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ADA Website Compliance

ADA Website Compliance
Let Us Help You Meet ADA Guidelines


Business and Law Firm ADA Website Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was introduced in 1990 to help the millions of Americans who live with disabilities. In everyday life, it ensures accessibility in public places and protects against discrimination. Today, these requirements apply not only to public places, but cyber spaces as well. It's true: ADA is the law on the Internet, and that means your website must meet certain standards for ease of use. At PaperStreet, we're web accessibility experts who can help your business or law firm website comply with these standards.

Web accessibility aims to promote access by individuals with various disabilities, including mobility impairments, visual and hearing impairments, epilepsy, and cognitive impairments that can make working with computers challenging.

As a website owner, it is essential to understand that the disabled may not be able to see, hear, or move easily, or at all. It is possible they rely on screen reading technology to hear website content. They may be unable to control a mouse, forced to utilize different inputs (e.g. keyboard or voice commands) to navigate between pages. On non-ADA compliant websites, the use of these alternate technologies results in difficulties interacting with on-page elements or consuming content. This is the problem we want to help solve.

The Law of ADA and Website Compliance

It is mandatory for government websites to comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities.

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual's ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily.

Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain or use electronic and information technology.

Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. 794), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others. It is recommended that you review the laws and regulations to further your understanding about Section 508 and how you can support implementation. Contact us today for a free consultation.

ADA Web Checklists

You can learn about ADA guidelines at a high level by reviewing any one of these checklists:

Key Principles

ADA compliance encompasses a wide range of interactions and standards in web content. The guiding principle is to deliver web pages that are Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.

A perceivable web page is one that works for multiple human senses. It can be seen by the eyes (sight), read aloud by a screen reading software (hearing), or even interpreted with a braille terminal (touch). Certain practices must be in place to make this possible. For instance, images with "alt" text attributes can have their visual properties described in text, and this text can be vocalized by software.

An operable web page can be used with a variety of input methods. Some of the most common testing we do in website compliance is to check whether the website can be used exclusively by a keyboard, as the equipment of a computer mouse and the dexterity to point it should not be a requirement to use the Web.

An understandable web page provides content in a clear and predictable manner. For example, headings occur in a logical order, where headings start large and then break down into smaller headings for more detailed points. Or, consider form inputs: If clicking a form field causes the label describing what to enter into it to go away, it becomes less understandable.

A robust web page is compatible with a range of devices, browsers, and assistive software. More of a general "best practices" principle, using highly compatible, flexible code means everyone benefits - not just website visitors with certain impairments.

Technical Points for Review

The ADA principles apply to the technical compliance requirements in a number of ways. Below are just some examples of requirements you can check on your own website.

  • A keyboard can be used to skip into the body content and navigate the site.
  • For readability, chosen colors provide sufficient contrast against their backgrounds.
  • Images have alternate text that can be read by screen reader software.
  • Forms have labels and legends that can be read by screen reader software.
  • Automatically-played video and/or audio can be stopped.
  • There are no empty links or heading tags.
  • On-page headings clearly and succinctly describe section content.
  • Headings occur in a logical order.
  • Text can be resized to 200% and the page can be zoomed in while still maintaining structure.
  • Buttons and links are clearly named, indicating what they do or where they go.
  • Text without links has no underline.
  • Redundant links on the same page are removed or minimized.
  • The language of each page is identified in code.
  • Video content offers a text alternative, either as closed captioning over the video or a separate transcript.
  • Links are provided to media players required to view content.
  • Menus are presented consistently regardless of the user's location in the site.
  • No strobe effects or rapidly flashing colors appear on the page.
  • There are no major HTML validation errors.

For a comprehensive list of ADA requirements, please review our checklist.

We are available to consult with you to implement any required changes to your website to ensure compliance with the ADA. Contact us today.

Benefits of ADA Compliance

There are several very good reasons to care about ADA compliance on your business' website:

  • To Comply with the Law. It's better to be safe than sorry! In fact, a 2019 Supreme Court decision now allows lawsuits to be formed against sites that fail ADA compliance.
  • To Reach a Wider Audience. Because ADA compliance promotes access across a larger range of devices, your website can ultimately serve a larger number of visitors which can be a positive for business results.
  • To Enhance Brand Image. Having ADA practices in place is a positive step that shows thought and care went into how your firm, and indeed your brand, is presented to the world.
  • To Improve Code Quality. ADA compliance includes requirements for generally well-formed, valid code that is up to the latest standards. As a result, websites are easier to use. It can even improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Reduce Your Corporate Risk with an ADA Audit by PaperStreet

ADA compliance is important. Not sure your website is compliant? Consult us. At PaperStreet, we will test your website in a Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 audit for Level A and Level AA standards.

After our review, you will receive a report indicating exactly where your website is deficient according to those guidelines. The report is categorized according to level of priority and provides specific solutions to remedy any accessibility problem on your website. With your approval, we will edit your business or law firm's website where necessary to make you fully compliant and worry-free.

What Happens if My Site Isn't ADA Compliant?

It's possible that you may need to fully redesign your law firm's website today to comply with ADA rules and avoid a possible lawsuit. Consider an ADA consultation with PaperStreet. We have the necessary experience and knowledge to improve accessibility of your website through careful design and development improvements, as needed.

Designing websites that meet ADA accessibility standards allows those with disabilities to view content on the web, while also improving your websites search engine optimization and website usability. More than 54 million Americans are disabled and nearly 10 percent of the online population has a disability. Corporations and web designers have a responsibility to the disabled community to design websites that are accessible. Further, good business practice suggests that an audience with more than 188 billion dollars in discretionary income should not be ignored.

We are available to consult with you to implement any required changes to your website to ensure compliance with the ADA. Contact us today.

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