Your website is your digital storefront. It’s the first place many of your potential customers will visit to learn more about what you do and how they can work with you. So it’s important that your website be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
But how can you tell if your website is ADA compliant? One way is to use the accessiBe WordPress plugin, but there are other ways. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of ADA compliance and provide a few tips on how you can make your website more accessible for everyone.
What is ADA Compliance?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 to protect disabled people from discrimination. Under the ADA, all private and government organizations that offer goods and services to the public must make “reasonable accommodations” for disabled customers. Reasonable accommodations can include things like wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, braille signage, or assistive technologies.
Your website qualifies as a service to the public. So it must be ADA compliant if you want to avoid stiff penalties. But what does it mean for your website to be ADA compliant?
ADA Compliance and Website Content
The most common way that websites violate ADA compliance is by not providing content in an accessible format. This can include things like having text-only pages, using excessively long URLs, stacking images on top of each other, or making full-width popups. This last item is especially common on landing pages––you’ve probably seen some yourself.
But how do disabled customers know they won’t encounter any problems with your site? The answer is simple: provide enough information about your business so that customers with disabilities can decide whether or not you’re a fit for them.
ADA Compliance and Disabled Customers
The ADA has special guidelines for organizations that want to attract disabled customers. These include having staff trained in working with people with disabilities, providing objective information about products/services, and making sure your website is accessible even if the person browsing it is using an assistive device like a screenreader. If any of these things are true of your business, then congratulations: you’re already doing more than most companies when it comes to ADA compliance.
So how can you make your website more accessible for everyone? Here are a few tips:
Use accessible fonts and colors.
Using readable fonts and contrasting colors makes your website more accessible for people with common visual impairments.
Avoid using images without alt-text
If you use an image on your webpage but don’t include alt-text––descriptive text that describes what the image is––then some people won’t see it. If your page looks fine with the images turned off, it’s a good indication that there aren’t any problems. But if something important looks broken too, you should provide additional information about what the image contains so everyone can easily access it.
Make sure all links have titles.
Some websites link to each other without including descriptive text about where those links lead. Unfortunately, this means that people using screen readers or other assistive technologies won’t know where they are. To fix this, you should give all of your links descriptive titles so that everyone can understand what information they lead to.