All You Should Know About ADA Compliance

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Many of us have heard about ADA Act but only a few have knowledge about it. Is it a threat to business for not following  ADA compliant guidelines? In this article, know all the basics of ADA Compliant website and go through the checklist provided to ensure you care about your all customers. 

Basically, this act was made for the business person to treat all the users including the people who are not efficient to access due to some disabilities. 

The American With Disability (ADA) Act, which was enacted in 1990, is a set of rules ensuring that everyone, including those with disabilities, has reasonable access to all areas of public life. 

 

It’s not just applicable for the public areas, it’s also about the website owners to provide information that is effectively accessible to all.

What is ADA Compliance?

 

What Is ADA Compliance

“The Department of Justice (DOJ) revised regulations for title II and III for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design in Sept 2010. These standards state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities”. 

The Revised Titles Stated as:  

An overview of both of the revised titles is stated below.

Title II (State and Local Government)

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services  

Title III (Public Accommodations)

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities 

It is also noted that online ADA compliance is not mandatory on anything but government-managed websites. Instead, these rules act as guidelines to ensure that everyone should be able to access, read/view your website.

The ADA Compliance Issues: 

ADA created suggestions for compliance but these suggestions do not make them law. The suggestions are the only guidelines for the website/business owners to follow. For example, disabled parking facilities mandates in the building codes. The same goes for the websites’ though. In addition, it is not explained completely. Thus, due to the lack of guidelines, it’s hard to judge whether a site is ADA compliance or not. 

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

Now, its time to look at your website to check is it ADA compliant or not. For this, here are a few checklist points you may go through:

Captions and Descriptions For All Videos – Make sure that all the video scenes have audio description for people who are blind or have low vision. Make sure the videos contain text captions so that people who are deaf or hard of hearing able to access it easily.

Alt Text For All Images – Providing text for each image is beneficial for the people who can read by using screen readers or Braille displays. By using Alt texts, people get the information that exactly what the image is for.

Ensure Your Website Meets Color contrast Standards This is useful for those with low vision or color blindness. They can change the website’s color and font to read it without any problem. 

Keyboard Navigation – Assistive technologies like imitate keyboard functionality is made for those who are navigating with their keyboard.

What To Do If You Get Sued 

It is likely that most of the notices received are for the purpose of settlement. If you ever received a letter for a lawsuit or settlement, the first thing not to do is panic. Remain calm because it is not mandatory that you can follow all the guidelines in one website. In a situation like this, you may rather follow the steps below: 

  • Investigate – First of all, investigate yourself about the law firm in question. You can easily get your answers on the internet. Check out the details and seek out the credibility of the firm and who the experts are. Moreover, you must research who all in your industry has received a letter from the same firm. Eventually, you may find a lot of businesses if you know your industry. There could be a chance of a class-suit that would be beneficial for the businesses involved in your industry. To take this action, you must know your industry well.
  • Understand the Claims Made Against You – Be sure that you have a firm that understands all the legal items that are highlighted in the letter. It would be great if you take help from outside. A legal counsel or digital agency is the better option to choose for this.
  • Be Confident To Explain Anything To Plaintiff – Explaining to the plaintiff about the review of the grievance and talked with a lawyer in confidence. It would be good if you explain the guidelines of ADA Compliance. It will be better to let your attorney contact the plaintiff when making statements.
  • Audit Your Website – A complete website accessibility audit is a pragmatic step to prevent getting an ADA lawsuit. It will show you accessibility issues on your website. For example, an audit may uncover that your PDF files can’t be read by assistive technology devices. It could also uncover issues around the alt-tags of images on your website. There are a lot of factors that go into ADA compliance. The audit will see where your site stands now and give you the steps you need to take to get it on track. 

In conclusion, it is all a brief introduction about ADA compliance act, the checklist to inspect and additions to your website, last but not the least, steps to take if in case you are sued for the lawsuit. 

The main concern is to take precautions and be on the safe side by making an audit of your website. You can consult, To Be ADA Compliant which provides web accessibility and consulting services. Schedule your appointment and get the best consultation for your website. 

 

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