ADA Website Compliance Checklist: Accessible Web Design

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Website Design

Website compliance checklists for accessible web design are very important. It’s all about ensuring everyone can get the information they need online, no matter who they are. Plus, there are rules called the ADA that state websites have to be accessible too. So, by making websites easy to use for everyone, we’re following the law and making the internet a fair place for all.

Understanding ADA Compliance

There’s some flexibility in how to do it, but everyone has to follow the basic ADA rules for websites. These rules treat everyone fairly and ensure information is easy to understand. We also get guidance from standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Section 508. These help us know what to do to make websites accessible for everyone.

Common Website Accessibility Barriers

Let’s dive into some common challenges that people face when using websites. These barriers can make it difficult for individuals with disabilities to access information and navigate the online world. By understanding these challenges, we can work towards creating more inclusive and accessible websites for everyone.

1. Color Contrast

When colors on a website don’t stand out enough from each other, it can make it hard for some people to read the information. This is what we mean by poor color contrast. Reading light gray text on a light background is tough! That’s why it’s important to have a big difference between the colors used. This way, everyone, including those with eye-related disabilities, can easily read the content.

2. Use of Color Alone

Some people can’t see colors the same way as others, like if they’re color-blind. So, when websites use colors alone to give important information, it can be tricky for those folks to understand. Consider if something important was only marked with red, but you couldn’t tell it was red. That’s a problem, right? 

Also, some tools like screen readers don’t recognize colors, so they can’t tell someone who can’t see the screen what the colors mean. That’s why it’s a good idea to use more than just colors to share important info on websites.

3. Text Alternatives for Images

When browsing websites, we come across images. Now, for someone who can’t see, that picture doesn’t mean much without a description. That’s where alt text comes in. Alt text is like a little description that’s hidden behind the picture. It helps blind users understand what’s in the image, like if it’s a photo of a dog or a tree. So, alt text is a necessity because it makes websites accessible to those who can’t see the images.

4. Video Captions

Imagine watching a video, but you can’t hear what’s being said. That’s the reality for some people who have trouble hearing. But here’s where captions come in—they’re like subtitles that show the words being spoken on the screen. Captions make it possible for people with hearing disabilities to understand what’s happening by reading the text. So, they’re important because they make video content accessible to everyone, not just those who can hear.

5. Inaccessible Online Forms

Ever filled out a form online and felt confused about what to do? If you couldn’t see the form or had trouble understanding it, how would you continue? This is what some people face daily. When online forms don’t have clear labels or instructions, it can be frustrating. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure forms are easy to understand for everyone. 

Plus, error indicators are like little alerts that tell you if something’s wrong with your form. They’re helpful because they let you know if you missed something or made a mistake, making the whole process smoother for everyone.

6. Mouse-Only Navigation

Ever tried to navigate a website using just a mouse and found it difficult? Not being able to use a mouse at all is a big challenge for some people. Some folks might have disabilities that make it hard to move a mouse around. That’s where keyboard navigation comes in handy. It’s like having shortcuts on your keyboard to move around a website instead of clicking with a mouse. 

Keyboard navigation is important because it helps people who can’t use a mouse still get around websites easily. It’s all about making sure everyone can access the information they need online.

Why Website Accessibility Matters

Making websites accessible is crucial for a couple of big reasons. It’s all about fairness—making sure everyone, no matter their abilities, can get the information they need online. Think of it like making buildings accessible with ramps and elevators so everyone can get in. The Department of Justice also puts a lot of focus on this because they want the web to be fair and open to everyone.

And secondly, people use the web in all sorts of ways. Some might need special tools like screen readers that read aloud what’s on the screen. Others might rely on captions for videos or even use voice recognition software to control their computers. 

By making websites accessible, we’re making sure everyone can use the web in a way that works for them. It’s all about inclusion and making sure nobody gets left out.

ADA Compliance Checklist for Websites

Fortunately for web designers and developers, ADA compliance has long been set in place. Here’s a handy checklist to make sure websites are accessible for everyone:

  1. Color Contrast: Make sure the text stands out well against the background.
  2. Legal Requirements: Stay updated with the rules and guidelines for accessibility.
  3. Accessible Buttons: Use clear names and labels for buttons so everyone can understand.
  4. Alt Text: Describe images with words for those who can’t see them.
  5. Accessible PDF Files: Make PDFs easy to use with tools for people who need them.
  6. Video Captions: Add text to videos so those who can’t hear can still follow along.
  7. Audio Captions: Include written words for audio files for better understanding.
  8. Online Form Filling: Ensure forms are easy to use with a keyboard and have clear labels.
  9. Accessible Fonts: Use fonts that are easier to read, especially for people with dyslexia.
  10. Avoid Flashing Imagery: Keep away from images that might cause problems, like seizures.
  11. Zooming Functionality: Let users zoom in on content without it getting blurry.
  12. Skip Navigation: Include shortcuts for getting to the main content quickly.
  13. Content Order of Importance: Use headings to organize information clearly.
  14. Descriptive Anchor Text: Make sure links are easy to see and understand.
  15. Keyboard Functionality: Make sure everything can be used with just a keyboard.
  16. Error Reporting: Give users a way to tell you if something isn’t working right.
  17. High Visible Contact Info: Make it easy for people to find help if they need it.

Tips to Achieve ADA Website Compliance

If you’re still unsure of what your website could be missing when it comes to accessibility, it’s best to give it another look-through. Here are some tips to make sure websites meet ADA standards:

  • Accessibility Audit: Check if the website follows WCAG rules and make a plan to fix any issues.
  • Hiring Outside Consultants: Getting experts to review the site can be helpful, but it can also take time and money.
  • Usability Testing: Letting people with disabilities try out the site can give honest feedback on how easy it is to use.
  • Accessibility Scans: Regularly checking the site for problems helps keep it up to standard.
  • Automated Audits: Using tools to spot issues quickly can be handy, but sometimes it’s best to get professional help for a thorough check.

Ensure Compliance with Expert Web Design

It’s important to keep working on making websites accessible for everyone. By doing this, we’re making sure everyone has a fair chance to use the web. If you need help with making your website accessible, feel free to reach out to Adnorml. We’re here to help you provide an equal and inclusive online experience for all users!

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