of the above-mentioned methods alone because it can automatically assess errors through human review.

When to Test for ADA Compliance?

Now that you know the basics of accessibility testing, it’s time to learn when to get it done. If you frequently update your website, you should perform an accessibility test regularly.

You should also test right away if you’ve never checked your site’s status before.

With an increasing number of ADA compliance lawsuits, you should develop a strategy of periodical testing.

This way, you can identify and solve accessibility issues and adhere to the latest accessibility standards applicable to you.

Not to mention, you can test a website for ADA compliance and also ensure accessibility for all.

Why Website Accessibility Testing is Important

An ADA-compliant website test enables website owners to identify potential accessibility issues on their sites. Thus, this allows you to find barriers for people with disabilities.

Accessibility testing can help you:

1) Avoid accessibility-related lawsuits

Non-compliance with applicable accessibility standards can be expensive. For example, a large pizza chain was sued and lost millions due to its failure to comply with accessibility standards.

And yes, corporations may have the financial resources for litigation. But, it would make more sense to avoid violating ADA guidelines and save yourself from the hassle of court proceedings.

Accommodate differently-abled people

2) Adhere to accessibility standards and regulations

Based on your location in the world, the accessibility standards that apply to you may vary. But if you have a website, it’s part of the global web.

This means that your website should comply with all accessibility standards and regulations related to the WCAG guidelines.

If you’re in the United States, accessibility standards include ADA Title III and Section 508. Your website might be subject to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act  (AODA) if you are based in Canada.

3) Accommodate differently-abled people

One of the greatest benefits of attaining website accessibility is promoting inclusivity for people with disabilities.

In other words, achieving website accessibility to help differently-abled people is the right thing to do. If you update your website regularly, ensure that you also allow time for accessibility testing.

Keep in mind that most accessibility issues are easy to find and address, especially when using hybrid testing.

4) Potential business growth

According to the World Health Organization, 15% of the global population lives with a disability. That’s over 1 billion people from all over the world.

So if your website adheres to accessibility guidelines, it doesn’t only help you include the differently-abled. You also help your business reach its highest growth potential.

5) Better user experience

If you want users to utilize your website or application fully, make sure that all your digital content is accessible.

Among other things, the accessible design provides easy navigation and text clarity. So if your website is accessible, it isn’t only user-friendly, it can also help you increase conversion rates.

Wrapping Up

Checking your website for accessibility issues is crucial in today’s digital landscape.

Test your website for ADA compliance and promote inclusivity to help you remove barriers for those living with disabilities.

Find out where you stand in terms of meeting accessibility standards by testing your website for ADA compliance at Accessibility Checker

Liked this post? Find more insightful references below!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is ADA compliance testing?

ADA compliance testing refers to the auditing and testing processes that are performed to determine whether a site meets ADA requirements. ADA compliance testing is carried out on both web and mobile applications. This ensures that anyone with visual or hearing impairments, as well as physical and cognitive disabilities has access.

2. How do you do ADA testing?

There are two ways that you can perform an ADA test. One option is to audit your site manually by evaluating each page and comparing it to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The second is to use an automatic ADA testing tool that scans your site for web accessibility issues. Most tools will also outline the fixes for each problem.

 

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