Most individuals are at least somewhat familiar with the Americans With Disabilities Act (or ADA). It’s the legislation that requires companies that interact with the public to have specially designated handicap parking spots, wheelchair ramps, and other amenities for those who need them.
What a lot of the same individuals might not realize, however, is that courts have also interpreted ADA guidelines as applying to websites. So, if your content and features aren’t available to website visitors with hearing or visual impairments than you could actually be on the wrong side of the law. For government and municipal websites we refer to this as Section 508 compliance as part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For more information on Section 508, you can visit: www.section508.gov.
Maintaining ADA compliance has been a cornerstone of our approached web design for years, but not just because we want the organizations we work with to avoid fines or complaints. Instead, we recognize that making a website more accessible is just good business. Not only does it make it easier for those who need different types of content to do business with you, but many of the steps you take to bring your website in line with ADA guidelines are industry best practices.
The Basics of Website ADA Compliance
In a broad sense, the best practices for web design around ADA compliance all come down to accessibility. You’ll want to be sure the content and formatting of your pages make it easy for someone with a disability to find what they’re looking for.
There are dozens of things we do to make a website friendlier to those with impairments, including:
- Maintaining certain levels of contrast on webpages so those with visual disabilities can read them
- Adding captions to images and video so they can be read by text-to-speech software
- Including written transcripts and descriptions for all audio and video clips
- Removing repeated flashing images from webpages and online content
- Clearly noting any special instructions that come with online fields or forms
- Optimizing navigation so persons who have to use speech commands or keyboards can find what they need
These are simple examples, but they can probably help you to understand why certain web design elements are so important to some website visitors, and how they can help those individuals to have a much better experience with your organization. Making these kinds of improvements doesn’t have to be expensive, but you can’t afford to overlook them.
How to Make Sure Your Website is Up to Code
Admittedly, there are a lot of small (easy and sometimes technical) details associated with ADA compliance in web design, but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should stress about.
We have ther knowledge to integrate the industries best practices into our approach to web development. Even better, we have a set of tools we can use to check your website for ADA compliance, so you’ll know whether your pages are accessible to all types of users.
Because technologies and guidelines are always changing, our team of web designers and developers can even review pages and content frequently to ensure you are staying up with the latest trends, if this is critical to your business or government entity. So, if you want to maximize your visibility while minimizing the potential for lawsuits and other problems, we encourage you to talk with our team about a complimentary checkup.