What is ADA Website Compliance? Let’s first begin by explaining what ADA stands for. ADA is short for the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act was signed in 1990 by George H.W Bush and was created to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. It guarantees that everyone has equal opportunities in regards to job opportunities, purchasing goods or services and the ability to participate in local and state government programs or services. One of the main purposes in creating this act was to provide a comprehensive, national mandate for the eradication of discrimination against those with disabilities. The act provides enforceable standards that address these discriminations.
Standards for Accessible Design
In 2010, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published the Standards for Accessible Design – a set of revised regulations for Titles II and Titles III of the ADA. These standards state that all electronic and information technology MUST be accessible to all people including those with disabilities. These standards apply to both commercial and public entities that have ‘places of public accommodation’ which extends to the internet. The law has major impacts on Americans with disabilities, private employers who have more than 15 employees, businesses who operate for the benefit of the public and all state and local government agencies.
As of 2017, the DOJ is actively developing regulations and guidelines on how to comply with the Standards for Accessible Design. Until these new regulations are released, the DOJ is encouraging organizations and businesses to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA guidelines. The WCAG 2.0 was created by The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web. Thousands of countries and international organizations require compliance with the WCAG 2.0.
How to Make Your Website ADA Compliant
To make your website ADA compliant, you must follow the W3C’s WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The guidelines are broken into 3 levels of compliance. Level A contains the most basic web accessibility features and is considered Must Support. Level AA deals with the biggest, most common barriers and is considered Should Support. Level AAA is considered the most complex of all level web accessibility and is considered May Support. The DOJ encourages managers, developers and policy makers to follow the Level AA guidelines. Below we have listed some of the recommended criteria for this.
- Provide captions for all live audio content.
- Add descriptions for all pre-recorded video content.
- Resize font to make it easier to see and read.
- Create content that can be presented in different ways.
- Make text content readable as well as understandable.
- Make webpages operate in a predicable manner.
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- All functionality must be available through the keyboard.
- Avoid using content that causes seizures.
- Allow enough time for users to read and use content.
- Make content easily accessible.
- Make sure that your website is accessible with any browser or user tool.
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