The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a comprehensive civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. Signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, the ADA’s primary purpose is to guarantee that those with disabilities get to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Commonly associated with the accessibility of physical spaces, Title III of the ADA requires “places of public accommodation” to adopt ADA-compliant designs that can accommodate those with disabilities (i.e., wheelchair ramps, Braille signage, handicap parking, etc.). However, with over 4.6 billion people worldwide using the Internet to shop, learn, and connect, the ADA can also extend into the digital space.
For a website or mobile app to be considered ADA-compliant, it must offer “reasonable accessibility” to individuals with disabilities that affect their vision, hearing, or other physical capacities. To ensure your website is ADA-compliant, consider these four major principles of functional accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
For the content on your website to be perceivable, it must be available for someone to identify using their senses. While most Internet users perceive using their sight, some may rely on sound or touch.
Here are a few methods of making your website more perceivable:
- Provide text options for images on your website
- Add captions to your videos
- Make it easier for users to see and/or hear your content
All users must be able to operate your website’s interface easily. To ensure your website is entirely operable:
- Make sure all functionality can be available from a keyboard
- Grant users enough time to read and understand your content
- Simplify your navigation so users can easily find information
Your website should also be understandable. Not only should users be able to understand the information you’re presenting, but they also must be able to understand how to easily navigate your website.
- Make web pages consistent in their presentation and format
- Provide input assistance to help users avoid and correct mistakes
- Ensure your text content is readable and uses appropriate voice and tone for your audience
Users may be accessing your website through the use of assistive technologies—i.e., Braille screens, text-to-speech systems, screen reading software—so your content must be easy to interpret for a variety of user agents. As technologies continue to advance, the content should still remain accessible.
The ADA never explicitly mentions the web. However, according to AccesiBe, as digitalization becomes increasingly essential, more accessibility legislation will incorporate websites. Making sure your website is ADA-compliant may help protect your business from fines and lawsuits and can also expand your market reach to a broader audience of potential customers. Better yet, having an accessible website is a simple way to help make sure all people are able to utilize and enjoy all that the Internet has to offer.
If you are interested in making your website ADA-compliant and more accessible, contact the experts at RobMark today.