By: Kaci Groh – Bayshore Solutions Project Management Team
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” – Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
It has been 24 years since Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. Over that time we have become very familiar with the many ways that we accommodate for those with disabilities; from wheelchair accessible buildings to televisions with closed captioning. In recent years the focus of ADA compliance has been turned to the web and whether or not a disabled user has the ability to receive and fully understand the information that is presented there.
Currently, Title II of the ADA only applies to state and local government websites, but many other businesses and organizations are interested in making sure that their sites are in compliance as well. Some advantages to sites that are in compliance are a better reputation in the disability community, cleaner code and search engine benefits.
Here are 10 easy checks that can be done to assess the level compliance on your site:
- Check that there is a title that adequately and briefly describes the content of the page.
- Check that the title is different from other pages on the website, and adequately distinguishes the page from other web pages.
- Every image has appropriate alternative text.
- The page has a heading. In almost all pages there should be at least one heading.
- All text that looks like a heading is marked up as a heading.
- All text that is marked up as a heading is really a conceptual section heading.
- The heading hierarchy is meaningful. Ideally the page starts with an “h1″ — which is usually similar to the page title — and does not skip levels; however, these are not absolute requirements.
- Check that all form controls are keyboard accessible by following the keyboard access checks above, including checking that you can get to all items in any drop-down lists.
- Some people cannot read text if there is not sufficient contrast between the text and background, for example, gray text on a light background. Web pages should have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal-size text.
- All text gets larger. (A common problem is that text is not provided as actual text format but instead the text is in an image. Text in images does not get larger when users increase text size.)
(A full list of easy checks can be found here.)
If you would like assistance with assessing your site for ADA compliance the team at Bayshore Solutions can help. By utilizing the standards and guidelines as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), Bayshore Solutions will evaluate, report, assess, address, and re-evaluate the your website to ensure the site is accessible for disabled users, and complies with industry best practices and ADA regulations for websites. Click to find out more information about the Web Accessibility Initiative. Get started with Bayshore Solutions today!
Kaci Groh is on the Project Management team at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Company.