How to Assess Your Website for Accessibility
You have a beautiful looking business website that runs smoothly and functions “perfectly,” but does it conform to the standards of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
To make sure your website conforms to ADA standards, you need to ensure that it follows the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG. The WCAG aims to ensure that no discrimination takes place against individuals with impairments or disabilities.
In 2018, these guidelines were formalized into law. Every business that deals with the general public must ensure that its website conforms to these guidelines and is accessible to those with disabilities. Any website found not to be meeting the minimum standard for accessibility can face fines or, worse still, a lawsuit.
How To Understand If You Are Meeting ADA Accessibility Requirements
The natural response to this is panic. Many business owners feel the dread that they may have to redesign their entire website.
The good news is that if your website is modern or has been updated recently, it is likely to be meeting some or most of the accessibility criteria already.
The older your website is, especially if you haven’t updated it in the last three years, the more likely it is that you’ll need to make changes to get it up to scratch. In either case a web accessibility analysis is a good idea.
What accessibility issues can occur?
The four principles of WCAG are that websites should be:
- Perceivable – easily read and viewed by all.
- Operable – easy to navigate and use.
- Understandable – have a clear and logical layout. And
- Robust – compatible with user-assist and site-reader technologies.
The accessibility issues that websites face will occur within these four areas. The following are the typical problems we see when clients get in touch with us for help.
- No text captions available for non-text content such as images.
- Time limits on viewing media.
- Overly complex page layouts.
- No website functionality via the keyboard available. Viewers must use a mouse or other device to navigate.
- Time limits on content that are not long enough.
- Flashing content that poses a threat to those at risk of seizures.
- Hard to navigate or illogical navigation path.
- Text content that is hard to read or understand.
- A poor contrast between text and background, making writing difficult to read.
- Use of fonts that are difficult to read (script fonts in particular).
- Difficulty rectifying a mistake. This includes such factors as not being able to click out of a pop-up box after the user accidentally clicked to make it appear.
- Incompatible with site-reader and other user-assist technologies.
The best way to understand how many or how few of the ADA requirements your website meets is by carrying out a thorough accessibility analysis.
You can do elements of this yourself. For a thorough and efficient accessibility analysis, you can have a web developer do it for you. The advantage of using a web-developer is that he or she will understand ADA compliance inside out and will leave no stone unturned when it comes to your website. They can provide expertise in solving the issues that the analysis uncovers while keeping your website looking its best.
Another alternative is to carry out a light assessments yourself and, if you see areas where you’re failing to comply with ADA requirements, hand it over to a web-developer to dig deeper and solve the issues later.
If you do decide to go down the route of self-analysis, here are some handy tools and tips to get you started:
- WAVE or Google Lighthouse will scan your web pages and give you a rating on where you currently stand with accessibility. They will also tell you what’s missing.
- You can also run a manual test using a screen-reader to see how it copes.
- Review your current website images to ensure that they all contain descriptive Alt-tags. These tags are used by screen-readers and other assistive technology to describe what is being displayed to the user.
- Check your website fonts are legible and clear.
- Look objectively at your website navigation. Does it make sense? Is it easy to find what you seek?
- Audit your website code. Unless you are a web developer yourself, this one is best left to the experts. They will scrutinize your code and determine whether or not it contains what’s necessary to be compatible with screen-readers and other accessibility technology.
Fix any non-compliant areas
After you have carried out a web accessibility analysis, you will need to get on top of any areas that need fixing or adjusting. It’s easy to think that it’s not necessary and that something like this can be left to chance, but accessibility lawsuits can and do result from, non-compliant websites. Since ADA web accessibility became law in 2018, any website failing to meet the minimum standards can face severe repercussions.
The sooner your website complies with ADA regulations, the sooner you can relax and know you’re not likely to face any penalties arising from accessibility issues.
Call in the experts
Sometimes it’s easier to get the experts involved from the get-go. It’s less time-consuming for you, plus it removes the stress of potentially missing something important.
Your website is the window to your business. Having it in the hands of someone with the right knowledge will ensure it keeps looking and functioning its best, within the law.
At David Taylor Design, we know how important it is to stay on the right side of the law, especially regarding ADA. We’re a New Jersey-based web design and development agency focused on providing a high-quality service to our clients from our amazing team of design superheroes. Getting your business ADA compliant is important to us, so naturally we offer ADA web design and development for all of our clients.
Our large portfolio of high-profile clients, various case studies, and numerous before and after examples demonstrate our commitment to providing quality, beautiful, and high-performing sites for our customers.
Get A Free ADA Accessibility Analysis
We will be happy to hear from you. We’re looking forward to learning what we can do to get your website in tip-top condition and meeting ADA requirements.
To get the ball rolling, we offer all our potential clients a free web accessibility analysis which will identify the problem areas. We’ll work with you to understand your business and what you require from us, as well as making suggestions for improvements to make everything operate smoothly.
Stay ahead of the game when it comes to ADA compliance. Contact a member of our team via our website, email us, or call us at 973-317-8765 to receive your free accessibility analysis.
In addition to getting your website ADA compliant, we offer a whole range of web design and development services, including:
- Complete redesigns
- Graphic design
- Strategic design
- Video and animation creation
At David Taylor Design, we’ll help you reap the benefits of a professional website that keeps you in-line with the law, works better for everyone, and helps you outshine your competition.