The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that your business website provide accessibility services not only for your place of business, but for the website as well. ADA website compliance is mandatory and is a vital component to ensure you are following the law.
Where do I start?
One of the first steps you can take to ensure your website is ADA compliant is to read the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops guidelines and resources to help website owners make their platform more accessible to those with disabilities. The WCAG guidelines cover aspects such as:
- Web design;
- Providing alternate text for images;
- Creating navigable content;
- Compatibility with assistive programs; and more.
Following guidelines set forth by the W3C is the best way to begin to ensure your website is ADA compliant.
How do I follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines?
Although each of the WCAG are important, there are a few crucial aspects that should be considered above all when beginning your journey to ADA compliance. You can start with the following:
- Conduct an audit on your website. Using Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools and software can be a viable option to get an idea of your level of compliance. However, this should be done alongside a manual check of your website—there is no substitute for your own careful review.
- Ensure keyboard accessibility. Ultimately, your website should be able to be navigated using the keyboard alone to accommodate those who are unable to use a mouse.
- Provide alternate text for images. Any non-text content like images should contain alternate text that describes content or the function of the element. This is important for any interactive elements of your website.
- Include closed captions for multimedia. All videos should contain accurate captions and all audio content should be provided with transcripts. This accommodation is crucial for hard of hearing and deaf individuals.
- Keep up to date with emerging standards. With web accessibility standards continuously evolving, it is important to stay informed on updates from the WCAG, including best practices for website accessibility. Maintaining ADA compliance is an ongoing process.
This is not a comprehensive guide for ADA compliance, but it aims to provide a good starting point. Small businesses need to spend time making their websites accessible for people with disabilities. Doing so is crucial to avoid the headache of potential ADA lawsuits that can be time-consuming and costly.
For any additional questions pertaining to ADA website compliance, you can reach out to [email protected].