Is your website ADA compliant? At GNGF, we design all of our websites to be ADA compliant—whether you are looking for a full custom website or just a template website to get things started.
What is ADA Compliance?
The Americans With Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 and prohibits discrimination based on a person’s disability.
How does this affect websites?
From the regulations:
§ 36.301 Eligibility criteria.
(a) General. A public accommodation shall not impose or apply eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or any class of individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying any goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations, unless such criteria can be shown to be necessary for the provision of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered.
Simply put: people with disabilities need to be able to use your website to its full potential.
What factors affect compliance?
The first thing to focus on is making sure that your website is able to be read by anyone. Even someone who is blind.
To be ADA compliant, your website needs to be able to be read by a screen reader. Screen readers are software that simply reads the text on the website. This is pretty straightforward for your law firm website since all of the important information is right there in text form.
But how can a screen reader translate a video, or an image, into text?
For images, we use what is called Alt Text. Alt text is an attribute in HTML that is used to describe what an image is.
For years, SEO’s and marketers used alt text to stuff keywords to increase ranking, since Google crawled alt text to find out what an image was. This was why if you ever did an image search in the past, you would see images that weren’t even relevant to your search. Google read the alt text and decided what that image was.
However, alt text always was and still is used to describe the image.
Let’s take a look at this image:
Proper alt text used to describe the image would be something like:
A person helping to push an elderly person in a wheelchair
That is all you need to do to be able to have screen readers process an image.
For video, you should have a transcription of the video on the page to allow the screen readers to properly communicate what is in the video. Not to mention, this is good also for SEO value.
For those with disabilities that prevent them from using a mouse, how can someone navigate your website?
Usually, they use the TAB key. The tab key on a website moves from key element to key element, allowing users to navigate through menu bars, click on links, or start videos.
To ensure that a website is compliant, all key navigation elements must use a tag to allow for those using the TAB key to jump from one element to the other.
More information on how to check for this, as well as other keyboard shortcuts to worry about, can be found here.
Why Focus on Compliance?
We’ve talked with many people who don’t feel the need to possibly overhaul an entire website to make it compliant. It costs time and money to do so.
Recently, there has been a major increase in the number of lawsuits filed due to websites not being ADA compliant.
The sooner you make changes, the safer you will be.
For more information on our website’s ADA compliance, reach out to us, we’d be more than happy to talk with you.