ADA Compliance – What It Is & How It Impacts Websites

May 7, 2019 | SEO, Responsive Websites

ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, was published by the DOJ in September 2010 to standardize accessible Design for websites. The ADA was primarily established to give those with disabilities the ability to functionally use/engage with websites. Only by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), will a website be fully compliant under this act.

Who Needs To Be ADA Compliant

First and foremost, we suggest you talk with your attorney or an ADA specialist to see what is best for your business. There are resources listed below that you may use a guide. Now, before you go rushing to your website developers to update your site, you should be aware that not all websites need to be ADA compliant. The definition given for websites that need to be compliant is listed as a ‘public accommodating’ one. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation. However, if your website is:

  • Used by the U.S. Federal Government
  • Non-Profit
  • Large B2C
  • E-commerce

Then being compliant under the ADA is something that you will need to do for your website going forward. If your website is not working to serve the general public, such as a B2B website, then you may not have to worry about becoming fully compliant…yet. Based on how the ADA has become more relevant over time, it does signal that most of the websites in America will need to have some level of compliance. We have even seen Google work to show Accessibility scores on their Lighthouse tool.

Is it that much of a challenge to become ADA compliant then?

You’ll be surprised to find that many of the requirement standards will already be met. The difficulty for becoming compliant usually falls under these key compliance standards:

  • Text must meet a minimum contrast ratio against the background, which can significantly conflict with your design.
  • Your site must be fully navigable with a keyboard.
  • Your site should be navigable with screen reader software.
  • Your site must handle text scaling up to 200% without causing horizontal scrolling or content-breaking layout issues.

Depending on how your website functions, some of these changes can result in serious amounts of work. The larger site you have, like one receiving thousands of users per day, the need to become compliant may be much greater.

Is there a fast way to become ADA compliant?

We suggest talking with your attorney or an ADA Specialist first. The first step in becoming complaint is to fully understand the scope of potential work involved. This is where you can run a quick scan through tools like Lighthouse and WAVE. From there, you should forward the results over to your website developer/service provider to get the best feel for how much work becoming compliant will be. If you don’t have a dedicated provider, reach out to our team at ASTOUNDZ and we will be happy to run an audit for your website and offer a solution.

Additional Resources:

https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/about-the-ada-standards

https://www.ada.gov/

https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/#text-equiv

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