June 29, 2019

Is Your Web Content Accessible To Everyone?

Tips to make sure your website is ADA Compliant

Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM)’s mission is to empower organizations to make their internet content accessible to people with disabilities.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? What is ADA Compliance? 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. It’s aim? To ensure everyone can access public spaces like restaurants, bars, schools, recreation facilities, hotels, theaters, museums, and more. Under the ADA virtually all businesses, regardless of size or services offered, must follow certain accessibility requirements to be able to accommodate people with disabilities. 

So what does this have to do with your website?

Is your website ADA Compliant? 

While physical accessibility may be the first thing you think of when it comes to accessibility, you shouldn’t exclude your company’s website. ADA compliance applies to the internet, too.

At a minimum we recommend implementing these basic features into your website to make your content accessible to everyone. Some things you’ll be able to do yourself; others will require assistance from a web developer.

  • Create alt tags – Much of the content on your site is likely text, but your site may also have images, videos and audio files. Alt tags allow you to create descriptions for this non-text content so that users with disabilities can read or hear descriptions of them.A good alt tag should describe the object and how it relates to the content around it. 
  • Text transcipts – Like alt tags, text transcripts allow hearing-impaired users to interact with content they may not normally be able to access. Think of it as closed captioning for your video content.
  • What’s your site’s language? Identify the site’s language in header code: Making it clear what language the site should be read in helps users who utilize text readers. Text readers can identify those codes and function accordingly.
  • Be sure your site’s layout is organized consistently – Image a text reader reading teh content on your site. Is the placement of your site’s menus, links or buttons placed in a way that makes sense to someone who may not be able to view them?

Utilizing the best alt tags in your images and videos for a user who can’t view them and choosing fonts and colors with their legibility in mind, are all ways to design a website with accessibility in mind. A web developer can work with you to ensure that your website’s coding and functional characteristics are navigable, consistent, and accommodating of the needs of all potential visitors to your website. 

Where does WAVE come in? 

In 2001 WebAIM launched the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, WAVE, a free community resource developed to check ADA compliance on the Internet. WAVE allows you to input any website’s URL and scan the page for accessibility information. It then compiles a list of the website’s errors in Red, features in Green, and highlights other relevant information in Yellow. Talk to your web developer to see how you can best use WAVE to make your website ADA Compliant and more inclusive of people with disabilities. 

WAVE can be accessed here.

We tried it on our website and found a number of accessibility issues that we are currently addressing and figured we’d share this helpful tool with you. Your website is one of the biggest tools in your marketing tool box. We hope this information is helpful to you.