Recently updated on March 21st, 2023

With readily available internet providers, the world wide web can feel like a big place. Those who are differently-abled also browse the web too, so it’s important to make sure your web pages are consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Making an ADA-compliant website is a vital step in creating an entertaining, yet accessible experience for everyone.

What is an ADA-compliant Website?

The Americans with Disabilities Act affords those who have disabilities various protections in the fields of employment and accommodations. One might think of physical structures like parking lots or wheelchair ramps to be part of ADA guidelines. While the ADA has been practiced for decades, there have been important updates to online accessibility.

Website development has been streamlined recently, which means that almost everyone can create a website. What once was a long and arduous process can now be made quickly and efficiently.

In the same way, an ADA-compliant website is one that follows the ADA guidelines. It might be confusing to translate these guidelines from a physical space to a virtual one, but with enough practice, you can make a wonderful website that follows these ADA guidelines. Follow these tips below to see what you can do to improve your website’s design.

What is an ADA Violation?

Websites need to be compatible with a number of disability-related variables and technology that aid in easy browsing of the internet. An ADA violation is when a website’s design leaves out an important aspect that allows a disabled person to get a full grasp of your online experience. Here are some common ADA violations that you may experience:

  • Leaving out alt text in images
  • Imperfect styling parameters for headings (i.e. an H3 is bigger than an H2, etc.)
  • Not using ARIA landmarks
  • Using non-ADA compliant plug-ins
  • Not using a clean and clear navigation

What are the Components of an ADA-compliant Website?

The ADA guidelines state that accessible content must have these four basic principles to be considered an ADA compliant website:

  • It needs to be perceivable.
  • It needs to be operable.
  • It needs to be understandable.
  • It needs to be robust.

Great web design can help with creating accessible content. While there isn’t a clear-cut set of rules that automatically determines if a website meets the criteria, you should design your web page elements to cater to different needs. Keep in mind that people from all walks of life will visit your website, so you need to make a good impression with your design and the user experience, no matter the website niche.

How Can I Improve My Website to Fit ADA Guidelines?

There are many ways to make a more accessible website. For example, having elements that continuously flash on the screen may be in danger of crossing ADA violations. These parts of the website could endanger those who are sensitive to seizures. You could consider making these elements static (that is, not continuously moving), or have the action execute at a slower pace.

For those that are hearing impaired, including subtitles with on-screen videos is a great way to create an accessible experience. On the other hand, if someone is visually impaired and cannot read smaller text, having a larger font, or including an option to change font size will make a wonderful ADA-compliant website.

You should also utilize standard HTML tags when coding your website. This means that an assistive reader can read your code, which will help those who use those tools. As much as you can, try to simplify elements that you will include in your website and limit the use of complex image documents and use text-based documents. When in doubt, use text-based elements over exclusively visual ones.

Still Stumped on Making an ADA-Compliant Website?

We get it; it’s tricky trying to make a website that includes web page elements that are compliant with the ADA guidelines AND provides a dynamic user experience.

Thankfully at Next Horizon, we are happy to assist you in your web design needs. From making alt text for different visual aids to creating graphics that are safe for all audiences, we have just the right tools to help you make a wonderful ADA-compliant website.

Contact us today for more details on how you can create a more accessible website. We’re always ready for a new challenge, and we can’t wait to see how we can assist you in your ADA-compliant website endeavors!

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