If your website is not in compliance with the ADA, you could be looking at a potential lawsuit. Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to bring your website into compliance.
This guide will walk you through the most important things to consider when remedying your website.
We’ll also provide some tips for making sure your website is accessible to everyone. Let’s get started!
Making Websites Accessible Is the Law
Your website must follow ADA guidelines to provide equal access and opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) enforces the ADA through investigations and lawsuits. If DOJ finds a violation, they may sue you to obtain court orders and monetary damages to stop the discrimination.
An accessible website reduces your risk of being sued by the DOJ or an individual with a disability. However, even if you are not at risk of legal action, it is still the law to make your website accessible.
We provide specific protections for existing websites built before April 21, 2010. Newer sites must comply with current standards (i.e., Section 508).
Understand The ADA Website Requirements
The ADA website requirements are split into four categories:
- High Priority
- Medium Priority
- Low Priority
- Extra Credit
Each of these categories is explained in detail below. Let’s get started!
Your website must be compatible with screen reading technology.
Ensure the content is accessible to screen readers by using text instead of images for headers, links, and buttons. Use descriptive link text that includes the function of the linked page, not just the title of the page or subpage.
If you include graphics on your web page, use ALT text to provide an accessible description. The ATAG 2.0 – Section 508 Guide includes further recommendations for ensuring your website is compatible with screen readers.
If you are using Flash or other non-text elements on your site, ensure that they include alternative information presented in a text format.
Your website must be compatible with speech recognition technology.
Ensure your site is compatible with voice recognition software by limiting background noise and not using scripting, Flash, or other elements that may cause the screen reader to misinterpret data.
By making sure your website is accessible to individuals who use screen readers and voice recognition software, you can provide equal access and opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Your website must be compatible with text magnification technology.
Users who have low vision may require enlarged fonts or larger images. By having these options available, everyone will have the ability to view your content.
Make sure to use scalable vector graphics (SVG) instead of bitmap graphics (PNG) to maintain the image quality even when it is enlarged. For further recommendations, refer to the W3C Mobile Accessibility Guidelines.
Your website must be compatible with color differentiation technology.
People who are color blind or have low vision may not distinguish colors well. Ensure that content is also available in black and white or grayscale to ensure everyone has access.
Your website must meet general requirements for text formatting and placement.
The text must be left-aligned, meaning that the reader starts from the same point on each line or paragraph. Headings, links, and buttons should be underlined, bolded, or both to show the text’s importance.
Wherever possible, use headings (H1-H6) to organize your content and make it more accessible. Do not rely only on color or font size to convey meaning because some users will not distinguish these changes.
Your website must provide captions for audio and video content.
Captions provide what is said in multimedia format (i.e., speech or background music). Refer to the FCC’s Online Captioning Best Practices Guidelines for further information on giving captions.
Provide transcripts for video and audio content.
Transcripts are text created from the audio file. The text should be available in a separate document or included with the multimedia content so users can read along if they cannot hear the video.
Provide alternative representations of color-dependent information.
Some individuals may not distinguish colors well, especially if they have low vision. Make sure that all information is available in a format other than color.
For instance, a background contrasts with associated text or uses shapes to represent information instead of colors.
Your website must be compatible with screen magnification technology.
Use large fonts and high-contrast color models to increase the font size of their browser if necessary. Your website should be compatible with the text enlargement function on most modern browsers.
Should I outsource ADA web accessibility remediation?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the decision of whether to outsource ADA web accessibility remediation will depend on a variety of factors, including a budget, timeline, resources, and expertise.
However, many organizations find that outsourcing this work can be a more efficient and cost-effective way to meet their ADA compliance obligations.
The first thing to consider is who will do the website cleanup: your development team or an external ADA website maintenance firm? If you already have a team in place, we strongly suggest utilizing it.
If your team is overwhelmed, doesn’t exist, or you’d instead work with a group of WCAG remediation professionals, we can step in and provide the assistance you require.
ADA Website Remediation:
The first step is to categorize the audit results by task type and importance or urgency. In our documentation, we indicate the level of each item and then give a priority ranking so that project management may use it. Issues are classified into three categories: design, content, and development.
Design Issue: These issues include colour contrast, movement, and audio.
Content Issue: These issues include information missing from the screen-reader text file or other features that do not rely on the design.
Development Issue: These issues are typically coding errors in which a developer may have implemented a solution to a problem in a way that creates new problems.
For each of these items, we guide how to resolve the issue and include any relevant references to the WCAG 2.0 at Level AA success criteria or other sources for more information.
When it comes to PDFs, you need a company that can handle the job for an affordable price. There are specialists out there who will remediate your entire website in bulk at discounted rates if needed; we recommend using one of these services instead!
Choosing a Sect 508 / ADA Website Remediation Consultant:
To start, ask for references from an attorney specializing in web accessibility or an experienced website designer.
You’re looking for a person or team who can get both the code and how people with disabilities use assistive technologies to navigate websites – which isn’t your average developer!
The ADA Website Remediation Guide is a comprehensive set of recommendations and best practices for making websites accessible to individuals with disabilities.
The guide offers an overview of the requirements of the ADA, explains how to make websites accessible, and provides case studies of organizations that have successfully remediated their websites.
If you’re looking for help remediating your website or want more information on the ADA, this guide is a great place to start.