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ADA Website Checklist For Businesses

Ananda Jothi Balakrishnan
ADA Website Checklist For Your Businesses

The Americans Disabilities Act was first conceptualized in 1990, highlighting the civil rights of the disabled citizens of the country and making public squares more accessible for them. Today, that law has extended its outreach to a more digital prospect and companies, now going digital are mandated to abide by the new regulations that emphasize digital collaterals like websites and other elements to be disabled-friendly. 

In the scenario of successive lawsuits concerning disability and abiding services, The American Department of Justice announced the necessity for e-commerce platforms and the regular brick-mortar organizations to adopt the ADA regulation, abiding by the WCAG 2.1 rules. 

Do you believe that you fall into the category of businesses that must adhere to the legal compliance of ADA? If you have a website, the chances are that you do. So, what are the steps that you can take to ensure that your website falls in line with ADA adherence?

 

Create Space - Remove the Barriers

In the cases of Brick & Mortar organizations, these businesses are mandated to create public accommodation by removing specific barriers that hinder the disabled population’s mobility. Similarly, websites too have obstacles that must be removed to help challenged consumers to navigate easily. 

Unlike the common notion, it is not too difficult to ensure the website is accessible for people with various disabilities. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sets the main international standards for the World Wide Web and its accessibility. W3C has created the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 & 2.1) which are international, this includes the guidelines and best practices to be followed to make the websites more accessible and easier to comprehend by varying user population.
 

  • Enable users to navigate to the specific blocks of a page by using a “Skip Navigation” option which directly allows users to either navigate to the header, menu, body or footer of a page. This would ensure users are able to access the sections of the page much faster rather than having to go through all the other sections. This is of great help for keyboard only users.

  • Balance the Art of Text and Images: This can be achieved by adding text to your images. Most websites have images, but not all sites have images accompanied by texts. Adding the text will help the user verify the context, as well. For instance, an alt text will help a blind person recognize the image as the screen reader will read out the content attached to the visual.

  • Recognizable labels/name for all form controls: Users with varying disabilities highly depend on assistive technology tools to navigate through the website. Hence, we need to ensure that these assistive technology tools can identify the form controls such as text fields, radio buttons, drop down lists, check boxes, buttons and other frames. The form controls should have proper label and name which helps identify the controls as well as the right purpose of these form controls.

  • Structured Table and data: Data tables should be structured in a proper format to ensure that there is clear indication of the header details and a proper association of the data with the header in each row. Users should be able to navigate/correlate the data in tables in website using various assistive technology tools such as screen readers and voice recognition software.

  • Structured Page and Titles: Contents of the page should be structured in a proper way from left to write and top to bottom. Ensure that proper heading levels are used which will help users understand the layout of the content. Every page should have proper page title which identify the purpose of the page.

  • Error messages: Proper error messages should be available which helps users identify and correct the problems in any forms that are available in the website. The error messages should be displayed at the right place which is clearly visible to users with varying visual impairments.

  • Use of Color:  We need to be very cautious with the selection of the colors for the text, images, background and foreground, as we need to maintain a proper contrast ratio between the foreground text and the background color. Also, any information or content should not be represented solely only by means of color, we should always have relevant textual representation available in the page. For example, a pass and fail status should not be indicated by just colors, but relevant text should also be available to indicate the status.

  • Enabling accessibility for varying impairments: The following table details some of the items we need to take into consideration to make the website accessible.

 

Impairment Categorization Checklist
Visual Impairment Blindness, Low Vision, Color Blindness
  • Can the user access webpage by using screen readers? 
  • Is it possible for the reader with low vision to improve the attributes of the display quality like contrast and brightness?
  • For the color blind, are the colors used distinguishable? Also, are the texts in sharp contrast to the background?
  • Does all video content have a relevant audio or text content available?
Hearing Difficulty or Loss NA
  • Are subtitles provided for the audio content? 
  • Is the user provided an option to stop, pause, mute, or adjust volume for audio that automatically plays on a page for more than 3 seconds.
Motor Impairments NA
  • Is the user able to complete all functions available in the website only from the keyboard without the help of mouse?
  • Is there a clear indication of keyboard navigation and focus? Does the keyboard navigation follow a proper order?
  • Is there a voice-activated software that executes the majority of the functions?
Cognitive Impairments Consistency, Multi-Mobility, Focus & structure, Transformability, Readability & Language, Orientation & Error Recovery
  • Is the navigation across the website content consistent?
  • Are all the images accessible and readable? Moreover, is there diversity in the way content is displayed on the website? Is it only based on color? 
  • Is the language used simple and easy to understand? 
  • Additionally, does the text have high readability? Sans-Sherif is the preferred font as it heightens the readability context.
  • Is the user allowed to reconfirm their responses? In case of wrong input, can he rectify that error? 

 

Wrapping Up

Admittedly, we have only scratched the surface of ADA compliance. There are many more items to check off the list when you are looking at making your business website ADA compliant. How about you seek expert guidance? Impiger Technologies can help you understand as well as implement the right ADA measures to make your business steer clear of the legal hassles.