8 Steps to Ensure Your Website is ADA Compliant!

The PS Team
keyboard with ada compliant website symbols

Think of your website as your online practice. In your physical practice you take measures to ensure that your facility is easily accessible and meets the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. 

Your website needs the same attention to detail.

Adhering to the ADA guidelines for websites can improve user experience, widen your audience reach, and ensure your site is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities

Recently, companies are seeing lawsuits being filed against them based on their websites being non-ADA compliant.  We have personal experience with ADA troll attorneys who file multiple lawsuits to get nuisance settlements.

Understanding ADA Compliance

ADA compliance means your website is accessible to people with disabilities that would impact their ability to use your website. You want to make sure that someone with visual, auditory, and/or cognitive impairments has the same experience as anyone else. It involves ensuring that all content is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust (POUR).

Here are 8 steps to help you create or update your Website to be ADA compliant:

1. Conduct an Accessibility Audit

Start by evaluating your current website’s accessibility. Use tools like: 

These tools will highlight and identify areas that need improvement such as missing alt text, low contrast, and navigation problems.

2. Provide Text Alternatives for Non-Text Content

Ensure all images, videos, and other non-text content have text alternatives. This includes:

  • Alt Text for Images: Describe the image in the alt attribute of the `<img>` tag. This helps screen readers convey the information to visually impaired users.
  • Transcripts for Audio and Video: Provide transcripts for audio content and captions for videos. This benefits users with hearing impairments.

3. Ensure Keyboard Accessibility

Your website should be fully navigable using a keyboard alone. This is crucial for users who are not able to use a mouse. Check that all interactive elements, like forms, buttons, and links, can be accessed and operated with keyboard shortcuts.

4. Optimize for Screen Readers

Screen readers help visually impaired users navigate your site. To optimize for screen readers:

  • Use semantic HTML tags (like `<header>`, `<nav>`, `<main>`, `<footer>`) to define the structure.
  • Ensure ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) landmarks are correctly implemented to enhance navigation.

5. Design for Color Blindness

Color contrast is vital for users with visual impairments, especially those who are color blind. Use high-contrast color schemes and ensure that color is not the sole means of conveying information. Tools like the Contrast Checker (see list of website tools above) can help you test your color combinations.

6. Create Descriptive Links

Links should be descriptive so users understand their purpose without additional context. Avoid using “click here” or “read more.” Instead, use phrases like “learn more about our services” or “download the annual report.”

7. Use Accessible Forms

Forms should be easily navigable and understandable. Label each form field clearly and use the `<label>` element to associate labels with their corresponding information a user should input. Provide helpful error messages and ensure users can submit forms using the keyboard.

8. Implement Responsive Design

A responsive design ensures your website works well on various devices, including mobile phones and tablets. This flexibility is crucial for users who rely on different devices to access the internet.

ADA Compliant Website: is not a ‘one and done’ thing

Accessibility is not a one-time fix but an ongoing process. Regularly test your website for accessibility issues, especially when you update content or redesign your site. Automated tools are helpful, but manual testing with real users is invaluable.

Additional Tips for ADA Compliance

  • Train Your Team: Ensure your content creators, designers, and developers understand the importance of accessibility and know how to implement best practices.
  • Stay Updated: ADA guidelines and accessibility standards evolve. Stay informed about the latest updates and incorporate them into your website.
  • Seek Expert Help: Consider consulting with accessibility experts who can provide in-depth audits and recommendations tailored to your website.

Summing it up…

Making your website ADA compliant not only helps you avoid legal issues but also creates a more inclusive online environment. 

By following these steps, you can ensure your site is accessible to everyone, providing a better user experience for all visitors. Regular audits, ongoing training, and staying updated with best practices will keep your website compliant and user-friendly.

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