It is legally required that all websites created are in compliance with ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. Failing to do so can lead to numerous issues, including legal liability as well as losing the business of potential customers who have disabilities. Besides this, being in compliance can boost your SEO efforts since search bots will have an easier time crawling your site, which means that you are likely to achieve a higher ranking.
If you are having a difficult time trying to determine what to do in order to avoid any issues with compliance, here is some help. These are the top 5 ways to make sure your website does not violate any laws.
1. Choose Readable Font
Someone with perfect vision may assume that all fonts are perfectly suitable for website creation, but this is not the case at all. When you are selecting a font to use for your content, it is imperative that you choose those that are easy for everyone to read, including those who may have less-than-perfect vision. Arial, Georgia and Quicksand are examples of those that would be easy to comprehend, despite any visual disabilities. Those that are more complicated, like Lucida Calligraphy and Brush Script should be left on the cutting room floor.
In addition to choosing the correct font, you need to focus on the color that will be used in addition to that which will be used for the background. When certain hues are used together, it can make things rather difficult to consume. For instance, light yellow words against a white background would not provide enough contrast for everyone to read with ease.
2. Use Standard HTML Tags When Coding
One of the main ways to ensure your site is compliant with WCAG 2.1, ADA, Section 508, AODA, EN 301 549 and IS 5568 is to use HTML when you are in the process of coding the site. This is the only code that is able to be read by an assistive reader. Basically, choosing something else means that those who need tools to make your site accessible will not be able to use it at all.
Keep in mind that this includes any documents that are available on the site. While it has become quite common to use PDF documents to offer information to consumers, these cannot be understood by software programs that were created to assist those who are visually impaired. To stay within the law, it is crucial that you provide text documents to those who need it.
3. Make A Keyboard-Friendly Site
As you probably already know, there are some users who are unable to use a touchscreen device or mouse when they are consuming web content. They have to use a keyboard for this and it is your responsibility to ensure this is possible. Not only should they be able to scroll around the site by using the arrow keys, but they should be able to stop anywhere they like by hitting a few keys.
This is particularly important when you are adding video content to your website. Since the average consumer stays on websites longer when there is video, many people are scrambling to add this to the mix. The problem is that some of it is difficult for those who are disabled to interact with. Make sure that you can pause and otherwise interact with video content with keyboard functions. You should also avoid adding any videos that start playing automatically.
4. Be Careful With Graphics
When you are adding graphics to your website, make sure that you avoid those that have too many flashing elements. In addition, they should not flash any more than three times per second. If someone who has a seizure disorder uses your site and there is too much flashing, it can trigger an episode. While flashy graphics may seem more fun, you want things to be fun and useful for everyone, not just those who do not have disabilities.
In addition to limiting flashing elements, you should also focus on having descriptions or captions added to each picture. This will give someone who is visually impaired the opportunity to enjoy the content and know what is shown, even if they cannot see it themselves. It does not matter how small and insignificant a photo seems, adding information will make a world of difference.
5. Stay Up To Date With Changes In The Regulations
Just as it is with all things in the legal system, there is always a chance that the regulations will change, and it is your responsibility to stay abreast of everything. Ignorance of the law will not be a defense in the event that you do something that is no longer deemed acceptable. As new technologies are introduced, you will have to make changes to your site’s code to accommodate them.
The best way to make sure that you remain compliant would be to find an ADA checklist and ensure that you meet all of the qualifications that are listed. Another useful way to determine whether your site is acceptable would be to use online tools that were developed to check website compliance. Most of these are free, so you should have no problem accessing them and determining whether your site is acceptable or not.
With stringent ADA regulations in place, it should not surprise you to find out that there are countless lawsuits filed every day. While some of them may be legitimate, there are many more that are simply attempts to get attention and/or money. If you have been served paperwork and/or you have questions and you need experienced legal help, it would be a good idea for you to reach out to us and we will put you in touch with our attorney. They are based in Minneapolis and they have specialists on their team that are well-versed in ADA litigation. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you reach out to people that can help you with your case.