ADA Compliance in 2020

ADA Compliance has quickly become a must for any website that interacts with the general public. Recent legislative rulings have made it so everyone needs to be working towards higher levels of ADA compliance. We often get asked: “What can we do to be more ADA Compliant?”

While the answer to that question can be complicated, the result of all that effort is offering a more inclusive and accessible website for the world to enjoy. We’ll answer the question, what has changed with ADA Compliance recently?

What Has Changed With ADA Compliance?

While there haven’t been many changes to the principles of ADA compliance since WCAG 2.1, though there have been some legal advances in the last few months. Most notably, Domino’s Pizza was found guilty of failure to comply with the principles of ADA for their consumer website.

Sued in Early 2019, the official ruling came down from the Supreme Court that Dominos.com was not compliant in its accessibility for use by those with disabilities. This ruling was one of the first of its kind where a public-facing, consumer-driven website was found guilty of non-compliance.

Read on for an overview of what ADA Compliance is and some tips for making your website compliant.

What is ADA Compliance?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was comprehensive legislation that changed the way our public and commercial spaces needed to be built in order to account for those who had disability or accessibility issues. Wheelchair ramps, handicapped parking and braille signs throughout public spaces were some of the most wide reaching and impactful changes that were ever made to public health and safety.

Since then the ADA has been expanded to include the world wide web and the type of accessibility is largely the same as we need to offer in the real world. But how do we know what we need to account for? Luckily, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to standardize how we built our websites to account for all the possible disabilities and accessibility requirements of today’s web.

WCAG 2.1 Website Guidelines for ADA Compliance

The WCAG was developed through an international partnership between the W3C that seeks to offer an inclusive and accessible internet for all to join. While the majority of their principles extend beyond accessibility, their principles for ADA Compliance have been used as the standard to measure compliance since the early 2010s.

These guidelines fall into four major categories:

Perceivable

Perceivability refers to the ways our users interact with the media on our website. With content such as text, images, or videos, we need to ensure we are providing the most optimal and accessible ways to interact with that content.

The major areas of improvement for making your website more perceivable is by providing alternative ways to ingest media throughout your website. This often means providing text alternatives for the content on our website, but can also extend to overall accessibility and use.

Operable

The Operable guideline refers to the ability to physically use the website in a variety of ways. The traditional way users utilize the majority of websites is through a mouse, but some users are limited and for any number of reasons may not be able to utilize a mouse. These users need a different way to navigate the entirety of your website.

Enabling keyboard, voice or touch-screen navigation on your website is necessary so that a user can click through on a keyboard or scroll without utilizing a mouse.

Understandable

The Understandable category refers to the consistency to which your domain behaves no matter what page the user is on. This principle refers to the logical operation of your website. For example, if you click the logo on the website, you should be sent to the home page on every page of your website.

The principles in this section are some of the hardest to nail down as they fall under common practice. Often this refers to the consistency of which you refer to specific pages or maintaining the same navigation no matter on which section of the website you are.

Robust

The Robust category is by far the smallest category but can be the most difficult to overcome because of the incredible technical requirements it proposes. This section mostly refers to the HTML health of your domain and providing a robust enough codebase for eReaders and assistive technology to understand the layout of your website.

This section is most commonly referenced as the basis for mobile and responsive technology and ensuring your website is consistent and representative across every platform or device.

ADA Compliance Tips for 2020

We want to be clear: there is no magic wand you can wave and become ADA compliant tomorrow. ADA Compliance is one of the most demanding, yet rewarding tasks you can set out to accomplish for your website. If you’re looking for a place to start, we’ve got you covered!

1. Always Work Towards Accessibility and Compliance

ADA Compliance is an ever evolving goal, because as soon as another user or owner of your website uploads a picture that is missing alt text, your website is no longer compliant. This is why we always recommend that your goal should always be working towards compliance. Taking time to correct errors and make small adjustments will pay the most dividends.

2. Provide Text Alternatives on Each Blog Article

While this can be a large ask, text alternatives can be some of the most rewarding efforts you have. Whether it’s an audio format of someone reading your blog article or a video with the author reading it, these alternatives can open up your content to whole new audiences across the globe.

3. Leverage Tools to Check Current Accessibility

Our number one recommendation for a free ADA testing tool is WAVE. Wave allows you to instantly test your website for usability and accessibility issues. WAVE is free, but some of the features can be limiting. If you wish to take a more active role or your industry requires a more active role, other tools are widely available. Contact us for our favorites!

SEO Benefits for ADA Compliance

While ADA Compliance doesn’t outright offer SEO benefits from Google, adhering to the principles more often than not return good SEO returns. This is primarily because making changes like adding clear heading and sub headings on each page, ensuring anchor text is descriptive, or adding image alt and title tags is just good SEO health.

We rarely ever promise SEO returns for the ADA work we do, but it is always nice to see a little bump after making changes, especially after building a more inclusive web experience.

Ready to Get Your Website Updated for ADA Compliance in 2020?

ADA Compliance can be a difficult task, but if your company routinely deals with customers with disabilities or government agencies, you may be at risk of non-compliance. If you’d like to get an audit of your existing website, get in touch with us today to talk about ADA Compliance!

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info@dwebware.com
515-270-1701
8961 Thomas Ave, Johnston, IA 50131
Privacy Policy
©2017 DWebware