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The Importance of ADA Compliance for Websites

Understanding what ADA compliance means for your website is crucial in today's digital age. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was introduced in 1990 to eliminate discrimination based on different abilities. While it primarily focused on physical accommodations, such as wheelchair ramps and accessible restrooms, the rise of the Internet has brought new challenges.

The ADA does not explicitly address website accessibility, leaving it up to the courts to determine if ADA standards apply. Some courts have ruled that commercial websites are subject to ADA rules, while others have found no protections for online users. This lack of clear regulations has led to confusion and an increase in accessibility-related lawsuits.


Although ADA compliance is not mandatory for websites due to the ambiguity surrounding it, it is advisable to err on the side of caution. Many states have implemented their own accessibility laws, and lawsuits against non-compliant websites have seen success. Fines established by the Department of Justice (DOJ) start at $25,000 per incident. To assess your website's compliance, following the WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines is recommended. While these guidelines are not enforceable legislation, they serve as a reliable model for providing equal access to all users.



ADA compliance checklist for websites

Step 1: Read the law documentation

Step 2: All media files and maps should have an “alt” tag

Step 3: All your online forms should have descriptive HTML tags

Step 4: All hyperlinks should have a descriptive anchor text

Step 5: All pages on your website have “skip navigation” links

Step 6: All the text content should be structured using proper heading tags

Step 7: All PDF files should be accessible

Step 8: All videos should have subtitles, transcripts, and audio description

Step 9: The color contrast of your web pages should be sufficient according to WCAG

Step 10: All fonts should be accessible

Step 11: All HTML tables should be populated with column headers, row identifiers, and cell information

Step 12: All audio files on your website should have a written caption

Step 13: All call-to-action buttons on your website should have an accessible name and an ARIA label

Step 14: All your website should be accessible with keyboard navigation

Step 15: Have a website accessibility policy page

Step 16: Have easily locatable contact information to allow users to request accessibility information

Step 17: Test your website accessibility according to the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines

Step 18: Automate your website accessibility check to prevent missing critical accessibility issue


Achieve ADA compliance with these clear and concise guidelines for making your website accessible to all users. Ensure your entire team understands the importance of accessible marketing materials and follow these key points to quickly and effectively meet accessibility standards.



Content

Create content that is accessible to individuals with visual, hearing, motor, and cognitive disabilities. Consider these users when writing content for the web, social media, emails, and other platforms.


Structure:

Improve the readability of your content by using proper heading tags and structuring your headings in a logical hierarchy. This benefits users with screen readers or visual impairments, making it easier for them to navigate your content.


Readability:

Make your content easy to read and understand for users with cognitive disabilities, as well as for others. Keep sentences short and concise, use bulleted lists, summaries, and bolded keywords for easier scanning. Avoid jargon and complicated language, and left-align all text.


Link Text:

When linking to other web pages, use descriptive link text instead of generic phrases like "click here." This helps users with screen readers or visual impairments understand the purpose and destination of each link.


Accessible Files:

Ensure that any linked files, such as PDFs, PowerPoints, or Word documents, are accessible to all users.


Design

Create an accessible design that benefits all users, not just those with disabilities. Consider the following elements when designing for accessibility.


Videos:

Make videos more accessible by including subtitles, transcripts, and audio descriptions. These features assist users with hearing disabilities or visual impairments in consuming video content.


Images:

Provide alt text for all images to assist visually impaired users. Use clear and neutral descriptions of the image to ensure accessibility.


Color:

Avoid relying solely on color to convey information, as some users may have color blindness. Use additional visual elements like patterns, fill, sizing, borders, icons, or whitespace to supplement color.


Fonts:

Opt for sans serif fonts for better readability. Limit the number of fonts used and ensure that the font size is at least 12. Use bold for emphasis instead of italics.


Website

Consider all four types of disabilities when making your website accessible. Focus on three main areas for marketers:


Keyboard Navigation:

Enable keyboard navigation so that users with visual or motor disabilities can navigate your website without a mouse. Ensure all elements can be accessed and highlighted using the keyboard.


Indicator or Focus:

Provide a clear indication or focus to show users their current location on the page when navigating through elements.

Improving Form Accessibility: Ensuring Clear and Effective Labels


The key to enhancing form accessibility lies in the use of labels. It is vital to include a label for each form field by utilizing the <label> element in the code. This ensures that screen readers correctly identify the name of each field. When conveying important information about a field (e.g., password requirements), it is better to provide it as text below the field label rather than using placeholder text within the field.


Enhancing Usability: Creating Intuitive and Keyboard-Friendly Forms


To optimize user experience, it is imperative to make forms user-friendly and logically organized. Keyboard accessibility is crucial, allowing users to navigate through fields using the tab key. Including instructions at the beginning of the form helps users understand how to complete it successfully.


Maximizing Marketing Impact: Achieving Accessibility for CTAs


Calls to Action (CTAs) play a significant role in marketing success. Ensuring accessibility for all CTAs is essential. Buttons should always have an accessible name, typically reflecting the text displayed on the button itself. Incorporating an aria-label for the button provides the necessary information to screen readers. Collaborating with your website development team to implement button accessibility best practices will guarantee fully accessible CTAs.


By following these guidelines, you can create an accessible website that increases conversions and provides equal access to all users.

For more information, contact Spin Markket at digitalagent@spinmarkket.com.

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