Almost every business needs a website, and the legal industry is no exception. But when it comes to creating a website that meets ADA compliance standards, law firms can be significantly challenged.
This blog post will outline 10 of the most common ADA compliance issues with law firm websites.
By being aware of these pitfalls, you can avoid them in your website design. Let’s get started!
10 Common ADA Compliance Issues with Law Firm Websites
Here are the ten common ADA Compliance issues with law firm websites:
- Missing Alternative Text:
Alternative text allows visually impaired users to know what an image is about. This is referred to as “Alt” text because it’s meant to provide alternatives for images that can’t be seen or are hard to see.
The alt text should always describe each image in full detail on any page where there are images. For example: if your website uses a photo of a man holding up his hand with five fingers showing, you might write alt text that reads, “A man is holding up his hand with 5 fingers showing.”
Without this important alternative information, many users will have no idea what your images are about, which could lead them away from your site entirely! It’s also worth noting that search engines use alternative text for search results.
- Lack of a Logical Reading Order:
One of the main guidelines for effective web design is that a page should always “flow.” The user should not get hung up on anything, especially not reading the order.
Your paragraphs of text should flow from one to the next in a logical order. The order you write them in may be different from how they’re numbered within the content, but the actual information itself must make sense when read from start to finish.
Here’s an example: “There are several common issues that many law firm websites have,” this would be a poor way to structure a paragraph because it jumps all over the place and doesn’t follow any particular pattern. Don’t put your readers through that!
- Lack of a Clear CTA:
In the US, a call-to-action is a primary method used for getting people to take action on your site – whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase or simply completing contact information so you can send them more information later.
A call-to-action is how you get your readers from Point A to Point B in the most straightforward way possible. It typically involves using language like “sign up,” “shop now,” or “let us know.”
If you don’t have one of these CTAs somewhere on every single page, then it’s time to add some in! That will help direct visitors toward conversion goals and reinforce that your CTAs are always meant to take visitors further into the site.
- Lack of Alternate Navigation Methods:
Many people cannot or do not use a mouse, including those with disabilities or simply aging adults. The ability to control cursor movement using only the keyboard is known as “mouse-less browsing.”
Suppose you’re not catering to these users by allowing them another method of navigating your site. In that case, they will start closing it down and looking elsewhere for information much faster than other users.
You must also make sure any page links have descriptive text instead of just words like “click here” or “here.” Rather, say things like, “Contact us now,” “Shop Now,” or whatever works best for your needs.
- Icons With No Alternate Text Descriptions:
Icons can be a great way to add some visual interest to your website, but if they don’t have any alt text associated with them, it’s like leaving out half the equation.
For many visually impaired users, this means they won’t know what your icons are about – which could lead them away from your site entirely!
To get around this issue, you should always include an alternate description of what each icon is supposed to mean when you’re designing your site.
Here’s an example: “A man holding up his hand indicating that he wants to speak in front of others in a meeting” would be perfectly acceptable alt text for an icon that shows a picture of someone holding up their hand.
- A Lack of Keyboard Accessible Links:
There are plenty of tools out there that can help automate the testing process for keyboard-only users, but it all starts with you making sure those links show up despite not using a mouse. Here’s how:
- Anchor text – Always use descriptive anchor text like “Contact us now” instead of “click here.”
- Icon alt text – You already know what we’re going to say about this one! Every single icon used on your site should have an alt tag associated with it, so someone who uses a screen reader knows what they do ahead of time.
- Link order – If you’re most important pages (like product pages) aren’t accessible via keyboard, you’re going to lose out on the majority of potential traffic.
- Flash Content:
Flash is like Kryptonite for search engines because it’s notoriously difficult for machines to read without human influence.
That means no matter how excellent your flash intro or movie is, maybe if it doesn’t have a transcript, then you’re losing out on valuable content that could be indexed and used in relevant searches – instead of pages that are just filled with junk text. Not cool!
- Automatic Playback of Audio & Video Content:
When it comes to accessibility, auto-playing audio can get old pretty fast. Not everyone wants to hear what you have to say, so make sure you include an “off” button or another method of stopping the media from starting on its own.
- No Keyboard Shortcuts or Assistive Technology Support for Site Navigation
Keyboard shortcuts are an easy way to make sure your website is accessible for users whose disabilities may prevent them from using a mouse or trackpad. These are often readily available, so always check with your web developer first if you have any technical questions about implementing them.
- Non-Standard (Non-Mobile) Viewports
Law firm websites need to be responsive and viewable by mobile devices because that is where many lawyers and law firms find their clients these days – especially those who don’t live in major cities like New York, Chicago, etc.
That means you’ll want to make sure your website is viewable on any devices that you may visit at some point. That’s where things like “viewport” settings come into play.
This article covered the ten most common ADA compliance issues on law firm websites. This is a crucial topic for any lawyer running an online business that may be violating one of the most important laws in America today.
Make sure you read through these 10 points and take action to make your website accessible before it’s too late!