Only 3 percent of today’s websites are compliant the Americans with Disabilities Act. Yet that low percentage doesn’t necessarily safeguard your organization from potentially being sued for ADA noncompliance. Packerland Websites believes that following ADA guidelines doesn’t just avert messy court cases; it’s also the right thing to do. (Read our blog, ADA Compliance for Websites: Stay Accessible and Out of Court.) ADA guidelines give people with disabilities the same opportunity as everyone else to engage with your website.
Accessibility Guidelines & Common ADA Errors
Businesses and nonprofits have four essential tools to make their websites better comply with ADA guidelines. The first resource gives website owners a directory of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to follow. The quick reference lists WCAG 2 requirements and gives advisory techniques, examples of usage situations and examples where the website failed to meet the guidelines. Unless you are a website developer, this quick reference probably seems daunting. So, we’ll simplify this list and name the most common issues we see on websites that aren’t ADA compliant. Most commonly found ADA errors:
- Low color contrast ratio of text, so text blends into the background, making it difficult to read
- Alternative (alt) tags are missing for images. Alt tags are needed because screen reader software reads alt tags aloud, so users know what the image shows.
- No announcement when the user navigates away from a website
- A website isn’t navigable with keyboard only
- Nondescript buttons like “Read More” or “Learn More” don’t include background code to tell the user where the button will take them
- No Accessibility Statement which states the website owner’s efforts to be ADA compliant and a process to follow if a user experiences an ADA issue
Real-Time Evaluation & Feedback
The second resource is a browser extension to add an ADA guideline tool to a website. One extension we find helpful is the WAVE Evaluation Tool browser extension (link for Chrome users). This ADA tool evaluates web accessibility and provides feedback regarding accessibility issues. Additionally, WordPress plugins are sometimes added to a website for accessibility. Although they help a lot, WordPress Plugins are NOT a silver bullet for becoming ADA compliant.
Another online FREE option with nothing to download is https://www.experte.com/accessibility. We rarely endorse many third-party websites. With the EXPERTE.com Accessibility Test you can determine the accessibility your website. The tool crawls your website and checks for each subpage if it can be correctly displayed by screen readers. We really like that it will check multiple pages one scan and give screen shot results
Brand-Specific Accessibility Statements
The third resource is an Accessibility Statement Generator. An accessibility statement is an official, written commitment to support accommodations for all individuals with disabilities. The statement includes contact information for accommodation requests and remediation. The accessibility statement should be placed in the footer of every page of your website. We recommend using the Web Accessibility Initiative resource as an Accessibility Statement Generator tool.
Packerland Websites Offers ADA Services
Are the first three ADA-compliant website tools a bit over your head? We get it! The fourth and final resource is the Packerland Websites team. Packerland Websites created an ADA Compliance Report Card, so we can evaluate our clients’ websites and recommend ADA-accessibility updates. Because our team uses industry-leading practices to build websites on WordPress, our websites adapt well for people with disabilities. However, only a thorough evaluation of a website can show ADA accessibility for certain.
Websites that Engage People of All Abilities
These ADA-compliance resources are the Top 4 accessibility checking and standards tools that we recommend. The fourth resource, the Packerland Websites’ team, is the best of the four. Contact us link regarding a website review and ADA-accessibility report card for your website. We look forward to assuring that your organization meets ADA-compliance standards, so your website engages people of all abilities.