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ADA and Section 508 Compliance: Is your website compliant with the ADA?

Authored by by Abishek Balakumar, Sr Content Writer and Partner Marketer; Senthilnathan Rajasekaran, Sr Project Manager. on 06 Sep 2022

Section 508 Accessibility and ADA compliance are not new buzzwords in the industry, implying that any customer with a disability should be able to access your website without difficulty. The businesses that do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act have faced more lawsuits in the past year, resulting in a poor reputation. According to data from the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, 11,400 people filed an ADA Title III lawsuit in 2021, a 4% increase from 2020. Due to the growing importance of ADA compliance, understanding what ADA compliance mean, why it matters, and which best practices enable an organisation to be compliant prevent future lawsuits.

What is ADA?

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became civil rights legislation. The ADA’s Title III mandates that public accommodations should provide full access to individuals with disabilities; that is why there are wheelchair ramps in movie theatres and little dot projections on elevator buttons - elevator braille buttons. This Act is mandating all electronic and information technology, like websites, be accessible to those with disabilities.

What is ADA compliance, and how can I achieve ADA compliance for my website?

ADA compliance refers to meeting the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.

Picture this:People with vision impairments can’t be able to read text, images, or videos if your website or app is not accessible and ADA compliant, and people with hearing impairments can’t be able to get the information they require due to a lack of video subtitles. A screen reader can turn information into a voice for the visually impaired. However, if your website is incompatible with assistive technology, it is neither accessible to people with disabilities nor compliant with the ADA.

The WCAG 2.1 guidelines are the go-to recommendation for making your website ADA compliant. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were created in 1999 by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (WCAG). This resource includes various recommendations or objectives for making your website ADA accessible to users across the United States.

The core principles that guide WCAG 2.1 include:

Perceivable: The content should be easy to understand. Offering alternatives to text, such as audio alternatives or assistive technology, allows visually impaired persons to perceive the content of your website.

Operable: The website should be simple to use. Offering keyboard accessibility, for example, allows users with disabilities to browse your website and access content effortlessly.

Understandable: Making text legible and, if needed, providing input help.

Robust: Your website’s content can be interpreted by various devices and platforms. For example, you want to ensure content is compatible with user agents like assistive technologies.

Your website can be more accessible to people with disabilities if it complies with these guidelines. There are three ADA compliance levels for websites that indicate how accessible they are:

  1. Level A – Basic sites that are only accessible to some visitors
  2. Level AA - Federal standard based on AA (the minimum requirement for a site)
  3. Level AAA - Most intense sites are fully accessible to all

ADA compliance shouldn’t be a problem for your business if you adhere to these standards to at least level AA. Here are a few typical methods businesses might use to solve accessibility problems with their web content:

Create alt tags for all images, videos and audio files. Alt tags allow people with disabilities to read or hear alternate descriptions of content that they might not be able to see otherwise. Alt tags describe the object and, more broadly, the purpose it serves on the site.

Create text transcripts for video and audio content. Text transcripts assist hearing-impaired individuals in comprehending information that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Identify the site’s language in the header code. Text readers can identify those codes and function accordingly.

Offer alternatives and suggestions when users encounter input errors. Suppose a user with a disability is encountering input errors. In that case, your website needs to automatically offer suggestions for how users can more successfully navigate the content they need (different website navigation methods).

Create a consistent, organised layout. Organising menus, links, and buttons are essential for users to move between them across the entire website.

Let’s See Some of the Accessibility Testing Tools for Websites

Some dedicated software tools are in the market to test the software system’s accessibility. Web accessibility can also assist persons who are not disabled, particularly those who have a temporary disability such as a broken arm, age, or slow Internet connections. Here are some accessibility testing tools for websites:

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Today, many physically impaired people use software products daily, and Accessibility Testing Tools are making websites more accessible to them. The accessibility testing tool should be chosen based on your site’s needs and budget.

Customer Success: Our client is the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company headquartered in Slough, UK with products sold in over 200 countries and employing around 40,000 people globally. Our client’s entire product collection is aimed to provide optimal nutrition for infants and children at every stage of development.

They wanted their website to go live quickly, with all checks, and ensure that it was fully ADA-compliant. To ensure that the website of the global nutrition brand complied with ADA, we took a customised approach.

Ameex made our client’s website 100% ADA compliant.

Our team strives to ensure that our customers and website visitors are delighted with the new site. Before we move on with our objective of developing the ultimate ADA-compliant website, we’ll discuss your ideal website style, content preferences, and specific demands to create a website that genuinely expresses your business values while also being ADA-compliant.

Contact us if you are looking for ADA-compliant ecommerce development which enhances user interaction and provides a great customer experience to ALL users!

Reference:

  1. https://www.adatitleiii.com/2022/02/ada-title-iii-federal-lawsuit-filings-hit-an-all-time-high/
  2. https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/
  3. https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/accessibility-testing-tools/

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