Accommodating Disabilities with ADA Compliance

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An Increase in Web Accessibility Lawsuits

In 2017, there were 814 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) web accessibility-related lawsuits filed. Fast forward to 2018 and this number jumped to 2285 lawsuits, a 181% year-over-year increase. While every state had lawsuits filed, New York, California, and Florida saw the highest number. Additionally, the most targeted industries included retail, food service, travel/ hospitality, banking/ financial, and entertainment & leisure, though no industry is immune.

It seems all companies and industries we deal with on a regular basis have a necessary digital footprint. The ADA is ensuring this world is fully accessible to everyone, and the digital world is no exception. That is why they have compliance rules in place for every site on the world wide web. The ADA requires certain businesses to make on-site accommodations for people with disabilities.

These accommodations touch many facets of your website and are related to:

  • Website Presentation
  • Website Appearance
  • Content Alternatives
  • User Control
  • Website Usability

“How do I know if my website is ADA compliant?”

A reasonable question to pose. But here is the tricky part: Although failure to create an ADA-compliant website could negatively impact your brand, there are no clear regulations defining website accessibility. And what’s more, the ADA has declared that there is no real “defense” for failing to meet regulations, leaving many a little lost.

As a general guideline, you can protect your business by adhering to Level AA compliance regulations. This laundry list of regulations can be difficult to digest. Additionally, it is not easy to manually ensure on a regular basis that your site remains compliant as new content is added. 10 Pound Gorilla recommends leveraging 3rd party software solutions to help identify compliance issues.

10 Pound Gorilla & Monsido

Monsido will scan piles of data on your website for compliance issues and report back on the changes that need to be made in order to have a website that is accessible to all of your potential customers! As it scans your domain weekly, the platform organizes compliance standards by level. (A, AA, and AAA) You can begin with low-level fixes and work your way up. Monsido offers features that will help you maintain compliance such as:

Page Assist: an accessibility toolbar that gives visitors to your site with & without disabilities control over the way in which they view your website. This toolbar can serve as a badge of compliance and potentially deter lawsuits.

PageCorrect: a widget* within the platform which allows you to detect compliance issues and quickly remedy them without modifying or editing your website. Once edited, the platform flags these quick fixes so you can go back and provide resolve them in the actual website code at your convience.

Even though Monsido detects ADA issues for you, compliance can still be overwhelming. 10 Pound Gorilla is here to support your ADA needs! We are hosting a free webinar on Wednesday July 24th at 2pm EDT. We have assembled a panel of industry experts to teach you about the risks and solutions around ADA compliance. Click here to register for the webinar.

Original Article can be found here

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.