There’s been a lot of talk lately among our real estate customers about ADA Compliance. This can be quite a heavy topic, so we’re going to cover it across a few different blog posts. For this first one, we’ll take a general look at who must comply with ADA guidelines and what ADA website compliance means.
Business That Must Comply with ADA Guidelines
According to the ada.gov website, businesses providing goods and services to the public fall under ADA. This includes:
- Retail Stores
- Restaurants & Bars
- Service Providers
- Entertainment Venues (Theaters, Recreational Centers)
- Schools (Public and Private)
- Medical & Dental Offices
What ADA Website Compliance Means
There are physical and online aspects to ADA compliance. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to cover website components only. An accessible website is designed and formatted in a way that enables screen readers to properly interpret them. This covers both design elements and content layout.
Website Design Requirements
From a design perspective, here are some of the most common elements :
- Contrast – There must be enough contrast between text and background colors/images.
- Text Size – Font size must be sufficient and can be increased without distorting page layout (most mobile adaptive websites accomplish this).
- Spacing – Screen elements must have sufficient spacing between them.
- Forms – Form fields must have labels.
- Widgets – Widgets that pull in featured pages/posts must comply with content requirements.
- Plugins – Plugin outputs must be designed with ADA in mind.
These are just a few examples. The comprehensive list is obviously much longer. Since many features are built-in to themes and plugins, selecting the right ones will be key to compliance. Stay tuned for a future blog post with more details on website design considerations.
Page content must also follow certain rules. This includes heading, hyperlinks, images and embedded videos, among other things.
- Heading levels within page content must be in logical order and not skip a level.
- Images must have descriptive “alt” text.
- Links must have text associated with them.
- Videos should include transcripts and should not auto-play.
Again, this is not a fully comprehensive list. We’ll also cover content in more detail in a future blog post. The gist of this is, if you have a website with blog posts, you may need to review each one individually to ensure they meet the requirements.
Compliance Requires Ongoing Efforts
Unless your website remains static, ADA compliance is not something you check just once and forget about. It requires an ongoing effort. If you make changes to your website design in the future, you’ll need to ensure that they are done with these rules in mind. As you add new content in the form of blog posts or news feeds, those must comply as well.
There are many tools available to help diagnose website issues. We recommend the Wave Website Accessibility Evaluation Tool since it doesn’t require you to install anything on your website. You simply enter a page url and it displays a detailed report. It shows errors (in red) and additional recommendations. Resolving the errors should be your priority. If you’d like help with ADA website compliance, please contact us for a free quote. The time and cost to fix issues will depend on the number of pages/posts on your website plus the quantity and type of errors.