With technology usage only expected to increase, organizations must ensure that their websites are ADA compliant. So, what does that mean for you?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted nearly 30 years ago to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities, specifically prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.
In our physical surroundings, public establishments abide by guidelines as required by law, like creating designated accessible parking spaces and adding raised markings on elevator control buttons. These accessibility guidelines have not been as enforced online, until now.
Beginning January, 2018, new ADA regulations for web accessibility will go into effect. While organizations cannot be 100% compliant, there are steps that they can take to ensure their sites are accessible to those with disabilities.
Here are a few:
- Review the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). These guidelines offer recommendations on how to make your website accessible.
- Conduct an audit of your site using a WAVE Web Accessibility Tool. Google Chrome’s WAVE Tool is a great tool to look for accessible issues, including missing alt tags, styles, etc.
- Make sure your images have descriptive alt tags. Alt tags are used by screen readers, players, and voiceovers to describe elements on a website to users.
- Review your website’s styles and elements, such as headings, buttons and links. Keep in mind “all” types of users who access your website, including those who experience disabilities. For example, if your site’s navigation incorporates lighter, smaller fonts on light backgrounds, this may be illegible for some users.
- Utilize web writing best practices when developing content. Keeping your website content simple and conversational can help users scan content easier. Using headlines and sub-headlines can also help break out content into smaller bites or sections. For abbreviations and acronyms like FBI, include periods between the letters, to help screen readers pronounce them properly.
- Audit your website’s code. Have a developer review the code and CSS to ensure best practices are being utilized and clean up outdated code.
With new ADA regulations for the Web planning to go into effect soon, it’s important to start taking steps to make your site ADA compliant. And remember, making your site ADA compliant is not a one-time fix. It’s part of your website’s ongoing maintenance.