ADA Compliance for your Website

Americans with Disabilities Act

When we think of ADA compliance, we generally think of ramps and large bathroom stalls. But ADA compliance extends to other areas, and it can even include websites.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Websites as public places

The issue of whether a website on the internet qualifies as a public place for the purpose of ADA compliance is still in question, but more and more lawsuits are being filed against businesses and non-profits whose websites do not achieve a certain level of compliance.

Logically, you want your website to be accessible to everyone. However, the standards for ADA compliance have only recently taken a spotlight, and there are no hard and fast government mandates.

There are several factors that go into making your website more ADA compliant. Considerations for website compliance often revolve around either poor vision, no vision or poor hearing.

Logically, you want your website to be accessible to everyone. However, the standards for ADA compliance have only recently taken a spotlight, and there are no hard and fast government mandates.

Elsie Gilmore, Owner – Solid Red Studios

ADA compliance for your website

Optimizing for ADA

For those with poor vision, accessibility improvements include better contrast between text and background, along with underlining links so people can more easily distinguish them. Your site should also have the ability to be magnified using browser controls.

For those without sight, who may need to navigate the site using only a text reader, considerations include making sure images, videos and audio files are properly labeled with meta data. For the hearing impaired, creating transcripts of audio and video files allows them to access the information contained therein.

Google’s Chrome browser offers a tool to “audit” your website for ADA compliance, among other things. While not perfect, this audit can give you an indication of where you might improve your website’s accessibility.

It may take from anywhere from one to ten hours to improve your website’s accessibility. It depends on factors such as your theme, plugins and content. Your web developer can give you an estimate of the cost, which may include purchasing a plugin specifically designed to assist with ADA compliance.

Taking a proactive stance to ADA compliance can save you time and cost down the road when compliance may become mandatory. Achieving a perfect score is not always possible, but getting the highest score possible should be the goal.