There was a point in time when developing and designing an ADA complaint website was an option but today, it’s almost obligatory in the States. Designing an ADA website not only expands its reach but also helps businessmen in the United States defend their online brand against impeachment and penalties.
Since a lot of businesses have no idea what accessible website design is, Big Kitty Labs will talk about the same and cover everything critical about ADA-compliant website design.
From meaning to the importance and need to design guidelines, we will cover all aspects. Let’s start by understanding the meaning of ADA-compliant accessible website design.
What’s ADA compliance?
Thomas Jefferson — the third President of the United States, once said, “Equal rights for all, special privileges for none.” ADA compliance is all about this quote. Referred to as the Americans with Disabilities Act, it basically means that a website is within reach of US citizens with disabilities.
ADA compliance web design ensures that every website visitor can achieve an idyllic level of usability, even if he/she has visual, speech, or hearing impairments or uses screen readers or adaptive technology such as electronic pointing devices and on-screen keyboards.
Why’s ADA design necessary?
Imagine standing in a long Starbucks queue and still not getting your favorite drink, say Mocha Frappuccino. You will feel sick as a parrot, right? Now, think how disappointed people with disabilities may feel when they can’t use modern-day websites. The ADA-compliant design guidelines provide equal access for this community.
Over and above that, accessible website design also protects your business from any legal aftermaths that may appear due to non-compliance. It affirms that everyone has fair access to the goods and services present on your website.
Who needs ADA website design?
Now that you are familiar with ADA design basics, you must be thinking if it really has a bearing on your business. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, businesses that need to comply with ADA website design guidelines are:
- State and local government agencies
- Private organizations with 15 employees or above
- Non-profit ventures or public-benefit corporations
That’s not it!
ADA compliance is excepted from all those businesses that facilitate business electronically and provide IT services. So, even if your business doesn’t fall under the aforementioned categories, it’s equally important to design a website that everyone can use!
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Guidelines to design ADA compliant website
If you are looking forward to designing an ADA-compliant website for your business, you need to meet ADA standards.
Follow these set of level AA WCAG 2.1 guidelines to design ADA compliant website:
- Captions: Captions are a wonderful way of showing people what really matters. They have the ability to make your content, be it image or video, more accessible to people. Add captions to every visual content present on your website. Use software like Total Eclipse and StreamText.Net if you do regular streaming on your website.
- Audio descriptions: One of the most important guidelines to consider while designing an ADA-compliant website. Audio descriptions are great to communicate with individuals who are blind or have low vision. Add a link near the content that leads your visitors to the audio description. It will let them know what your website is all about.
- Text resizing: Each and every one of us doesn’t have 6/6 eyesight. Some of us use glasses for near and far distances while others might have very low vision. Ask your web developer to let your users resize site text up to 200%. Make sure that resizing doesn’t limit access to website content or trigger performance issues.
- Navigation steadiness: No one likes to lose their way and waste time. This goes for both the digital and the real world. Provide consistent navigation and organization to your users. Confirm if it’s appearing at the same spot (let’s say in the top-right corner) every time you open a new webpage.
- Mind visibility: While designing an ADA-compliant website, it’s crucial to enhance keyboard usability by making sure that it provides a logical and visible focus indicator. Make sure that physically and visually challenged people can clearly see the keyboard focus indicator on website elements like links, form fields, and menus.
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- Don’t rely on color: Familiar with traffic lights? Of course, you are! These signaling devices positioned at road intersections control the flow of traffic with three lights – red means stop, yellow means wait, and green means go. But what if your perception of colors is zero or limited? You won’t be able to identify these signals.
What we mean to say is that the design that relies only on colors limits website engagement for users who can’t perceive color differences. Use website elements and icons to help your color-blind users browse throughout your website.
- Headings and spacing: Headings and spacing help guarantee a memorable user experience. A good ADA-compliant website design can guide user’s eyes to button down the structure of information. Make sure the headings are well-placed and the area between the design elements clarifies their relationship.
Final words on ADA design
There you go!
We have told you about the meaning, importance, and guidelines of accessible website design. By following these methodologies, you will be able to address the needs of every website visitor.
Of course, the design and development process is going to be slightly daunting but once it’s over and done with, you can help differently-abled people achieve an optimal level of usability.
Big Kitty Labs helps business owners meet ADA compliance requirements based on the AA WCAG 2.1 standards for website design and functionality.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your ADA compliance website design goals.
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