ADA compliance and web accessibility are more serious than you likely know. Consider this scenario: You or one of your clients suddenly receives a letter stating that the website you administer is not ADA compliant and you’re facing litigation. Facing litigation? Now what!
The best course of action is to proactively review your website for ADA compliance and ensure that it is accessible to people with disabilities before you get into trouble. The level of compliance necessary is outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (available here). These guides are quite detailed, but it will help you fully comply with the law and insulate your company from litigation because it’s comprehensive.
A good place to start for website ADA compliance and accessibility is to use the following:
- Check the current state of your website accessibility with tools like WAVE wave.webaim.org and the Google Lighthouse tool (available in the Chrome browser)
- Ensure that all images have descriptive alt text
- Provide closed captioning on any videos your site may have
- Provide text transcripts of any video or audio only files
- Give users the ability to pause, stop or hide any automated content like email signups
- Use simpler design, be sure the website isn’t overly complex and provide options for adjustments to size/color of text and content
- Be sure your website supports keyboard navigation (think navigation between elements with arrows and tab keys)
- Provide support features so a person with a disability can contact the webmaster and receive a response
- Be sure any forms on your website have instructions for their use and that each form element is labeled with clear and understandable text
- Also, use the id and label HTML elements on form items
Once the above checklist has been followed, it is advisable to have a legal professional review your website in light of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines.