How to build for Accessibility in 2022

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is famous for its role in mandating wheelchair ramps and disabled parking spots. As technology advanced, so too did the responsibility of website designers: now they must build an ADA-compliant website to meet the demands of disabled people on the internet. Is your current website ADA compliant and accessible to all?

Now website designers and web design firms must consider how each element on a web page can be adapted to fit the needs of their disabled users, whether it's sizing, colors, text-to-speech, or any of the other considerations. Everything should meet the four categories laid out by the ADA so that each element can be used and understood by all.

You can use the guidelines below to learn more about ADA compliance in web design and perform an accessibility audit on your website.

What is an ADA Compliant Web Design?

An ADA-compliant website is suited to people of all abilities. It should enable users with all disabilities and impairments to access your website in a way that works best for them. This is a win-win situation for everyone because more accessible websites attract more visitors, which increases revenue and growth.

In 2010, the Department of Justice announced that it intended to revisit and adjust its Americans with Disabilities Act legislation to include considerations on how websites should work to accommodate people with disabilities.

In 2016, there was a significant case involving the University of California, Berkeley. The Department of Justice(DoJ) advised UC Berkley to adhere to the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which are now widely recognized as ADA-compliant guidelines. The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) WCAG is considered to be the gold standard for website accessibility. The World Wide Web Consortium established the WCAG guidelines, which are regarded as the best and simplest technique of making your website accessible to all of your customers.

By law, many governments and healthcare organizations must adhere to these criteria. Being WCAG compliant isn't necessary for a virtual, private, or high street company, however. You may follow this guideline to be confident that your website and online booking page are accessible to the widest audience possible.

8 Steps to Design an ADA Compliant Website

So, how can you make your website accessible to people with disabilities? Here are eight stages for creating a more inclusive site and adhering to the WCAG.

1. Evaluate Your Current Site

To begin, ask yourself what the current state of your site is. You may rate your site with programs like WAVE or Lighthouse and manually test it with screen-reader software to ensure it's accessible. A website must meet standards in four areas:

  • Visible

  • Easy Navigational

  • Readable

  • Robust

2. Choose ADA Compliant images, graphics, and assets

One of the big considerations for ADA compliance is your choice of images. These should be high-quality, compressed, simplified, and have appropriate alt-text descriptions. You should also ensure that other graphical elements, such as buttons and icons, are easy to see and use. Navigational elements like menus should be large enough for users with limited dexterity to select.

3. Add Alt Text and Readable Fonts

Making your content marketing and site easily digestible for everybody who may come across it will take a lot of thought. Perception includes a wide range of things. To get started, add alt-text to all images in your code. Alt-text captions allow visitors to describe your photographs aloud by providing alternative text.

Another aspect of accessibility is the use of typefaces. Use simple to read fonts, such as Georgia, Open Sans, and Quicksand. A light font color on a light background is difficult to read; for example, yellow text on a pale background causes people to strain. Using a stark black backdrop with a dim font is also a big no no.

4. Build Your ADA Compliant Site with Standard HTML Tags

The most technical criterion of the ADA standards is the robustness requirement. It implies that the code should be understandable by a person with disabilities. The use of standard HTML tags is required in your site's code. At all times, even when you provide a PDF, you should supply documents in a text-based format. Complex picture documents are unreadable by software that reads text aloud for visually impaired website users and will not satisfy ADA requirements. The good news is that most website platforms like Webflow, are coded to work with modern coding standards.

5. Make the Site Keyboard- and Pause-Friendly

The primary aim of the "operable" category of ADA-compliant standards is to ensure that your website can be accessed using a keyboard alone. Touchscreens and mouses aren't for everyone. This category also covers the site's overall structure. Readers should be able to pause content or slow down automatic scrolling/slideshow movements.

6. Make Website Capabilities and features sensible

The ADA requires that a website be understandable to the general public. The site should work as expected, with clear labels placed over content and media blocks. For example, having a clear "x", "exit" or "cancel" in the upper corner of a pop-up to indicate how to shut the window is an easy method to prevent user error.

7. Use an all-in-one Accessibility Tool

In 2022, many scalable accessibility tools can be used as plugins or integrations on your website to help with being ADA compliant. Depending on the tool and plan you select to use on your website, your users will have options like, text-to-speech, contrast toggling, saturation toggling, dyslexia-friendly structuring, animation pausing, text toggling, and resizing among other things. Some of the best accessibility and ADA compliance tools for websites are as follows:

Userway - Userway makes your website and content accessible to all, tapping into the benefits of digital technology. Userway is an online platform that helps you create rules for ADA compliance and accessibility, ensuring these practices are followed through in all areas of your site.

Accessibe - A tool that helps you meet the standards of ADA-compliant and accessible websites. Accessibe allows you to build compliant guidelines into all aspects of your website and online content, while also ensuring they are implemented in a way that stays true to the spirit, intent, and meaning of the legislation itself.

Audioeye - A tool that helps you optimize your website for accessibility and compliance with the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Audioeye also provides a service that can create an ADA-compliant version of your site, which can be used by people who require the use of screen readers or other assistive technologies.

8. Stay Up-to-Date on ADA Compliance updates and trends

Remember that ADA requirements must be maintained over time. New technologies for disabled people are constantly being developed, and they must be considered during website development. It's true that making sure the text is legible and the code works with assistive readers is a good start. However, a genuinely compliant (and usable) ADA-compliant website will incorporate new updates continuously.

If you need help making your Website Accessible or want one built give us a shout --> Book a Strategy Call