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WordPress Accessibility Guidelines (2022)

Hina Ilyas | Last updated: July 2022 | 10 minutes
WordPress Accessibility Guidelines (2022)

Did you know that over 450 million websites have been created using WordPress but very few of these sites are ADA compliant?

If you’re assuming that because you’re using WordPress your site is automatically compliant with ADA requirements, you would be wrong. 

While WordPress is committed to being as inclusive and accessible as possible, they don’t guarantee it. In fact, WordPress states the following on their site:

“WordPress aims to make the WordPress Admin and bundled themes fully WCAG 2.0 AA compliant where possible.”

It’s still up to website owners to take the steps necessary to ensure their sites are fully compliant with ADA laws. 

This guide will familiarize you with the importance of accessibility for your WordPress site and solutions to make your site compliant.

Let’s dive in!

Chapter 1

Basics of ADA compliance and Web Accessibility

Basics of ADA compliance and Web Accessibility

ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, was created to ensure that people living with disabilities don’t encounter barriers in their day-to-day lives. The ADA applies to places of public accommodation and while websites didn’t initially fall into this category, today they do.

The act states that websites need to be accessible to all, regardless of ability. This means website owners need to make changes to the layout, design, and functionality of their sites to cater to different disabilities.

Basically, a disabled user should be able to navigate your WordPress site and engage with your content in the same way that any other user would. 

In this chapter, we will understand what is ADA and WCAG and how does it apply to a WordPress site.

Let’s begin!

Defining ADA and WCAG

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.

If you use WordPress, your website also needs to conform to ADA and WCAG guidelines.

Read our definitive guide on ADA compliance to find out more, including step-by-step instructions on how to make your website fully accessible and ADA compliant.

ADA compliance for websites

Importance of Accessibility for your WordPress Site

Enhanced User Experience

Accessibility helps create usable products, services, and environments for people with disabilities, enhancing ease of use and the user experience.

For example, adding alternative text, or ALT text, helps people with visual impairments understand the media on your site.

Simply put, an accessible website is a more usable one.

Website-Accessibility-Matters-2

Reduced Risk of Penalties And Lawsuits

Everyone has the right to access the web, including people with disabilities.

Despite the ADA not explicitly mentioning websites, it’s broad enough to extend into the digital realm. Additionally, the DOJ has ruled that the lack of accessibility for websites may violate the ADA.

This means making your website accessible can protect your brand from costly lawsuits and a damaged reputation.

accessibility law

Improved Market Reach

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 4 U.S. adults live with a disability.

By making your website accessible, you’re opening your business up to a large number of new customers and all that’s required is a few simple modifications.

Many businesses have already lost sales due to inaccessibility – don’t let your business be one of them.

Media accessibility audio and video

Improved SEO

Providing the best possible user experience is what SEO is all about, which is why web accessibility and SEO go hand-in-hand.

For example, when you have a cleaner interface and smooth navigation, it decreases your bounce rate, which is good for SEO.

Once you start looking at SEO and web accessibility best practices, you can clearly see why they’re so closely related.

Non-compliance with accessibility regulations is far more costly and damaging than actually taking the time to make your website accessible.

Chapter 2

Risks Associated with Noncompliance

Risks Associated with Noncompliance

Non-compliance with the ADA can cause a number of problems for your business. For one, ADA lawsuits are on the rise, which means you could be facing unnecessary legal costs and months of hassle by not making your website accessible. 

Then there’s your brand’s reputation. Being involved in an ADA lawsuit can negatively impact your brand image and reduce the size of your customer base. 

Lastly, there’s general social responsibility – do you want your business to be deemed less socially responsible than those who are doing their part to create a more inclusive society? 

Of course not!

So let’s look into the issues you can come across if your site doesn’t comply with accessibility standards and policies.

More than ever, a full-service solution is beneficial to websites looking to achieve total compliance.

One single lawsuit against your company for not meeting digital accessibility standards can quickly add up to $10,000 and upwards.

Court fees, lawyer fees, settlement costs, and more can quickly drain your business of important resources. The ADA compliance WordPress plugins will not help you when a wave of demand letters and lawsuits arrive at your doorstep.

Furthermore, your business will risk alienating entire user populations from your products or services. If every 1 in 5 people are navigating the internet with some kind of disability or limitation, then you could be missing out on an entire population of potential customers and clients.

What Could Happen if Your Website is Not Accessible / ADA Compliant?

Law firms are keeping a close eye on WordPress websites because they know that non-compliance with ADA laws and regulations can make them a lot of money. Should you receive a website accessibility demand letter, you can expect to pay a settlement cost of at least $5,000. However, should the matter go to court, settlement costs can extend into tens of thousands of dollars.

screenshot-of-demand-letter

So what now?

From court rulings to digital rights activists, the general consensus is that websites, online stores, and apps need to be included as public spaces for people with disabilities.

Now, this might surprise you… Non-compliance is often more expensive and a bigger headache than actually achieving website accessibility compliance.

In chapter 3, we will examine how you can make your WordPress website accessible and ADA compliant.

Chapter 3

How to make your Wordpress site accessible and ADA compliant?

How to make your Wordpress site accessible and ADA compliant?

Luckily, achieving digital accessibility compliance standards has never been easier. Thanks to innovative, and automated solutions on the market today, you will not need to use precious business resources toward building a new website, coding, and so on.

In this section, we will look into some of the ways you can ensure your Wordpres site is accessible.

When browsing accessibility plugins for WordPress websites, you are likely to come across a variety that seems temptingly helpful. Plugins like WP Accessibility, WP Access Helper, and Accessibility Poetry are easy to install on major hosting platforms. And the most tempting part of all? They’re free.

Be sure to read the fine print. These resources and plugins do not guarantee complete compatibility and will often encourage you, as the site owner, to seek outside assistance in reaching full website accessibility. In short, these plugins may add some functionality to your website, but you will still be missing some major pieces related to WordPress ADA compliance.

Compliance is an investment in the longevity of your business and in your relationship with your customers. Investing a reasonable and affordable sum in an automated solution is certainly worth it. As a result, you will get a fully compliant website, security against lawsuits, the ability to reach a new audience base, and perhaps most importantly, peace of mind.

To help your business avoid confusion or mistakes, we’re detailing three innovative options for affordable, automated, and fully compliant accessibility solutions for WordPress ADA compliance.

Audioeye
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • Section 508 Compliant

Audioeye is one of the world’s top web accessibility solutions. The company ensures compliance with WCAG 2.1, ADA, Section 508, AODA, EN 301549, and IS 5568.

As a publicly traded company with more than a dozen patents under its wing,  Audioeye operates by scanning your website domain to find any accessibility issues or any factors that could result in a violation risk for your business. Then using AI-powered algorithms, Audioeye analyzes your website from top to bottom and introduces accessibility functions that fit your website’s unique code, content, and style.

Uniqlo, Kia and Tommy Hilfiger are just a few recognizable names that employ Audioeye’s automated web solutions. Pricing ranges from $49 per month to custom plans.

Pros

  • 20+ Experts with IAAP Certifications
  • Litigation Support Package and Monthly Compliance Audits
  • Instantly Improve Your Accessibility Score By an Average of 25 Points
  • 75,000+ Clients

Cons

  • Focused on USA and Canadian Markets

Existing Clients

accessiBe
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • Section 508 Compliant

accessiBe is a fully automated web accessibility solution that assists business owners in meeting important compliance requirements like those detailed in the WCAG, ADA, Section 508, EAA, ACA, and more. Your business needs to protect itself against expensive legal proceedings, and accessiBe’s automated solutions allow for your business to comply with legislation 24/7. Furthermore, your business can enjoy total protection as accessiBe works to re-scan, update, and fix accessibility issues every 24 hours.

As your business grows, so too will your online platforms. You will need to make sure that every new piece of content added to your website over time meets compliance requirements. However, if you choose to use accessiBe’s software, all you need to do is install a single line of JavaScript code, and after 48 hours, your website is fully compliant and certified and accessiBe’s software will continuously remediate your website, so you are free to upload new content with peace of mind that your website is always accessible.

Brands like BMW, Hilton, and HStern rely on accessiBe’s solution to maintain digital accessibility compliance. That said, you don’t have to be a major corporation to enjoy affordable access to automated website compliance solutions. accessiBe’s packages start at $490 per year or $49 per month for websites under 1,000 unique pages.

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

Userway
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • Section 508 Compliant

UserWay is one of the world’s leading automated website accessibility solutions. The company’s platform helps businesses achieve various international compliance requirements, including ADA and WCAG compliance. Most international standards require businesses to meet WCAG level 2 compliance standards, and UserWay’s solutions ensure a digital experience that meets and exceeds WCAG 2.1 AA requirements. That level of compliance will allow your business to adhere to governmental and regulatory bodies and avoid costly legal proceedings and fines.

Unlike plugins you can install on your website from around the web, UserWay offers a fully artificial intelligence Powered solution for the automatic, back-end, and front-end logic and remediation layers to ensure full accessibility is achieved. Through the use of AI and machine learning, UserWay can automatically identify and remediate accessibility violations rooted in non-compliant elements on your business’s site- and all in real-time.

No matter your business’s industry, UserWay can provide a seamless solution. Companies like Coca-Cola, eBay, and the YMCA all rely on UserWay to maintain compliance standards. Small businesses with up to 300,000 monthly views can start accessing UserWay’s solutions for $490/year.

Pros

  • Quick and easy process
  • 1M+ website installations
  • Affordable cost & dynamic pricing
  • Multiple solutions and services offered
  • Special monitoring tools for developers
  • Trusted by governments, NGOs, and other world-leading organizations

Cons

  • Customer support is lacking

Existing Clients

Chapter 4

Summary

Summary

Automated web accessibility solutions have never been so advanced or affordable. Thanks to advances in technological innovation, top automated solution companies like accessiBe, Audioeye and UserWay harness the power of AI and machine learning to ensure your website remains a lean, mean, compliant machine.

The need to maintain digital accessibility isn’t going anywhere, and the urgency and need for compliance will likely only continue to grow. It’s time to forget free plugins that only offer partial or inadequate compliance solutions. For a minimal cost, you can protect your website from expensive and resource-sucking lawsuits while reaching a wider and more diverse audience.

Don’t waste any more time; get started today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make a WordPress website ADA compliant?

All WordPress websites need to be ADA compliant, but this is made easy with plugins. There are several plugins that you can install to become compliant and avoid costly lawsuits. Audioeye is one of our top recommended web accessibility plugins.

How to modify menu links in WordPress to meet ADA requirements?

Online users who can’t use a mouse generally rely on the Tab key to navigate a menu. Menus should be identified using the <nav> element and each menu item should be labeled to make it easier to understand. You can use aria-label in your HTML code to label a menu item. Many of today’s WordPress themes can make a menu accessible without any manual inputs – several plugins are also available.

How to make sure WordPress website meets ADA requirements?

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your WordPress website is ADA compliant is to install an ADA compliance plugin. Some of the other aspects you should focus on include adding ALT text to all images, using clear calls-to-action, and ensuring any third-party features won’t interfere with usability and accessibility.

What is meant by ADA compliant for WordPress plugins?

A WordPress plugin that is ADA compliant will generally scan a website for any accessibility issues and outline how they can be fixed. These plugins rely on WCAG standards to identify problems that could lead to web accessibility lawsuits.

How to make search form in WordPress ADA compliant?

To ensure that all website users can access a search form on your WordPress site, it’s essential to label the input fields, offer instructions on how to complete the form, and add accessible user notifications. It’s also recommended that you validate user input and set focus states for any interactive elements.

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