The digital world has taken over and become an essential part of our daily lives. Consumers of technology use websites for work, information, socialization, etc. With that being said, not everyone has the same level of access to the internet. Consumers of different natures may face barriers when using websites. Issues like these can be with navigation, accessing proper sites, or fully understanding the content. These issues are where ADA compliance comes in as a useful tool.
The American with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people who face disabilities in all areas of public life. The ADA has been extended to cover websites, requiring them to be accessible to people with disabilities. ADA compliance is not currently a legal requirement for private businesses or organizations; however, many companies chose to make their websites accessible. The accessibility of your website is important for providing equal access to all users and avoiding any discrimination.
What Does ADA Compliance for Websites Entail?
Designing content for a website needs to be done so in a way that people who have disabilities can understand with ease. There are assistive technologies that can be used to formulate the structure of your website and its accessibility.
How Do You Make Your Website ADA Compliant?
● Alternative Text for Images – People who have issues with vision may use screen readers to access website content. Images need to be made accessible by providing alternative text that describes the content and functionality of the image. This option allows users to understand what the image is conveying if they have difficulties seeing it themselves.
● Closed Captioning – Closed captioning is such an important and useful tool when dealing with video content. Videos should include closed captioning options to enable people that are hearing impaired. Captions must be accurate and synchronized with the video and existing audio with the addition of descriptions and or relevant sounds.
● Descriptive Headings & Labels – Headings and labels are essential to the content that they are provided with. They should be descriptive and useful to the content in order to make it more fluid. These help users with cognitive disabilities navigate more efficiently and have a better understanding of the content structure.
● Keyboard Navigation – Users may have various disabilities that are not as common including issues with navigating their mouse or touchpad. It is important to ensure that all site functions can be accessed from the keyboard. Properly installing links and drop-down menus need to be opened and closed by keys.
● Color Contrast – Visually impaired people may have difficulties distinguishing between colors. With that being said, the contrast between content colors and background colors needs to be sufficient.
Recommended to Make Your Website ADA Compliant
Having an ADA Compliant website requires ongoing attention to detail and long-term effort. The benefits to doing this provides equal access to all users and helps improve the usability and user experience of your website. These fixes are the most effective way to make sure your website is accessible for everyone to enjoy. It may not be legally required now, but it very well could be one day!
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