ADA Compliance and Web Accessibility Standards

What is ADA? How does one comply? And why does it matter? You’ve probably heard about ADA, but are unfamiliar with the nitty-gritty. We can fill several blog posts full of information on ADA and it’s rules and regulations, but we’re going to trim it down and make it easier to digest.

So what is ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are a series of regulations that a business must follow to provide equal opportunity to individuals with disabilities. Title III prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation which can lead to possible lawsuits if one does not abide by its regulations. Although not specifically listed, websites fall under the rules of Title III and are therefore required to comply with accessibility standards to avoid any issues including possible lawsuits like this one facing Domino’s.

What that means for web

From a web standards point of view, there are many things to look out for in regards to accessibility. The most commonly known standard is including alt text for images. Alt text is a descriptive text used to identify the contents of an image to help your visually impaired audiences.

Be aware that background images may be relevant to the page content and may need alt text also to prevent a disconnect between a user and your website. For example, a thumbnail image may be used as a background to provide a more fluid transition between devices. In these types of situations, we are provided a special kind of syntax specific for accessibility known as WAI-ARIA allowing the assignment of roles to website elements.

Below you can find a few other accessibility standards to keep an eye out for.

  • Contrast between background and foreground elements
  • Appropriately sized spacing around links
  • Readable font sizes. 16px-18px is seen as the minimum font size to be easily read
  • Accessible navigation – Nav menus should be accessible with tab on a keyboard. This includes dropdown menus.
  • Clear labels for form fields – Note that labels hidden with CSS or HTML syntax are also hidden from screen readers
  • Proper use of HTML syntax. This includes not using a div for every single element! Use semantic HTML such as anchor and button tags for links, nav, footer, and other container identifiers, and so on.

Is your website accessible?

There are many resources out there that help you identify how compliant a website is to ADA standards. Wave, for example, is a web accessibility evaluation tool that scans a site to provide a list of possible issues that may interfere with accessibility. Another valuable resource is WebAIM’s Contrast Checker which allows you to view the contrast rating between background and foreground colors.

There are many parts that define how accessible a website is. To be compliant with the Americans with Disability Act, seeking professional help is always an option. Our team here is dedicated to constantly improve website accessibility to have a consistent experience for every user. Need help with ADA compliance? Contact us and Let’s Go!

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