A website is mandatory for every business. All the information you need is right at your fingertips. While opening a website seems an easy task, it is not quite that simple for everyone. Someone with a disability who wants to access your site may not be able to get all the information they need.
In the last few years, the awareness surrounding disabilities and their limitations has been on the rise. Therefore, many courts now include websites under the ambit of ADA or Americans with Disability Act. Suffice it to say that many companies are then left wondering: What is ADA, and what does it mean to be ADA compliant? What are the repercussions if a website doesn’t follow the guidelines? How do I make my website ADA accessible?
Let us find out!
How Can Your Website Meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA Standards?
The World Wide Web Consortium created the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA standards to help website creators in making their content accessible to all. Every business should follow these guidelines to develop an ADA compliant accessible website. The guidelines can be broadly classified into four categories.
These guidelines specify how to make all forms of media accessible to everyone.
- It requires to provide text alternatives to non-text forms of media such as images and videos.
- Videos should also have another audio that describes the information that is not included in the original audio.
- The content should also be scalable up to 200% without impacting the website’s usability.
- It also specifies that there should be a colour contrast of 4.5:1 between the text and background.
These guidelines target the operability of your website. They ensure that the features of the ADA compliant accessible website are designed in a manner that makes it easy for people with disabilities to use.
- The user should be able to access all the functionality of the website from the keyboard. Anyone using keyboard-only controls should never get stuck on a particular page with no way out.
- It specifies that all information that is blinking or moving or flashing should have a pause or stop option. Content shouldn’t flash more than thrice in one second.
- The website should provide users with adequate time to consume all the content. Anything with a time limit should also come with the option that the deadline can be extended if needed.
These guidelines are established to ensure that a user can grasp the flow of content without much difficulty.
- Every page should have a descriptive title and must use heading and labels.
- The appearance and operation of the website should be predictable. It also shouldn’t change drastically from page to page.
- Pages should also have a sitemap, navigation menu, search bar, etc. that make it easy to search for information on the page.
These guidelines ensure that the code of the page follows universally accepted standards, and therefore, can be easily understood by assisted readers.
- Assistive technologies must be able to successfully decode the markup language of the page.
- Custom-built interfaces must also abide by the same standards as other markup languages on the internet.
What Are The Benefits Of ADA Compliant Accessible Websites?
The guidelines mentioned above should give you a general idea of how to make a website ADA compliant accessible. While the list may seem long and complicated, let us assure you that the benefits do make it worth the effort. Here are just some of the reasons why you should make your website ADA compliant.
Expand Your Target Audience
Every business website aims to reach out to more people and convert more visitors into customers. Considering the fact that around 15% of the global population lives with some form of disability, using an ADA compliant accessible website helps you reach out to more people.
It is not just about reaching out to more people. When a person with a disability visits your website and sees that you have put in the effort to make the site more user-friendly for them, they are more likely to become your customers. It also gives you an advantage over your competitors in the cut-throat business world.
Improve Your SEO Ranking
Search engines examine the websites from a human perspective and give better rankings to ones that are easier to comprehend. Abiding by the WCAG guidelines ensures that you have provided alt tags, meta tags, headings and labels, and video transcripts. Since these factors are considered by the search engine to determine the website rank, your website naturally scores a better rank.
ADA is a law that protects the disabled from any form of discrimination. It requires all places of public accommodation to follow specific rules that guarantee equal access to people with disabilities. Even though websites are not stated in the act, the term place of public accommodation can be interpreted as referring to websites too. This is particularly true if you run an online business.
Many well-known companies have been dragged to court over the accessibility of their website. A lawsuit and the associated penalty if you lose becomes an added expense. You can ensure that such a situation does not arise by making your website ADA compliant and adhering to the WCAG guidelines.
Improve Your Reputation
Inclusivity is no longer a luxury. Businesses that take proactive measures to be inclusive are recognised for their efforts by everyone. A WCAG compliant accessible website sends the message that you are ready to go the extra mile to accommodate everyone in your business and that you genuinely care about your customers.
Increase Your Revenue
All of the above advantages ultimately lead to an increase in your revenue. An ADA compliant accessible website attracts all sections of the population, keeps lawsuits at bay, improves the user experience, search engine ranking, and your reputation. These will definitely increase your customer base, which, in turn, will increase your revenue.
Clearly, your website must be designed in a way that is accessible to those with a disability. Creating an ADA compliant accessible website will help you get more traffic for your business. The guidelines mentioned above answer will provide a more inclusive user experience for all your clients.