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WordPress Accessibility Guidelines (2022)

Anthony Tait
Author
| Last updated: November 2022 | 5 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?

Just because you’re using WordPress doesn’t make your site automatically compliant with ADA requirements.

While WordPress is committed to being as inclusive and accessible as possible, they don’t guarantee it.

WordPress states the following on its 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 familiarizes you with the importance of accessibility for your WordPress site and solutions to make your site compliant.

Let’s dive in!

What is ADA Compliance?

According to Title 3 of the ADA, businesses must make modifications to accommodate people with disabilities. Even though 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. For example, adding alternative or ALT text helps people with visual impairments understand the media on your site.
  • 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. The DOJ 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 damaged reputation.
  • 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 with a few simple modifications, you’re opening your business up to many new customers. Businesses continue to lose sales due to inaccessibility – don’t let your business be one of them.
  • 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, having a cleaner interface and smooth navigation decreases your bounce rate (Great for SEO). Once you start looking at SEO and web accessibility best practices, you can 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.

 

 

Want to know if your WordPress site is ADA compliant right now? Simply enter your URL in the free accessibility checker below.

Accessibility Checker

Scan your website for accessibility related issues for free

Chapter 2

Risks Associated with Noncompliance

Risks Associated with Noncompliance

Non-compliance with the ADA can cause some problems for your business.

For one, ADA lawsuits are rising, which means you could face 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 doing their part to create a more inclusive society? 

Of course not!

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

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

 

  • ADA Lawsuits

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.

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 essential resources.

Furthermore, your business risks alienating entire user populations from your products or services. If every 1 in 5 people navigates the internet with some disability or limitation, you could miss out on an entire population of potential customers and clients.

 

  • Damaged Reputation

What does it say about a business when it’s in trouble with the law? Most of the time—it’s not a positive headline. Even though there may be no intention to discriminate against people with disabilities, a run-in with an ADA lawsuit paints the picture of a business that doesn’t care for its customer’s or employees’ needs. Failing to facilitate a better user experience and more inclusive environment–that results in higher traffic–also says a lot to investors and partners about the staying power and stability of your business.

  • Fumbled Leadership 

It’s pretty simple. Many people with disabilities are left out and forgotten. Some speak up for themselves, but many remain silent, missing out on connection and productivity while they wait for change. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to lead the way to a more inclusive online world.

So what now?

From court rulings to digital rights activists, the consensus is that websites, online stores, and apps should 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 making your website accessible.

Chapter 3 examines how you can make your WordPress website accessible and ADA compliant.

Accessibility Checker

Scan your website for accessibility related issues for free

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, automated solutions on the market today, you don’t need to use precious business resources toward building a new website, coding, etc.

This section expands on the following six steps that ensure an accessible WordPress site.

1. Get an ADA compliance plugin for WordPress

2. Ensure your content is easy to read

3. Use ALT text on all your images

4. Refine navigational buttons and links

5. Scan your site with AccessibilityChecker

6. Automate your web accessibility compliance

1. Get an ADA Compliance Plugin for WordPress

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 significant pieces related to WordPress ADA compliance.

2. Ensure Your Content is Easy to Read

Even without disabilities, managing tiny font sizes and eye-straining color schemes feels slightly abusive. Those with visual impairments can’t read your content at all—you may as well hang a sign, “We don’t serve the blind.”

Here’s what you can do to fix this:

First, adjust the column widths so there are roughly 7-10 words on each line. This ensures that your font size won’t set off flags. Next, adjust the color scheme of your website so that the text stands out from the background. You can use the WP Accessibility Plugin or other similar tools to test the contrast of the text against the background.

3. Use ALT Text on All Your Images

If you’re concerned about SEO best practices, you should already use ALT text on all your images. Regarding accessibility, ALT text allows higher comprehension for those using screen readers.

4. Refine Navigational Buttons and Links

Whether designing a table of contents, linking to a product page, or making a CTA button, it’s important to use specific and clear directions. For example, a CTA button that says “Read More” is pretty vague. A thoughtful alternative like “Read More About Web Accessibility” informs the reader where the link will take them.

If your website contains ambiguous links, it prevents those using screen readers from accessing the rest of your site.

5. Scan Your Site With AccessibilityChecker

The free web accessibility scanner we keep presenting lets you know where your website stands. In moments, it lays out a complete and up-to-date evaluation of your website in a tidy report. It instantly recommends at least one solution to fix each compliance issue—showing you precisely what you need to do next.

6. Automate Web Accessibility Compliance

Compliance is an investment in the longevity of your business and your relationship with your customers. Investing a reasonable and affordable sum in an automated solution is 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. After AccessibilityChecker scans your website, it recommends the most suitable accessibility software solution based on your local laws.

Accessibility Checker

Scan your website for accessibility related issues for free

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 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 grow. It’s time to forget free plugins that only offer partial or inadequate compliance solutions. You can protect your website from expensive and resource-sucking lawsuits for a minimal cost while reaching a broader 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. This is made easy with plugins. You can install several plugins to become compliant and avoid costly lawsuits. accessiBe 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 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. 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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