The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that requires public places to be accessible for a variety of disabilities. Accommodations such as wheelchair ramps on sidewalks and available captions on streaming titles are examples of these accommodations out in the world. However, in 2010, Title III of the ADA was modified to include websites. Because websites are “places of public accommodation,” according to this ADA checklist, websites will need to be able to meet the standards. Never heard of the ADA? Take a look at the National Network, an information and training guide to the ADA.
ADA compliance means that your website must be readily accessible to people with disabilities such as, but not limited to, those who are hard of hearing and/or visually impaired. People with disabilities must be able to access and navigate websites to retrieve the same information that others without disabilities can do without accommodations. Not only is it a good idea to ensure that your website has these accommodations, it is also against the law for a website to not be ADA compatible.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provide detailed descriptions of what makes an ADA-compliant websites. Some examples include providing captions or sign-language interpretation available for prerecorded audio, sensory characteristics of a website being explicitly described, and the ability for text to be resized with outside assistive technology that will not affect the readability. While your website does not need to meet all 38 of the standards, it should meet enough to meet the needs of those who will need help accessing your website according to its purpose.
ADA.gov provides a comprehensive list of standards for “Accessible Design” that can provide detailed insight on how to make a web page accessible to those with disabilities. But don’t worry – the law allows for flexibility in ADA compliance. Even if you can’t meet every standard for accessible design, providing accommodations where they are most appropriate is often more than enough.
For more information on the ADA or general web design questions, contact the team at Smart Link Solutions today.