As the Internet quickly became a place for doing business, lawmakers realized that persons with disabilities faced new obstacles. The Internet was an unwelcome place to individuals with various disabilities.
Poorly designed websites can create unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities, just as poorly designed buildings prevent some people with disabilities from entering.
If your business has a website, you need to be aware of how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to your web-based activities.
ADA Website Compliance
ADA website compliance means that your website content must be accessible to Americans with a range of disabilities.
Websites need to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which focuses on making web content more accessible to persons with disabilities.
“Providing a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.”
Four ADA Principles for Websites
Websites must follow four principles to be considered ADA Compliant. Each principle and its guidelines shown below are directly from W3C and WAI:
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
- Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
- Create content that can be presented in different ways.
- Include assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
- Make it easier for users to see and hear content.
- Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
- Give users enough time to read and use content.
- Do not use content that causes seizures.
- Help users navigate and find content.
- Make text readable and understandable.
- Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.
Test Your Website
Use the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) – https://wave.webaim.org/
Fix Your Website to Avoid Legal Issues
Businesses across the country are getting slammed for operating websites that discriminate against the blind or visually impaired. Fines are high and can be avoided by fixing accessibility issues on your website. It’s worth the effort and should be on your immediate “to do” list.