5 Common ADA Compliance Issues with Law Firm Websites


Most websites and organizations struggle with ADA compliance due to the many rules and regulations there are to cover. However, it’s a critical part of website development that helps to increase its level of accessibility for everyone. Since law firms want to be accessible and available to everyone, it’s crucial to avoid common ADA compliance issues with law firm websites.

The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA is a federal law that has been effective since 1990 and helps to ensure equal treatment towards people with any form of disability. However, as ADA doesn’t have a clear guideline for websites most developers rely on WCAG or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. So websites can commonly face ADA compliance issues.

In the United States, one out of every four people lives with some form of disability. So you must be concerned about whether your law firm website has any ADA compliance issues or not. In the rest of the article, we have shared the most common ADA compliance issues your law firm website may be facing and much more. Without further ado, let’s get right to it!



Why Should Law Firms Have ADA Compliant Websites?

ADA compliance can be a headache for most websites and businesses out there. With too many rules and aspects of ADA compliance to navigate through, many law firms may completely disregard it when developing their website. Many law firms also believe that making their website ADA compliant can be too expensive and a time-consuming process.

But the truth is that having an ADA-compliant website is crucial for law firms because of a multitude of reasons. They are –


  1. Helps to Reach a Larger Audience

One of the most important marketing tools law firms have at their disposal is their official website. But when a large portion of your audience cannot access it, it can be a huge problem.

In the United States, one in every four people live their lives with a disability and they can access only ten percent of the internet. A research conducted by the Association of People Supporting Employment First or ASPE, clients that have disabilities, their families, and friends make up a $3 trillion market area that you might be overlooking.


  1. Social Responsibility

Firms, companies, and organizations must not only be socially responsible but also openly display their values in today’s market. Being inclusive to everybody has become extremely important.

Potential clients do their research to find firms that share their values of inclusivity. When you develop an ADA-compliant website, it is a great approach to show those who are just learning more about the law firm that you care about all of your potential clients.


  1. Avoid Fines and Penalties

The ADA regulations were originally formulated back in 1990 when internet technology wasn’t as widely used as now. So the law did not include any websites. However, nowadays, almost everyone uses or has a website of their own. So it is crucial to make sure web content is available and accessible to all – regardless of the past rulings.

In recent years, several law firms have gotten sued before the guidelines were officially released. A “safe harbor” clause allows current content generated before July 18, 2018, to stay unchanged. After that date, any new pages or changes to existing pages should be compliant.

Any modified pages on your website must comply with at least grade A standards, with AAA being the highest. If you want to avoid the legal troubles that can come from not being ADA-compliant, it’s best to make changes to your website now.


Most Common ADA Compliance Issues Law Firm Websites Should Avoid

In a nutshell, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil law that ensures equal rights for disabled people. When your law firm’s website design is accessible to everyone with disabilities, it can reach nearly 40 million people in the United States. A good web design for your law company not only complies with the law but also promotes your brand.

ADA compliant websites provide a better user experience for both disabled and non-disabled clients. So let’s take a look at the most common ADA compliance issues your website may face so you can avoid them –


  1. Issues with Color Contrasting

For those with visual impairments, low-contrast background and text can be an extremely common problem. When there’s insufficient color contrast, it can pose a great challenge for older people and those with eye disease, and someone suffering from temporary eye strain. These people find it extremely difficult to decipher texts from the background and the graphics.

So it is highly recommended that you always use ADA-compliant colors during the starting phase on the website of your law firm. The least contrast should be of 4:5:1 with a solid background required by the WCAG 2.0 level requirements.


  1. Small Font Sizes

People with visual disabilities are quite common, especially among elder people. For them, font size can be a concern as well.

Most web browsers offer keyboard shortcuts, such as “ctrl” – “+,” that lets a user magnify the text on the screen. Even so, the website’s design should take into account the need for larger font sizes.


  1. Mobility-Related Issues

There are many individuals out there who are unable to operate a mouse or a computer keyboard. Many face challenges seeing or focusing on the mouse cursor as well. Not taking these issues into account can pose a great challenge for those with mobility issues.

An ADA-compliant web design should be able to access and move between buttons, links, forms, and other controls by using alternative keystrokes. If possible, having an option to let users operate the website through the keyboard can take away some of these mobility-related issues.


  1. Missing Alt Text for Image Files

Images can be essential for creating a visually appealing law firm website design. However, when it comes to ADA compliance, problems can occur if there’s no screen reading technology. For people with visual disabilities, Alt text provides context or a description of an image.

If there’s no alt text, the image is regarded as broken. To minimize these challenges for them, every graphic image on a law firm website should have its alt text, which should sufficiently describe the image.


  1. Issues with Video and Audio Files

One of the most important aspects of developing a website and making it more accessible to people is providing media assets. For visually challenged people, images can pose a great challenge so audio and video files provide an alternate mode of access. However, for people with hearing issues, this works to their disadvantage.

By adding video and audio files with no consideration to those with hearing problems, you are disregarding a significant portion of your consumer. But this problem is easy to solve simply by adding subtitles to video files. For audio files, a written description can be useful. Subtitles can be a crucial addition to your website. You may also provide subs in multiple languages to reach a wider audience.


What Is the Optimal Level of ADA Compliance?

For most websites, the optimal level of ADA compliance is the AA level. There are three levels of ADA and WCAG compliance – A, AA, and AAA.Each level boost means a higher-tier website accessibility standard. These levels also offer websites more flexibility.

Only small business websites work fine with a lesser compliance level than government information-related websites.  For the most part, an AA rating works best for regular websites. AAA-level compliance is required only for the highly necessary ones.

However, it’s recommended to not stay in the A zone. There are far too many loopholes at this level. While it may appear to be fine, many disabled persons cannot use or navigate through the website properly. This can result in lengthy legal battles.

The accessibility standards for the AA level are a lot stricter. It gives great importance to color contrast, so it covers most of the vision disability issues. Comparatively, level A is too lax and becomes a trap for your law firm website. Vision disability is far too common. So the optimal level of ADA compliance is to at least stick to the AA level for a valid web accessibility solution.

The AAA level is far stricter than the other two. It’s so rigorous that it’s difficult to apply it all across your website As a result, most websites only use this standard partially. In most cases, incomplete implementation involves particularly important content.



Being ADA-compliant has several benefits for your law firm’s website, whereas failing to follow the requirements can result in a damaged reputation, lost leads, and legal bills. So you might be looking into the most common ADA compliance issues with law firm websites so you can avoid them.

In this article, we address the most common ADA compliance issues faced by law firm websites and the optimal level of standard you should stay within. We hope the article has helped you identify any ADA compliance issues with your website. And if you do, don’t be shy to contact us as we can fully optimize your website with ADA guidelines.

Working on a website can be difficult. Adding new media and updating pages is chore, even though you know your company website needs to evolve and become more accessible to the many users you are trying to reach. Maybe when you first built it, accessibility wasn’t even really discussed. But now you’ve taken a step back, looked at your customer base with a desire to include everyone and you’ve realized just how important it is to make your site accessible. However, the thought of building a robust site that can do all the things you want it to do is overwhelming.

What is Web Accessibility

A practice of designing and coding the website in order to provide complete compatibility in accessing it by people with disabilities. In addition, it is a way to improve search engine optimization only an ADA Compliant Web Designer will help you to make your website Compliant. Is your website compatible? By going through the checklist below, you can get the answer.

Assessing Current Web Pages and Content

  • The website must include a feature like a navigation link at the top of the page. These links have a bypass mechanism such as a “skip navigation” link. This feature directs screen readers to bypass the row of navigation links and start at the web page content. It is beneficial for people who use screen readers to avoid to listen to all the links each time they jump to a new page.
  • All the links should be understandable when taken out of the context. For example, images without alternative text and links without worded as “click here”.
  • All the graphics, maps, images, and other non-text content must provide text alternatives through the alt attribute, a hidden/visible long description.
  • All the documents posted on the website should available in HTML or another accessible text-based format. It is also applicable to other formats like Portable Document Format (PDF).
  • The online forms on the website should be structured so assistive technology can identify, describe and operate the controls and inputs. By doing this, people with disabilities can review and submit the forms.
  • If the website has online forms, the drop-down list should describe the information instead of displaying a response option. For instance, “Your Age” instead of “18-25”.
  • If the website has data charts and tables, they should be structured so that all data cells are associated with column and row identifiers.
  • All the video files on the website must have audio descriptions (if necessary). This is for the convenience of blind people or for having a visual impairment disability.
  • All the video files on the website must have synchronized captions. People with hearing problems or deaf can access these files conveniently.
  • All the audio files on the website should have synchronized captions to provide access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • All web pages should be designed so that they can be viewed using visitors’ web browser and operating system settings for color and font.

About Website Accessibility Policy and Procedures

  • One must have a written policy on website accessibility.
  • The website accessibility policy must be posted on the website at a location where it can be easily found.
  • The procedure should be developed to ensure that content is not added to the website until it has been made accessible.
  • It should be confirmed that the website manager has checked the code and structure of all new web pages before they are posted.
  • While adding the PDFs to the website, these should be accessible. Also, the text-based versions of the documents should be accessible at the same time as PDF versions.
  • Make sure that the in-house and contractor staff has received the information about the website accessibility policy and procedure to confirm the website accessibility.
  • It should be confirmed that in-house and contractor staff has received appropriate training on how to ensure the accessibility of the website.
  • The website should have a specific written plan if it contains inaccessible content. Also, it should include timeframes in place to make all of the existing web content accessible.
  • A complete plan to improve website accessibility should be posted along with invited suggestions for improvement.
  • The homepage should include easily locatable information that includes contact details like telephone number and email address. This is useful for reporting website accessibility problems and requesting accessibility services with information.
  • A website should have procedures in place to assure a quick response to the visitors with disabilities who have difficulty in accessing information or services available on the website.
  • Feedback from people who use a variety of assistive technologies is helpful in ensuring website accessibility. So make sure to ask disability groups representing people to provide feedback on the accessibility of your website.
  • Testing the website using a product available on the internet is helpful, These tools are of free cost and check the accessibility of a website. They may not identify all accessibility issues and flag issues that are not accessibility problems. However, these are, nonetheless, a helpful way to improve website accessibility.

Checklist of Action Items for Improving the Accessibility of a Website

In addition, while considering the above suggestions, the following checklist initially prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Federal Agencies provides further guidelines on ways to make websites more accessible for persons with disabilities.

This practical advice, as well as another checklist, are available at:

Satisfying all of these items does not necessarily mean that a website complies with ADA, but it will improve the website’s accessibility and decrease the risk of litigation. Again, an Expert or Web Accessibility Consulting & Services provider should be engaged to conduct a comprehensive review of your website.
Nothing brings you closer to reality than actually facing it. This is the premise of my latest attempt to spread awareness about Web Accessibility.
For better understand, here is a link in which a practical example is shown to make the websites’ user experience better by following the guidelines. Also, it tells the issues affecting various users on the internet with solutions.
You can make your website ADA compliant in an easy way by consulting the professionals, who can do this job effortlessly. Also, you can get a quick website audit from To Be ADA Compliant that offers complete web accessibility consulting & services in California, USA.

Resource: https://dev.to/chinchang/an-interactive-and-practical-introduction-to-web-accessibility-22o1