What is ADA compliance? What does ADA compliance mean for websites? It’s time for every company to find out.
More businesses are asking these questions due to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, which the U.S.
Department of Justice released in 2010. These standards require companies to offer and maintain sites that people with disabilities can use and access.
With resources like the web content accessibility (WCAG) guidelines, as well as ADA compliance services, your business can start making your site accessible to users everywhere. That proactive approach can help your company not only grow but also emphasize its commitment to serving users everywhere.
Keep reading to learn more about the meaning of ADA compliance, whether ADA accessible standards affect you, and how to create an ADA compliant website. If you want to speak to an expert, contact us online or call us at 888-601-5359 to learn about ADA compliance for websites.
What is ADA compliance?
ADA compliance refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, which states that all electronic and information technology (like websites) must be accessible to people with disabilities. It is not the same as 508 compliance.
Who needs to follow ADA requirements?
Now that you know ADA compliance’s meaning, you’re probably wondering whether it applies to you.
Organizations that need to adhere to ADA requirements include:
- State and local government agencies
- Private employers with 15 or more employees
- Businesses that operate for the benefit of the public
Since ADA encompasses electronic and information technology, like the Internet and the websites on it, ADA compliance impacts almost all businesses and webmasters. In most cases, sites (and their designs) aren’t ignoring ADA requirements intentionally.
Even if ADA compliance doesn’t apply to you, it’s still important to create a site that everyone can use.
What happens if your website isn’t ADA compliant?
Unfortunately, however, if your website isn’t ADA accessible, you are liable.
A lawsuit, for example, could be filed against your company if people with disabilities cannot access or use your site. Even if your business didn’t intend to discriminate or exclude people with disabilities from visiting or using your website, you could pay thousands of dollars in lawsuits.
That’s why getting answers to the following questions matters:
- What is ADA compliance on websites?
- Who does ADA compliance affect?
- How do you become ADA compliant?
Even though the U.S. Department of Justice hasn’t released official ADA compliance guidelines, it has provided recommendations. Your company wants (and needs) to use these recommendations to start making your site and user experience ADA compliant.
How can I achieve ADA compliance for my website?
Now that you know the meaning of ADA compliance, let’s talk about becoming ADA compliant.
When it comes to making your website ADA compliant, the go-to recommendation revolves around the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. This resource outlines several recommendations or goals for making your website ADA accessible to users across the U.S.
The core principles that guide WCAG include:
- Perceivable: You want users to have the ability to perceive all the information that appears on your site, like text, images, video, and more. Even if a user can’t see your website’s text or listen to your website’s video, you need to provide an alternative.
- Operable: You want users to have the capability to navigate your site and use all its features. Any user, for example, should have the means to use your main navigation, as well as any site tools, like calculators.
- Understandable: You want users to have the means to understand your website content. That means users can understand your site’s text, images, videos, and tools. For example, your site may include instructions for using a feature, like a calculator or a contact form.
- Robust: You want users to have the ability to receive the same experience, even if using assistive technologies. People reading your content versus those using a voice reader, for example, should get the same content even if it’s delivered differently.
How do those principles, however, translate into actionable items for ADA compliant websites?
Good news, the WCAG compiled all its principles into an easy-to-follow checklist. This checklist consists of three levels:
- Level A: Build a website that some users can access.
- Level AA: Build a website that almost all users can access.
- Level AAA: Build a website that all users can access.
For ADA compliance, most organizations recommend meeting Level AA requirements.
How to become ADA compliant with the WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines
If you’re looking to start with the Level AA WCAG 2.0 guidelines for ADA compliance, follow these rules:
If you have a WordPress website, you can also install an ADA compliance plugin to streamline the compliance process.
Get started on these items, and your business can move towards making your website ADA compliant.
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More accessibility resources
- Is My Website ADA Compliant? How to Check
- Is My WordPress Site ADA Compliant? 3+ Plugins for Finding Out!
- Do Websites Have to Be ADA Compliant?
- ADA vs. 508 vs. WCAG: What’s the Difference?
- Website Accessibility Checklist
Need help becoming ADA compliant?
Achieving ADA compliance for your website can seem challenging, especially if your web design and development team doesn’t have much time available. Becoming ADA compliant, however, is critical, as a lawsuit could cost your business thousands of dollars.
If you want to make your website ADA accessible now, versus later, WebFX can help.
With our ADA compliance services, our experienced web design and development team can ensure your site meets ADA standards.