There’s no doubt that a majority of people are aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA came into existence in 1990. It was sponsored and passed by the federal government with the intention to protect people who need physical accommodations like ramps for wheelchairs and elevators.
Nonetheless, many people still don’t understand the ADA section that extends to the use of websites. You may be wondering how your website is discriminating against the disabled yet it doesn’t have a ramp or elevator. But that’s not the case.
What is ADA compliance?
Although the ADA doesn’t directly mention websites, the department of justice often quotes recommendations like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that were created by the World Wide Web Consortium.
The US government expects all federal and state agencies to adhere to the WCAG guidelines as far as website accessibility is concerned.
What is website accessibility?
Website accessibility simply means designing your website or app in a manner that allows everyone to access it easily. There are many benefits of being ADA compliant as a business.
What if the website is not ADA compliant?
Failing to comply with the WCAG directives is putting your business at risk. If relevant authorities conduct an accessibility audit and realize you are non-compliant, you risk paying hefty fines or even being imprisoned.
Here is how to check if your website is ADA compliant:
- Use free tools
There are many tools for anyone who wants to conduct an ADA compliant website test. These tools help to determine if your website is adhering to the WCAG recommendations or not. For example, tools such as Lighthouse and Wave are designed to check the size of text, image alt text, color contrast, and many other aspects.
- Carry out a manual audit
It is also possible to determine if your website is ADA compliant through a manual audit. This involves checking a sample of the URLs on your website.
- Request for a professional assessment
This is another option you can use to know if your website is ADA compliant or not. There are many accredited professionals and agencies who can conduct a thorough review of your website or websites and make recommendations accordingly. Depending on your terms, the agency can also implement the recommendations on your behalf.
- Ask your friends and family to test
This is a less popular but effective way to test whether a website is ADA compliant or not. Try to choose different types of people, both able and disabled, and see if they can comfortably navigate through your website or app.
- Test your website against the WCAG recommendations
You can also decide to test your website’s ADA compliance by going through a checklist of WCAG recommendations. This will help you determine if there’s any part of your website that doesn’t meet the ADA requirements.
Both developers and website owners need to ensure that their websites are ADA compliant. According to AudioEye, the best way to achieve this is to regularly conduct accessibility audits.