How to make a website ADA-compliant

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public and private websites are required to meet accessibility criteria for individuals with disabilities. Without proper accessibility, a website may not grant equal access to information and usability to people with disabilities. For example, individuals who are blind, color blind, or deaf, will require specialized features in order for them to gain access to the same level of information as others without a disability, and it is a moral, legal, and economic obligation for websites to provide disabled people with the same access. 

Many businesses are required to be ADA-compliant, including Title I and Title III businesses. 

Title I: 

Title I of the ADA covers any business with at least 15 full-time employees operating for 20 or more weeks yearly. 

Title III: 

Title III of the ADA identifies businesses that fall into the “public accommodation” category, such as theaters, doctors’ offices, and schools, must also have ADA compliance. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act does not explicitly define what website accessibility compliance includes, but most businesses will follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The guidelines set out by WCAG are not legally required, but they include several helpful cornerstones of accessibility, including: 

  1. Perceivable (including text, non-text, adaptability, and distinguishable)
  2. Operable (keyboards/ non-keyboards, time restrictions, physical reactions such as seizures, navigable, and input modalities)
  3. Understandable (readable, predictable, input assistance)
  4. Robust (compatible)
  5. Conformance (legal requirements)

Conforming to the guidelines set out by WCAG will cover much, if not all, of the required ground by the ADA. However, even though the ADA-compliance requirements for online businesses are not explicit, it does not mean companies can get away with not complying. The best action a company can take is to include digital and web design experts in their website creation process to ensure that all ADA compliance is met.

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