Does Your Website Need To Be ADA Compliant?

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Every business owner builds his website with the best design, a responsive to desktop, mobile, and tablet. He wants his website to be unique in all manners that will attract the clients and deliver the amazing user experience. 

But sometimes they forget that not all users are able to use the website due to their incapability of accessing the website. Whereas, the others make their site by taking caring of ADA compliant, yet they have to face the litigations. This article highlights some of the basic queries regarding ADA website compliants and marks the three levels for better understanding. 

Is ADA Compliance Mandatory For Your Website

Usually, people leave no stone behind fulfilling the requirements of the Americans Disability Act yet they may have to face the lawsuit. A few ones understand that disability is not limited to blind people only. Basically, you need to make your website according to the users who are unable to access the website. Disabilities can be – blindness, hearing impairment, mobility, Epilepsy, cognitive, and Cerebral Palsy. 

Besides, the website must be designed in a way that meets potential user’s needs. For example, Domino’s was alleged for not making their website accessible for blind people.  

Thus, it is not mandatory to make your website ADA compliant. This is due to the ADA rules not being clear on how and if the rules can be and will be applied to any existing website. But definitely, it must be accessible by almost all types of users, for being on the safe side. 

There are three levels of ADA Compliance that explains the level of compliance and accessibility features. 

  1. Level A – This compliance is focused on basic mechanisms that allow people to easily navigate the website. Also, to ensure that it is readable. In taking care of readability, this level is achieved by implementing options to change the font size, color, and language.
  2. Level AA –  For better accessibility features, level AA has been designed. The features include text-to-speech mechanisms or text additions attached to non-text content. In addition, these websites often include other systems like error identification alerts and color contrast viewing options.
  3. Level AAA –  For complete coverage, this level has been made. Features like accessibility for all disabled people included in this level. According to this level, the website includes almost all kinds of disability facilities like sign language mechanism – for all multimedia content and it offers presentations in various formats to support different accessibility barriers.

What Happens If You Are Sued? 

The reports show that ADA Title III lawsuits are continuously rising by 8% since 2015. Also, it is quite challenging to understand whether the ADA applies to your site or it depends where you are sued. 

The good news for potential defendants is that the only remedies available in private ADA suits are instructions that force you to come into compliance and attorneys’ fees. If the Department of Justice gets involved, they can seek civil fines and penalties. Hence, you need to do a benefit analysis as to whether it is worth challenging the claim or not. 

As these claims become more prevalent, the WCAG 2.0 or similar standards will become just as familiar as including SEO elements into new sites. These standards include the use of “alt-text” features which allows screen reader technology to convert text to audio for the visually impaired.

Overall, it is seen that ADA compliant has been introduced so as to eliminate the discrimination in society and give equal rights to all. The websites are being made according to the ADA Compliant to provide equal benefits of accessing the websites. This is done by understanding the levels of guidelines suitable for their business. It is also seen that ADA lawsuits are on a hike which is based on the inaccessibility of disabled users. 

Pro Tip – Undergo a website audit to check whether the website is accessible by all of the users or not. For newbies in the business, it is suggested to design your website and get your website ADA compliant from the initial stage itself.

 

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