The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was introduced in 1990 to address the desire to have equal access to business services. Not only does this mean brick and mortar storefronts, but it has morphed to include websites. As time progresses, we get better and better with technologies. Now, website building gurus have access to tools that aid businesses with the ADA and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Why is this Important Now?
A lot of everyday life revolves around the Internet. Remote work, communication with peers, social media posts, online shopping, online live education, and banking are just a couple examples of how the Internet has changed our lives. Everyone should have the ability to access the products and services on websites. That is why ADA compliance is important now.
Unfortunately, lawsuits are hitting record numbers when dealing with compliance and business owners have websites that just aren’t up to par with adequate access for everyone. Are people just being lazy or do they not know how to be compliant? What is the issue?
A positive note on ensuring ADA compliance is that it is known that ADA compliant brands have more reach online and a stronger reputation, which everyone dreams of having. When businesses make their websites ADA compliant, it helps with ease of use and in turn provides adds to optimal user experiences.
And finally, it is just the right thing to do. You just never know who will come across your website so it is best to accommodate everyone.
What Is ADA Compliance on a Website?
There are three different levels of WCAG compliance:
- Level A – most basic and minimal compliance
- Level AA – mid-level ane most acceptable parameters for compliance
- Level AAA -the highest level with fully optimal compliance
The levels can help web developers determine which accessibility tools are going to be needed for their site. Each level has certain criteria that must be met, but the WCAG does not outline specific actions the website has to take, rather it states what accessible websites should do. That can get confusing. Basically, there isn’t a right or a wrong way to make a website compliant, but there are steps along the way that have to be met.
Examples of ADA Website Compliance
Since more than 61 million Americans live with a disability, there are various parameters for compliance. Some examples are listed here, but they are not limited to just these:
- Navigable with a keyboard (Level A)
- Video captions (Level A)
- Color contrast is, in most cases, at least 4:5:1 (Level AA)
- Form fields have accurate labels (Level AA)
- Sign language interpretation for audio or video content (Level AAA)
- Timing is not an essential factor of any activity on the site (Level AAA)
It isn’t always about just the individuals with disabilities. We all know there are many times where we would love to just have a break from reading and listen to something be read to us instead. Or if we can’t specifically focus on something on a website because we keep getting distracted by something else, there are tools to help with highlighting the information to keep us engaged. So while compliance is specifically geared toward those individuals with disabilities, these tools can be used by everyone!
We Can Help with Compliance
It’s important to ensure that your website(s) are WCAG compliant. While we are not a law firm or attorney, we are an agency that knows understanding the differences between each level can be hard to comprehend. That is why we are here to help. We have ways to test and correct accessibility issues that will help to meet compliance standards. Following our advice will result in peace of mind for your business since you will be up to current ADA compliance.
The WCAG is always updating guidance so it is important to stay up-to-date with changes. We will share this information as necessary and will work with you to make sure you are meeting new guidelines.