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ADA Compliance for websites using WCAG 2.1 and Section 508,

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Accessibility Compliance for Dummies: Understanding WCAG Standards used by the ADA

Businesses have come under scrutiny about accessibility compliance for their websites. In fact, many businesses have seen lawsuits on their lack of compliance.

If you want to avoid lawsuits, you should make sure your website follows ADA standards. If you’re new to this idea, the best place to start regarding compliance for dummies is in understanding what these standards involve.

What Is ADA?

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) came into play in 1990. At that time websites weren’t regarded. Instead, the standards sought to make businesses and government buildings accessible to people with disabilities.

As the internet takes over the business world, the standards set for accessibility come into play for websites. The ADA took their hint from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines helped create a set of website standards for business and government sites.

Compliance for Dummies: What are ADA Standards?

The ADA website standards are set for any businesses that sell products. There’s some confusion about whether this deals only with physical businesses with a website or if it includes fully online businesses.

To avoid issues, it’s best to assume your website falls under these standards. It’s not too difficult to follow the standards and compliance will protect you from costly issues. Website compliance involves making it possible for people with disabilities to access and navigate your website.

Accessibility

Website compliance starts with website design. You want to make sure people can find and process needed information on your website. You want to make sure people can access the information you provide.

This involves contrasting for sight. It also involves multi-media options to meet the needs of different disabilities. Providing audio, visual, and written options ensure people can access the information as they need.

Accessibility options include audio or video for written content. In reverse, videos should include captions. Contrasts for articles should provide ease of readability.

Understanding

Once visitors access your content, you want to make sure they can understand the information provided. You want to provide predictable navigation so there’s no guesswork on how to find what they want.

You also want to provide clear instructions for accessing information or forms. You want to make sure all media allow for understanding with alternate texts. This includes alt-text options for images for those who need different options.

Navigation

Anyone who visits your site should have the ability to navigate through the different pages and content. This goes back to predictable navigation. Make sure your website structure provides ease of movement throughout.

For instance, look into designs that allow for navigation via keyboard. Also, provide alternate means to access the instructions needed to move around the site and provide clear labels. You should also provide a way to pause moving parts in case someone needs more time with them.

Adaptability

To meet standards, your website needs to work under different circumstances. Your site should also have the ability to upgrade as needed to fit other needs.

You want to make sure the structure of your site doesn’t change if someone needs to adapt their access to fit their needs. For instance, the change of font size shouldn’t cause issues with website structure.

You should also keep the different technologies to fit disability needs in mind. Your site should work with these adaptations.

Also, make sure your design doesn’t cause other issues for people visiting. For instance, avoid designs known to lead to seizures.

What Are Standards Designed to Do?

ADA standards are designed to protect people with disabilities from discrimination. The ability to access the same options as people without disabilities ensures disabled individuals get to take part in daily activities and business.

Website standards ensure that disabled people have access to online businesses just as they have access to physical ones. Website standards extend the protection from access barriers to the internet. These standards are needed as many businesses have moved to online-only stores and others with physical options still rely heavily on online options.

The ADA standards, in connection with the WCAG standards, ensure that everyone remains equal when it comes to online access. Since ADA standards fall under civil rights issues, this equality meets the design of the original act.

Benefits of Compliance

There are other benefits of compliance beyond avoiding lawsuits. You also have the benefit of showing conscientiousness regarding the needs of all your customers. While showing concern for others, you can use compliance to grow your business.

Increases Audience

With compliance to ADA standards, you open your digital doors to a larger audience. 48 million people in the United States have some form of disability. Many of these disabilities can hinder internet use.

By keeping these disabilities in mind, you make this audience more willing to seek your products and services. They’re also more likely to recommend your business to others.

Benefits All Users

Making your website more accessible for people with disabilities also eases accessibility for everyone that visits your site. Ease of navigation works for everyone.

Multi-media options also create more content options for your users. Everyone has their preferred method of consuming content, and these accessibility measures offer choices for everyone.

Helps with SEO

ADA standards work in harmony with SEO practices. Search engines look for easy navigation and multiple contents. Using alt-text also works well with SEO needs.

The only struggle revolves around keyword usage. You need to make sure your keywords work in harmony with SEO needs and disability accessibility needs. Keywords need ease of understanding while increasing traffic.

Accessing Compliance Materials

Are you ready to move from compliance for dummies to an expert in compliance? To make this happen, you need to know how to access website compliance materials.

ADA compliance starts with an audit of your current model and moves into website design options to maximize access. No matter what stage of compliance you find yourself in, we can provide the best compliance tools for your needs.

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Schedule a time to discuss your needs. We will review your options and give a clear, no strings attached assessment of your website’s accessibility.

Let’s all do the right thing and include everyone.

We can work with you, your internal IT professionals or your legal counsel to make sure that all stakeholders understand the requirements of full digital inclusion for those who are sight impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or who have physical limitations that prevent them from navigating your site, and to ensure that this diverse demographic of potential customers have access to all of the products, information, and resources that you offer.