When discussing websites, the phrase “ADA Compliant” is used as an umbrella term for determining if a website is accessible to people with disabilities. There are actually several different standards used when reviewing websites for accessibility. The two most widely used standards are ADA and WCAG. They both have the same goal – to make information technology accessible to people with disabilities. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and as a civil rights law guarantees opportunities to disabled individuals in terms of accommodations and access. ADA requires that businesses provide the same access to disabled patrons as it does for able-bodied patrons. This covers the physical location of a business, digital media and websites.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were developed by W3C (Word Wide Web Consortium) as a series of guidelines for improving web accessibility. Many organizations have agreed upon using these guidelines when developing or updating websites. WCAG is a technical standard for website developers that outlines what is needed on a website to allow the content to be more accessible for people with disabilities.
Here is an overview of what is required:
- Content must be formatted to be seen and/or heard by every user.
- Non-textual content must offer text alternatives, such as voiceovers, etc.
- Captions and/or audio alternatives must be provided for all multimedia.
- Content must be receptive to and translatable by a user’s assistive technologies without losing its meaning or intent.
Ease of Use:
- All site functionality must be available via a keyboard. (Although, it is believed that in future this directive will be expanded to include voice commands.)
- Relative to media such as audio and video, users will need sufficient time to read and respond to content.
- Facilitate users’ input by means other than via keyboard.
- Do not use content that could trigger seizures or physical reactions.
- Guide/assist site users to navigate and locate content with greater ease.
- The text must be both easy to read and to understand.
- Content must appear and operate in ways that can be anticipated and easily followed by readers.
- Assist site users via text intervention to perceive when an error is being made, and suggestions as to how to correct it. Additionally, instructions are provided whenever users are required to input information.
- Ensure evergreen compatibility through the use of the best user tools currently available. Update as needed.
Making certain that your web property offers ease of use for all web visitors is not only the right thing to do, but it can save you from legal issues. There has been a significant increase in lawsuits against companies whose websites are not considered ADA compliant.
To learn more about ADA compliance and how it can affect your business, give us a call at (800) 978-3417 today!
Note – AWG are not attorneys and this blog post should not be considered legal advice.