ADA basically stands for Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that all the business and information websites must be accessible for the people with disabilities. It is a civil law that instructs the inclusion of everyone with special focus on the inclusion of disabled people in all areas of life.
Most people think that ADA Compliance is 508 Compliance but in real both compliances are different but both have the same goals. Moreover, web content accessibility is an integral part of both regulations. ADA applies to all the websites, business companies and government offices. This means that all websites must be ADA compliant.
What is the importance of ADA Compliant?
The ADA Act was introduced almost 30 years ago in order to control discrimination in all fields of life such as in public sector, transportation, and telecommunication and on the internet to ensure the rights of the people with disabilities. If we look around at our physical surroundings, we will see special car parking areas, designated sitting area in buses and trains, elevator control buttons and wheel chair access points for people with disabilities. These designated accessibility guidelines were not enforced on the internet till now. But now it is important to make a website ADA compliant and here are few steps to follow to make sure your website is accessible for the people with disabilities.
How to make a website ADA Compliant?
- Go through the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG2.0). These guidelines will help you to understand how to make your website accessible for all.
- Perform a thorough audit of your website with the help of different tools such as WAVE tool. The audit will help you check different accessibility issues in your website. Furthermore the website audit will help you to improve the overall performance of your website.
- A complete review of design and styles of your website can also improve the accessibility issues in your website. Review buttons, links, headings and color scheme of your website. While reviewing your website keep in mind that your website will be visited by everyone including the visitors with disabilities. If website uses small font with lighter color, or if you have images on your website with no description or videos without subtitles then it will be inaccessible for some users with disabilities.
- Make the content of your website simple and easy to read. By the use of proper headings and sub-headings can also make your content understandable. Thus using good web writing practices can help you to generate better content.
- Make sure your website is accessible through the keyboard. Some people cannot use mouse or touch pads to navigate through a website. Ensure that the content of your website can be navigated via keyboard and user can go through long content by using arrow and tab buttons on the keyboard.
- In case of slideshow on your website then proper use of alt text is needed in every image of the slideshow. Ensure that the slideshow can be accessed and controlled via keyboard to help the keyboard only visitors of your website.
Although it seems difficult and confusing to make your website ADA compliant but it can offer a lot of benefits to your website as well. By following these simple steps you can make your website accessible for all but these steps will make your website easy to navigate. An ADA compliant website is prone to attracting new visitors towards a website and which can generate more revenue for you as the website owner. Always remember that making your website ADA compliant is a part of website maintenance and it is not just a one time fix.