In the current era, most businesses thrive thanks to online visibility. Through websites, many potential customers and clients can access the products & services you are offering from anywhere across the globe.
Building an interactive and engaging website isn’t a big deal. After all, you can access expert services from tech giant companies such as Aalpha Information Systems India. However, there are rules and regulations that your website must follow. That is why, in this guide, we explore all the insights you need to know about ADA/WCAG rules and how you can tailor your website to meet the ADA guidelines.
Understanding ADA Compliance
ADA means the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is an act that was passed in 1990, prompting businesses to ensure all people with disabilities can access products and services, just like any other person, without any discrimination.
For instance, people who are mentally impaired and have difficulty moving around, speaking, or talking should have equal rights to businesses and services just like other people. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to accommodate people with difficulty in movement through the use of wheelchairs the use of braille for those who are visually impaired, among many other options, depending on the disability of a person.
The ADA Act also advocates for making ADA-compliant websites to meet the needs of people with disability. Let’s find out in the next sections what is an ADA-compliant website and how you can make one.
Why your website should be WCAG compliance: top reasons
WCAG means web content accessibility guidelines. It is an act that defines the elements you should follow to ensure your website is accessible to people with disabilities. Among the top reasons why you need a WCAG-compliant website include the following:
There are a set of lawsuits in relation to website accessibility, and as the digital space keeps transforming for the better, the same lawsuits keep increasing at a rapid rate. Of course, failure to oblige to such set guidelines and rules has serious consequences. In fact, you could lose your brand identity or face some serious penalty charges.
Therefore, one of the top reasons why you need to ensure you create and manage an ADA-compliant website is to avoid getting in the wrong hands with the law. Therefore, don’t focus on the costs you will incur creating an ADA-compliant website. Instead, think of the damages and expenses you will have to incur as a result of creating a non-compliant website in relation to ADA guidelines!
Encourage an Inclusive Work Environment
In the present day, many businesses are relying heavily on digital platforms and channels to enhance their operations. Both business owners and potential clients have a solid online presence. Therefore, a website is a perfect channel to connect both business owners and potential clients.
Creating an ADA-compliant website, therefore, means many people will access your website. People with disabilities, employees, and customers are among the group of people who will enrich your website presence when they visit.
Therefore, as a business entity, creating a wheelchair isn’t the ultimate solution to ensuring every person has equal chances in a work or business environment! It goes a long way to ensuring the digital space also covers all people, including those with varied disabilities.
SEO is effective for any website that wants to rank at the top. Therefore, creating an ADA-compliant website means creating a highly accessible website. One way of enhancing SEO on a website is well-structured content.
A well-structured content includes the use of descriptive link text, excluding empty headers, including alt text tags for images, among many other elements.
Of course, when you structure your content following these measures, all users will feel engaged, and they will interact with your website as many times as they want without searching for other similar websites (user retention).
Therefore, creating an ADA-compliant website will accommodate users with different capabilities, hence more user engagement, which translates to higher ranking.
Have a User-Friendly Web Presence
Apparently, user-friendliness is the number one element that makes a website stand out. With some people living with disabilities across the globe, it is essential to create a website with engaging and user-friendly content. This includes adding proper image tags and the use of proper fonts and sizes to ensure all people can navigate through the website with ease.
The UX of the website is also key to ensuring user retention. After all, there are many similar websites, and if, by any chance, users will feel unsatisfied with your website, they will move to the next website. With time, you will notice poor traffic to your website, which means low returns.
Therefore, an ADA-compliant website does not only help you evade lawsuits, but it helps generate revenue to some extent.
Reach Out to New Demographics
A larger percentage of people living with varied disabilities will likely leave a website that seems hard to navigate through. Therefore, creating a WCAG-compliant website will attract and retain new users since the website is easily accessible and easy to navigate through.
What’s more, an ADA-compliant website will help you build your brand, thus enhancing brand loyalty among new users. For instance, a new user who, for the first time, had a hard time navigating through a website that isn’t ADA-compliant will not come back. However, if the same users had an easy time navigating through the website, they would definitely come back, thus enhancing brand loyalty.
For the above reasons, it is evident that creating an ADA-compliant website is the way to go. It not only helps the users engage and enjoy navigating through the website but also helps the website owner reach out to more audiences, stay on the right side of the law, and generate even more revenue.
How to create an ADA-compliant website: steps to follow
Having discussed how significant an ADA-compliant website is, let’s take you through the steps of creating an ADA-compliant website. The steps include the following:
Do an analysis of an existing website
Already have an existing website? Then, start by evaluating all the content, design, and layout to ensure all these elements are ADA-compliant. Here, you can use powerful programs such as WAVE or Lighthouse. Still, you can carry out the processes manually using screen reader software.
An ADA-compliant website should be solid, easy to use, easy to comprehend, & easy to navigate through. As you evaluate your website, note the areas that need your attention and work on them as required.
Include ADA-compliant Graphics
Graphics has a significant impact in ensuring a website is ADA-compliant. It is crucial to include audio and text descriptions in the graphics you use. However, you should ensure that you don’t use graphics that flash for more than three seconds. Captions are effective in helping people with hearing disabilities and those who are visually impaired users.
Alt Text is key!
Alt text enhances the audible descriptions of all the images on the website. Therefore, adding them to the website improves the overall overview of the website, making it understandable.
Take note of the fonts
Fonts are among the significant elements that define an ADA-compliant website. Try to use fonts that are easy to read and comprehend, such as Quicksand, Geogia, and Open Sans, among many others. What’s more, you should balance the font colors and the background of the website. For instance, if the background is light, a light font won’t be relevant in such a case because users will strain their eyes when reading the content.
What’s more, a flashy background will overpower the text, hence making the content irrelevant to the readers. Therefore, a dark font integrated with a light background will be ideal in this case.
Don’t forget Logical Features
When designing an ADA-compliant website, it should meet specific features and elements. This implies that the web pages should follow a predefined pattern. For instance, if the images are centered on the home page, all other pages should follow the same style. Again, all the navigation buttons should follow suit to give users an easy time when navigating through different pages of the website.
Another useful feature to remember is the pop-up window, prompting the user to perform an action. If the user isn’t interested in the action from the pop-up window, they should be able to see the X-sign for easy exit and continue navigating through the website.
You can set the X sign in a visible color and size in the upper corner on the right side of the website. Don’t forget to include both audible and readable instructions that direct the users to perform a given activity, such as filling out a form. These are among the top features that make a website ADA-compliant.
Add Standard HTML Tags
Standard HTML tags enhance the strength of the website, ensuring disabled users can easily read the code. The documents, including PDF files, should appear in text format to help visually impaired users read with ease, especially when the website has complex images.
A bigger percentage of website design platforms like WordPress are for HTML. Therefore, adjusting your website to be ADA-compliant with HTML tags shouldn’t be a hard task.
Not all of your website users can interact with your website using a grip mouse or a touchscreen. That is why it is essential to have a keyboard-friendly website to enable all users to navigate through the website easily.
Besides, when scrolling through the website, users will, at some point, want to pause, speed up or slow down the scrolling process. A keyboard-friendly will come in handy under such scenarios.
Update Your Website with the changing ADA Compliance Regulations more often
Lastly, the ADA-compliant guidelines keep on changing with the advancing technology. As a result, it is essential to take into consideration the changes that are happening and integrate these changes into your website to meet the ADA-compliant guidelines.
So, as a website owner, you must stay ahead of the trends and happenings to ensure your website is ADA-compliant at all times.
ADA/WCAG-compliant website FAQs
The following are some of the common questions with answers in relation to creating and maintaining ADA-compliant websites:
What if my website is not ADA-compliant? Should I worry?
Yes, you have a lot to worry about if your website isn’t ADA-compliant. Your website and business at large will definitely face lawsuits as a result of overlooking ADA guidelines.
In fact, small businesses are at a greater risk because most of them often overlook the need to comply with the set accessibility standards.
How can I make my website ADA-compliant?
You need to understand the ADA guidelines first, and then you will understand how significant they are to your website. Once you make up your mind, the following are some of the key elements that make your website ADA-compliant:
- Adding ALT texts to images
- Including subtitles to all the videos
- Transcribing audio content
- Blending colors perfectly (the fonts and background colors)
- Using simple and short sentences
- Including visible controls on the website
- A simple and easy-to-follow website design pattern
- Adding visible call-to-action buttons
How can I benefit from ADA guidelines as a website owner?
Apparently, ADA guidelines aren’t meant for people with disabilities only. In fact, many other people can access your website with ease and interact as they navigate through seamlessly. ADA guidelines, therefore, expose your website and business at large to a bigger audience. This will help grow your brand identity, which in turn will help generate more revenue.
Are there businesses that are exempted from ADA guidelines?
While most businesses and places should meet ADA guidelines, there are a few exemptions. Examples of businesses that are exempted from ADA guidelines include the following:
- Religious setups
- Private clubs
- Business setups with less than 14 workers
What businesses should follow ADA guidelines?
Even though many think that ADA guidelines only apply to large business and website setups, that is not the reality. The following businesses must follow ADA rules and regulations:
- Small and medium businesses of all kinds
- Labor unions
- Retail stores
- Government offices
- Schools and other learning institutions
- Retail stores
A website is a platform that connects you with your users across the globe. Therefore, as part of reaching out to every potential user, it is significant to take into consideration ADA/WCAG guidelines. These guidelines ensure to reach a wider audience, including people with disabilities.
When your website is ADA-compliant, it means people living with disabilities can access it easily. Even though there are no clear strategies to follow when making an ADA-compliant website, the goal is to understand the whole concept of these guidelines and the features that make a website ADA-compliant, from texts, fonts, and design, among many others.
An ADA-compliant website has lots of benefits. It is not only meant for people with disabilities. Even other users enjoy an easy-to-access and easy-to-navigate website. The website owner, too, enjoys a wide range of benefits with an ADA-compliant website. For instance, wide coverage attracts more users, which increases website traffic, which in turn increases website clicks, and this means business growth.
So, why wait? Check and update your website to meet the ADA/WCAG guidelines with the help of expert web development company – Aalpha information systems!