Is Your Website ADA Compliant?7 min read

    Published: May 18, 2023

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to provide accommodations for people with disabilities, including web content accessibility. This guide helps small business owners ensure their websites are ADA-compliant and provides information on achieving compliance.

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Is Your Website ADA Compliant?7 min read

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to provide accommodations for people with disabilities, including web content accessibility. This guide helps small business owners ensure their websites are ADA-compliant and provides information on achieving compliance.
Image

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?7 min read

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to provide accommodations for people with disabilities, including web content accessibility. This guide helps small business owners ensure their websites are ADA-compliant and provides information on achieving compliance.
Image

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?7 min read

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to provide accommodations for people with disabilities, including web content accessibility. This guide helps small business owners ensure their websites are ADA-compliant and provides information on achieving compliance.
Image

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Understanding the Importance of Website ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to provide accommodations for people with disabilities, including web content accessibility. This guide helps small business owners ensure their websites are ADA-compliant and provides information on achieving compliance.

The ADA’s Impact on Digital Accessibility

The ADA extends to digital spaces, requiring businesses covered by ADA Title I or Title III to develop websites offering “reasonable accessibility” to people with disabilities. However, there are no explicit ADA regulations defining compliant web content.

Related: ADA Compliance Regulations that May Surprise You

What is ADA Compliance?

The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities in various sectors. In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design mandated electronic and information technology, including websites, to be accessible to people with disabilities.

Identifying Businesses Required to Comply with the ADA

Businesses must understand which ADA titles they fall under:

  • Title I: Covers businesses with at least 15 full-time employees operating for 20 or more weeks annually.
  • Title III: Applies to businesses classified as “public accommodation,” such as hotels, banks, and public transportation.

If your business falls under either title and you’re unsure about compliance, consult a disability lawyer for guidance. Even if not legally required, ADA compliance is encouraged to promote diversity and inclusivity.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a Reference

Many organizations follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a reference for improving digital accessibility. There are three WCAG versions (1.0, 2.0, and 2.1) and three levels of conformance (A, AA, and AAA). Adhering to these guidelines can help ensure ADA compliance.

Related: Web Accessibility for Web Developers

Addressing the Lack of Clear ADA Compliance Rules for Websites

Without defined rules for ADA website compliance, businesses must still provide accessible websites for users with disabilities. Actions to build an ADA-compliant website include:

  • Creating alt tags for images
  • Providing transcripts for video and audio content
  • Identifying the site’s language
  • Offering alternatives and suggestions for input errors
  • Establishing a consistent, organized layout

Strategies for Developing an ADA-Compliant Website

To improve website accessibility for users with disabilities, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Create alt tags for images, videos, and audio files to allow users with disabilities to access alternative descriptions of content.
  2. Provide text transcripts for video and audio content to help deaf and hard-of-hearing users understand otherwise inaccessible content.
  3. Identify the site’s language in the header code so that text readers can function accordingly.
  4. Offer alternatives and suggestions when users encounter input errors to improve navigation for users with disabilities.
  5. Establish a consistent, organized layout by clearly delineating menus, links, and buttons for easy navigation.

Consulting with a disability attorney is recommended for businesses concerned about ADA compliance. However, reviewing ADA requirements is a crucial first step for those starting on their own.

Potential Liabilities for Non-Compliant Small Businesses

Failure to comply with ADA regulations can result in lawsuits and costly expenses. In addition to legal repercussions, non-compliant businesses risk losing customers due to inaccessible websites. Furthermore, ADA compliance can improve search engine rankings and increase online visibility.

Achieving reasonable accessibility for users with disabilities can help businesses avoid legal issues and improve sales and search engine rankings. Consulting with a disability attorney can provide valuable insights into ADA website compliance and protecting your business.

Four Principles of WCAG for Accessible Websites

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) outline four key principles essential for making web content accessible to people with disabilities:

Perceivable: Ensure users can perceive the information presented.

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
  • Add captions for audio content.
  • Present content in various ways without losing meaning.

Operable: Allow users to operate the interface and navigate content easily.

  • Make functionality available through a keyboard.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Prevent content from causing seizures or physical reactions.

Understandable: Help users understand the information and user interface operation.

  • Make text readable and clear.
  • Ensure web pages appear and operate predictably.
  • Assist users in avoiding and correcting mistakes.

Robust: Create content compatible with a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

  • Ensure compatibility with current and future user tools.

By following these principles, businesses can build accessible websites catering to users with disabilities.

Creating an Accessible Color Scheme and Typography

An essential aspect of website accessibility is the use of color and typography. To ensure your website is accessible, follow these guidelines:

  1. Use high contrast colors for improved readability for people with poor vision or color vision deficiency. In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated that electronic and information technology, including websites, be accessible to people with disabilities.
  2. Do not solely rely on color to communicate information; this can be difficult for people with colorblindness or difficulty distinguishing colors.
  3. Select legible fonts: Choose fonts that are easy to read and have clear distinctions between characters. Avoid using overly decorative or stylized fonts that may be difficult for some users to read.
  4. Use proper font sizing: Ensure that your font size is large enough to be easily read by users with low vision. Consider providing an option for users to adjust the font size themselves.

Implementing Keyboard Navigation and Focus Indicators

Many users with disabilities rely on keyboard navigation to interact with websites. It is essential to make sure that all interactive elements on your website can be navigated using a keyboard. This is to ensure that all users can access the website.

Additionally, provide focus indicators to help users understand which element is currently selected. This can be achieved by:

  1. Ensure interactive elements are focusable. This includes links, buttons, form fields, and other interactive elements. These elements should be accessible using the Tab key.
  2. Providing visible focus indicators: When an element is focused, it should be visibly highlighted to indicate its current state. This can be achieved using CSS to style the :focus pseudo-class.
  3. Organize content and interactive elements on the page in a logical tab order. This order should follow the natural reading order of the page.

Making Forms Accessible

Forms are a common feature on websites and must be made accessible to users with disabilities. To create accessible forms, consider the following:

  1. Label all form fields: Use the <label> element to associate a label with each form field. This helps users understand the purpose of the field and provides context for screen reader users.
  2. Group related form elements together. Use the <fieldset> and <legend> elements for this purpose. This will provide a descriptive label for the group.
  3. Identify any errors users make while entering data. Offer clear instructions on how to resolve them. Error messages can be used to inform users of mistakes they have made. These messages should appear close to the incorrect field.

Accessible Multimedia Content

Multimedia content, such as videos and audio files, should also be made accessible for users with disabilities. To achieve this, consider the following:

  1. Provide captions and transcripts: Offer captions for video content and transcripts for both video and audio content. This ensures that deaf and hard-of-hearing users can access the information presented in multimedia formats.
  2. Provide audio descriptions for videos. This ensures that people with visual impairments can access all the information presented visually.
  3. Enable user controls: Provide users with the ability to control multimedia playback, including pausing, rewinding, and adjusting the volume.

Regularly Testing and Updating Your Website for Accessibility

To maintain ADA compliance, it is essential to continually test and update your website for accessibility. Regularly evaluate your site using accessibility testing tools, manual testing, and user feedback to identify areas for improvement. Address any issues promptly to ensure that your website remains accessible to all users.

Partner with ThinkPod Agency for ADA Compliance

At ThinkPod Agency, we recognize the significance of digital accessibility. We work hard to help our clients build an ADA-compliant website that is accessible to everyone, no matter their abilities.

Our team provides tailored website services. We do this to meet your business needs. This way, you can have a website that follows the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you need help making sure your website meets requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact ThinkPod Agency. We will help you protect your business and make sure your customers have an accessible and enjoyable experience. Learn how our ADA Compliance solutions can help you succeed online.



Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Understanding the Importance of Website ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to provide accommodations for people with disabilities, including web content accessibility. This guide helps small business owners ensure their websites are ADA-compliant and provides information on achieving compliance.

The ADA’s Impact on Digital Accessibility

The ADA extends to digital spaces, requiring businesses covered by ADA Title I or Title III to develop websites offering “reasonable accessibility” to people with disabilities. However, there are no explicit ADA regulations defining compliant web content.

Related: ADA Compliance Regulations that May Surprise You

What is ADA Compliance?

The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities in various sectors. In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design mandated electronic and information technology, including websites, to be accessible to people with disabilities.

Identifying Businesses Required to Comply with the ADA

Businesses must understand which ADA titles they fall under:

  • Title I: Covers businesses with at least 15 full-time employees operating for 20 or more weeks annually.
  • Title III: Applies to businesses classified as “public accommodation,” such as hotels, banks, and public transportation.

If your business falls under either title and you’re unsure about compliance, consult a disability lawyer for guidance. Even if not legally required, ADA compliance is encouraged to promote diversity and inclusivity.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a Reference

Many organizations follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a reference for improving digital accessibility. There are three WCAG versions (1.0, 2.0, and 2.1) and three levels of conformance (A, AA, and AAA). Adhering to these guidelines can help ensure ADA compliance.

Related: Web Accessibility for Web Developers

Addressing the Lack of Clear ADA Compliance Rules for Websites

Without defined rules for ADA website compliance, businesses must still provide accessible websites for users with disabilities. Actions to build an ADA-compliant website include:

  • Creating alt tags for images
  • Providing transcripts for video and audio content
  • Identifying the site’s language
  • Offering alternatives and suggestions for input errors
  • Establishing a consistent, organized layout

Strategies for Developing an ADA-Compliant Website

To improve website accessibility for users with disabilities, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Create alt tags for images, videos, and audio files to allow users with disabilities to access alternative descriptions of content.
  2. Provide text transcripts for video and audio content to help deaf and hard-of-hearing users understand otherwise inaccessible content.
  3. Identify the site’s language in the header code so that text readers can function accordingly.
  4. Offer alternatives and suggestions when users encounter input errors to improve navigation for users with disabilities.
  5. Establish a consistent, organized layout by clearly delineating menus, links, and buttons for easy navigation.

Consulting with a disability attorney is recommended for businesses concerned about ADA compliance. However, reviewing ADA requirements is a crucial first step for those starting on their own.

Potential Liabilities for Non-Compliant Small Businesses

Failure to comply with ADA regulations can result in lawsuits and costly expenses. In addition to legal repercussions, non-compliant businesses risk losing customers due to inaccessible websites. Furthermore, ADA compliance can improve search engine rankings and increase online visibility.

Achieving reasonable accessibility for users with disabilities can help businesses avoid legal issues and improve sales and search engine rankings. Consulting with a disability attorney can provide valuable insights into ADA website compliance and protecting your business.

Four Principles of WCAG for Accessible Websites

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) outline four key principles essential for making web content accessible to people with disabilities:

Perceivable: Ensure users can perceive the information presented.

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
  • Add captions for audio content.
  • Present content in various ways without losing meaning.

Operable: Allow users to operate the interface and navigate content easily.

  • Make functionality available through a keyboard.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Prevent content from causing seizures or physical reactions.

Understandable: Help users understand the information and user interface operation.

  • Make text readable and clear.
  • Ensure web pages appear and operate predictably.
  • Assist users in avoiding and correcting mistakes.

Robust: Create content compatible with a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

  • Ensure compatibility with current and future user tools.

By following these principles, businesses can build accessible websites catering to users with disabilities.

Creating an Accessible Color Scheme and Typography

An essential aspect of website accessibility is the use of color and typography. To ensure your website is accessible, follow these guidelines:

  1. Use high contrast colors for improved readability for people with poor vision or color vision deficiency. In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated that electronic and information technology, including websites, be accessible to people with disabilities.
  2. Do not solely rely on color to communicate information; this can be difficult for people with colorblindness or difficulty distinguishing colors.
  3. Select legible fonts: Choose fonts that are easy to read and have clear distinctions between characters. Avoid using overly decorative or stylized fonts that may be difficult for some users to read.
  4. Use proper font sizing: Ensure that your font size is large enough to be easily read by users with low vision. Consider providing an option for users to adjust the font size themselves.

Implementing Keyboard Navigation and Focus Indicators

Many users with disabilities rely on keyboard navigation to interact with websites. It is essential to make sure that all interactive elements on your website can be navigated using a keyboard. This is to ensure that all users can access the website.

Additionally, provide focus indicators to help users understand which element is currently selected. This can be achieved by:

  1. Ensure interactive elements are focusable. This includes links, buttons, form fields, and other interactive elements. These elements should be accessible using the Tab key.
  2. Providing visible focus indicators: When an element is focused, it should be visibly highlighted to indicate its current state. This can be achieved using CSS to style the :focus pseudo-class.
  3. Organize content and interactive elements on the page in a logical tab order. This order should follow the natural reading order of the page.

Making Forms Accessible

Forms are a common feature on websites and must be made accessible to users with disabilities. To create accessible forms, consider the following:

  1. Label all form fields: Use the <label> element to associate a label with each form field. This helps users understand the purpose of the field and provides context for screen reader users.
  2. Group related form elements together. Use the <fieldset> and <legend> elements for this purpose. This will provide a descriptive label for the group.
  3. Identify any errors users make while entering data. Offer clear instructions on how to resolve them. Error messages can be used to inform users of mistakes they have made. These messages should appear close to the incorrect field.

Accessible Multimedia Content

Multimedia content, such as videos and audio files, should also be made accessible for users with disabilities. To achieve this, consider the following:

  1. Provide captions and transcripts: Offer captions for video content and transcripts for both video and audio content. This ensures that deaf and hard-of-hearing users can access the information presented in multimedia formats.
  2. Provide audio descriptions for videos. This ensures that people with visual impairments can access all the information presented visually.
  3. Enable user controls: Provide users with the ability to control multimedia playback, including pausing, rewinding, and adjusting the volume.

Regularly Testing and Updating Your Website for Accessibility

To maintain ADA compliance, it is essential to continually test and update your website for accessibility. Regularly evaluate your site using accessibility testing tools, manual testing, and user feedback to identify areas for improvement. Address any issues promptly to ensure that your website remains accessible to all users.

Partner with ThinkPod Agency for ADA Compliance

At ThinkPod Agency, we recognize the significance of digital accessibility. We work hard to help our clients build an ADA-compliant website that is accessible to everyone, no matter their abilities.

Our team provides tailored website services. We do this to meet your business needs. This way, you can have a website that follows the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you need help making sure your website meets requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact ThinkPod Agency. We will help you protect your business and make sure your customers have an accessible and enjoyable experience. Learn how our ADA Compliance solutions can help you succeed online.

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