6 need-to-know ADA compliance tips for websites

A dial that says "UX User experience" with the needle pointing to a green area on the far right labeled "Excellent."Your website is often prospective clients’ first introduction to your company. Subsequently, ensuring your site is accessible to as many people as possible and delivers an exceptional experience is vital. Any online stumbling blocks could easily inspire visitors to backtrack to the Google search results page and check out the competition instead.

Eighty-eight percent of online customers say a negative user experience will permanently sour them on a website, and 44 percent will report a subpar encounter with a website to their friends, according to UserGuiding.

To achieve the best possible user experience for everyone, you must ensure your site complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines for accessibility. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has determined that websites qualify as places of public accommodation under ADA Title III, according to the Forbes article “ADA Compliance For Websites: Getting It Right.” That means if your company is covered by the ADA (i.e., you have 15 or more employees and are open to the public), your site must comply with the regulation, or you could face lawsuits for lacking accessibility.

Numerous companies have dealt with legal consequences after not ensuring their online resources are accessible to individuals with disabilities, according to the ADA site’s web guidance page. For instance, Teachers Test Prep, Inc. reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. DOJ after an investigation by the agency found that the prep class provider didn’t include captions in their online video courses, creating an accessibility barrier for people who are deaf.

To make your site more accessible, be sure to follow these critical ADA compliance rules for websites. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Visit ADA.gov for full compliance details.

1. Include alt text for all images.

Without alternative text, people who are blind or visually impaired and rely on screen readers won’t be able to understand the images and graphics on your site. Be sure to add descriptive alt text to your site’s HTML explaining the purpose of each picture, chart, graph, etc.

2. Caption all videos.

Without closed captions, people who are deaf or hearing impaired won’t be able to understand your videos. Be sure to include captions for all the videos on your site to ensure everyone can access the content.

3.  Keyboard-only navigation capability.

People visiting your site should be able to find their way around utilizing only keystrokes. If visitors can’t navigate without a mouse, your website isn’t as accessible as it should be.

4. Option to zoom and increase text size.

To accommodate people with disabilities affecting their vision, you should ensure site visitors can easily zoom in on the content and make the font larger.

5. Adequate color contrast.

There should be enough contrast between your site’s text color and background color to guarantee clarity for all visitors, including those who experience visual impairment or color blindness. Similarly, you should avoid using colors like red and green for emphasis without corresponding text cues.

6. Give people a way to send you feedback about accessibility issues.

Make it easy for visitors who run into problems with accessibility to let you know about those obstacles in detail so you can fix them ASAP.

If you’re interested in learning more about enhancing online experiences, the Stratosphere team can assist you with marketing and website optimization services. Explore our offerings today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing sales@stratospherenetworks.com.

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