Introduced in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helped those living with a disability by ensuring accessibility in public places and protecting from discrimination in the workplace. As technology grows, the ADA has grown with it. The ADA covers not only the physical world but also the worldwide web.
If you have a website or if you are thinking of creating a website, there are several benefits to having your website be ADA compliant. First and foremost, it’s actually the law. While the federal government has not started fining website owners, there has been a history of people being sued for non-ADA compliant websites.
Secondly, having your website accessible opens it up to more visitors who were originally unable to utilize your website. This can drive traffic and actually help increase your chances of ranking in the search engines because your website is now more user-friendly.
But what makes a website ADA compliant?
- Your website can be read by technology designed to help the visually impaired. This means your website needs to have alternate text for images, a proper color contrast ration and that all videos have closed captions.
- Your website is able to be used and searched in multiple ways. This means that people can use your website with their mouse, with their keyword, and all links and buttons are visible and named. A sitemap page with a list of all pages is also helpful.
- Your website is free from interstitials. This means that your website doesn’t have any autoplay videos or content that randomly appears on the screen.
Web developers and designers have a strict set of guidelines as outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. While level A is acceptable, most companies will strive to achieve a Level AA standard.
If you have a website or are currently thinking about creating a website, working with a team of developers who understand the nuances in designing and developing an ADA compliant site will help you in the future.