ADA compliance is needed to help keep the website accessible to all. As discussed in Americans Disability Act rising against website accessibility, the law is leaning towards the disabled winning million dollar lawsuits for websites that are inaccessible to the disabled.
One important point that is often overlooked is compatibility used with assistive devices used by the disabled. Assistive devices read text and convert it to voice or braille. Any non-text web elements like photographs, video, or audio are inaccessible to these devices. Even with a web designers best efforts, not all the disabled will be able to access the site especially those who are cognitively impaired. There are ways to make a website accessible to the most people possible.
If one can think about a teenager trying hard to fit in and knowing that electronic knowledge is huge in our kids generation and culture, it would seem that web accessibility would be more important to the web designer. Many people care more about making their sites accessible to all when a person has a vested interest due to a personal story or a specific person who needs to be accessible to the site.
It is my personal opinion that finding a disabled person to help the web designer with their site is the best route for all. There would be no need for lawsuits if many disabled Americans were asked to help the websites stay in compliance. Who knows, maybe in the process of each person helping each other, another amazing thing would happen, we would understand each other much better.
Here are some easy ways to start making your website accessible to the disabled.
- Make a disclaimer on your policies page that you want honest feedback if your site is difficult to manage with a disability. Make the public aware that you want them to be able to access your site.
- Have people you know with disabilities access your site and get their honest feedback. What may seem accessible to the website designer may not be for those you are trying to serve.
- Provide captions for your videos.
- Title your photographs discriptively and usefully.
- Each page needs to be able to be enlarged. Do not make any changes on the website that limits font size modifications.
- Making sure your website is accessible by both the keyboard and the mouse.
- Consider upgrading to HTML 5 as many accessibility changes are being built-in to the program.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
The WCAG was developed to make the web more accessible to the disabled. Following these guidelines will help make you site more accessible to the disabled including readers with blindness, low vision, deafness, hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, and photosensitivity.
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
- Provide captions and alternatives for audio and video content.
- Make content adaptable; and make it available to assistive technologies.
- Use sufficient contrast to make things easy to see and hear.
- Make all functionality keyboard accessible.
- Give users enough time to read and use content.
- Do not use content that causes seizures.
- Help users navigate and find content.
- Make text readable and understandable.
- Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- Maximize compatibility with current and future technologies.
National Federation for the Blind (NFB)
The National Federation for the Blind has a program to review and certify websites as nonvisually accessible. One can request a review of their website through the NVA program office.
ADA Title III It is my personal opinion that the ADA Title III be reviewed at regular intervals so that compliance is continued. One can assume an ADA Title IV will eventually emerge and that continued updates will be required. Please remember this is not meant to make it difficult to form websites, but to help all disabled the ability to stay connected to our ever changing electronic world.
You can also receive good information for accessibility through A List Apart. This article challenges website design for the typical drop-down menu as being inaccessible and calls that type of list a trap door. There is a step by step instruction to turn a text friendly nested unordered lists than convert it to a visually appealing site navigation with CSS.