What Does Having an ADA Compliant Website Mean?

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Can you imagine preventing certain customers from entering your store? Or painting over handicapped parking spaces? Websites, like physical spaces, require accessibility measures to reach all your potential customers. ADA-compliant websites ensure digital content is available for everyone, including users with screen readers.

Providing navigable websites for people with disabilities is as much a societal necessity as handicap-only parking spots. In addition to simply being the right thing to do, designing websites with accessibility in mind also results in sites that are rewarded with improved SERP positions and a better experience for all users.

What an ADA-Compliant Website Looks Like

As a healthcare provider you can’t afford to have your website non-Americans with Disabilities (ADA) compliant anymore. ADA might not technically be a law that applies to all websites – yet, but wouldn’t you rather be on the side of pioneering a new era of ADA-compliant websites?

In your office, ADA compliance might be a handicap button next to the door or signs with braille. On the internet, ADA compliance includes things such as providing alt-text for images, properly labeling content, and navigation tweaks like being able to use only a keyboard to get around a site.

There are a number of resources with incredibly detailed information surrounding Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) – consider this blog more of an overview.

The WCAG breaks it down into four categories. In general, an ADA-compliant website will be:

  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust

Perceivable: Captions, Colors, and Image Alt Text Best Practices

“Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.”

Because there are a variety of disabilities and levels of severity for each, a website designer needs to keep the user interface simple.

Here are some steps you can take to make your website more perceivable:

  • Use alt-text on an image. This gives the user an opportunity to have the computer read what’s in an image.
  • Add captions to video or audio content. Captions on videos allow users who are hard of hearing or who struggle with audio processing to follow along with what is happening.
  • Use the right text sizes and colors for visually impaired and color-blind users. Check out this great tool to see if your color scheme is accessible for text.
operable website flow chart drawing with finger pointing at center
Your website navigation should have a flow.

Operable: Accessible Website Navigation Bar Design

“User interface components and navigation must be operable.”

To keep your website operable, make sure that anyone can navigate the content without tricks or limits.

Your website navigation should have a flow.

Here are some steps you can take to make your website more operable:

  1. Make sure your website is navigable with only a keyboard.
  2. Something as simple as proper section headings makes your website more operable. Use section headings to break up the content in a logical manner.
  3. Try not to include content with time limits on your website. If you must, make it so the user can adjust the time limit to their needs.

Understandable: Writing Clear Content

“Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.”

Hopefully, this is something you’re already trying to achieve with your website. But there are certain aspects you can implement to make it easier for users to understand, across the board.

Here are some steps you can take to make your website more understandable:

  1. Expand abbreviations and have a way for users to identify unusual words, idioms, or jargon. If you need to use a term that not everyone knows, link to a definition of it.
  2. When a user inputs information, the form should make it easy to identify errors and prompt the user to check the information they entered if it seems incorrect. You’ve probably seen this on websites asking you to check your email address, for example.

Focus on predictable, consistent navigation throughout your website.

Robust: Check Website Accessibility Down to the Code

“Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.”

This is difficult because the internet is always changing, and we just try to keep up. If you’re going to have a website, the code needs to be solid.

Solid code is the foundation for a good website.

Here are some steps you can take to make your website more robust:

  1. Your HTML shouldn’t have any broken parameters or inconsistent tags.
  2. If your website has added elements, like a form, you’ll want to make sure each fill area has a name, a role, and a value.

Why Should MY Website Be Compliant?

Regardless of what industry you specialize in, you will have patients/customers with disabilities and physical or sensory challenges. Is it possible for blind people to use your site? Have you thought about someone with dyslexia trying to fill out an address form – what might that feel like for them?

Ultimately, adopting ADA website compliance tips will make your website well-rounded and polished for all users (hopefully, for years to come).

There are more than 50 ways you can implement ADA-compliant changes to your website using the WCAG, and each one makes your site better. We know them all. Our Accessible Design and Development team specializes in making existing and future websites accessible, going above and beyond the latest requirements.

Reach Out to Us for More Help

Leave WCAG compliance to professionals. With more than 20 years of web development experience and a team well-versed in the latest accessibility best practices, count on Oneupweb to make your website work for everyone. Contact us or give us a call at 231-922-9977 today to get started.

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