The Americans With Disabilities Act is a civil law that protests discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
It was created to ensure that disabled people had the same access to everything in life as those without disabilities.
For a long time, there was some confusion around whether said legislation included websites. Created in a time before the digital age really took off, it took some time to be updated to make things clearer for those working in the online world.
To overcome this vagueness, the act added Title III to their legislation in 2018, which clearer sets out the standards online websites would be held to.
Despite this clear confirmation and instructions of how to become ADA compliant, many companies try their luck.
You might have been one of them up until this point, figuring you won’t get caught when other companies get away with it, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
Lawsuits for ADA violations are rising in every industry and have been for the last few years, even before Title III was introduced.
As a business, you should be striving towards becoming ADA compliance because you want to serve more of your target audience, not just because it’s legislation.
In fact, Digital Authority Partners reports that there are over 30 million people living with a disability in America alone, meaning not being ADA compliant could be having serious repercussions on your business.
With all this being said, however, it isn’t always easy to know if you are ADA compliant or not, which is where we come in.
In this article we are going to be sharing everything you need to know if you are ADA compliant in five easy-to-follow steps.
Test Your Website’s Navigational Abilities With A Keyboard
People with disabilities who experience poor muscle control, or who are legally blind, may find it difficult to use a mouse.
For this reason, Title III of the ADA means that you must make sure all website functions can be completed using a keyboard.
This includes simple tasks like clicking on the links and buttons, accessing menus, selecting checkboxes and filling out the form fields.
You must also make sure more complex tasks, like initiating a chat with a customer service representative, can be accessed in the same way.
The easiest way to find out if you can do this on your website is to test it out for yourself.
Make Sure All Images Have Appropriate Alt Text On Them
A lot of website owners seem to think that alt text is strictly for SEO purposes, but you could be violating the ADA if you’re using them for this purpose.
While keyword stuffing does work for SEO, it can prevent people with disabilities who use screen readers from fully understanding and accessing your website as they will not be able to decipher the image they are being prevented from seeing.
If you think you’ve made this error on your website, it’s important that you go back and make the appropriate changes as you could end up with a lawsuit if you don’t.
In fact, an in-depth analysis of ADA lawsuits by HealthcareWeekly revealed that not having alt text on images has been a major reason for legal intervention both before and after Title III was introduced.
Ask Someone To Assess Your User Experience
To a certain degree, you can definitely test your ADA compliance and user experience within your company or a business owner yourself.
If you want to minimize opportunities for error, however, asking someone else to test your user experience is a great way to go.
You want them to look at things like your contrasting colours, ease of use, navigation, and search features.
Not only will these things make sure that your website is optimized for ADA compliance, but it will also have the bonus extra of making your site easier to use for your non-disabled users at the same time.
Make Sure Your Call To Actions Are Detailed
As part of Title III, you need to make sure that all your buttons and text links are descriptive in order to be ADA compliant.
Essentially, you need to make sure they are written in a way that clearly explains what will happen when a user clicks on them.
This means that writing ‘Learn More’ isn’t an effective call for action as it doesn’t say what you’re learning more about, which could make you ADA non-compliant.
If you have these call to actions, try changing them to something like ‘Learn more about our digital marketing services’ to give users a better idea of what to expect by clicking on a certain link.
Hire ADA Specialist Firms To Help
ADA compliance isn’t something you should take lightly, so if you want to double check or still aren’t sure whether your website is ADA compliant, it might be worth getting in contact with a specialist firm that can help you.
The good news is that many digital marketing agency and industry-specific experts have adapted their services to include these measures, meaning it shouldn’t be as difficult as it once was to find someone who can help.
Doing this will ensure you aren’t missing out on critical errors, and will give you peace of mind about your website going forwards as it gains popularity and profits.
We hope by the time you finish reading this article you will have gained an understanding about the importance of becoming ADA compliant as a website owner.
The good news is that checking that your website is compliant isn’t too hard, and there are many companies out there who can help you if you want the additional reassurance.
Even asking someone else in your niche to check things over can make a great difference in picking up on the things you may have missed.
With ADA compliance, however, it isn’t about checking your website once, having it confirmed as being compliant and leaving it.
Every time you add new features or software, you should check the changes using the advice we’ve provided above to make sure that your website is still easily accessible to those who need it to be.