The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, such as making web content accessible to people with disabilities. Businesses that fall under Title I of the ADA and operate 20 or more weeks per year with at least 15 full-time employees, or Title III and fall under the category of public accommodations, should be aware that failing to create an ADA-compliant website could expose them to lawsuits, financial liabilities, and reputational damage.
While website accessibility is a legal requirement, there are no specific ADA regulations defining what compliant web content is. Regardless, businesses covered by Ada Compliance Education Title III or I are required to create a website that is reasonably accessible to people with disabilities. Lawsuits such as Gil v. Winn-Dixie show that when it comes to ADA website compliance, no business is exempt, even if the ADA does not provide specific guidelines for providing an accessible website that accommodates users with disabilities.
Despite the fact that it is not a legal requirement, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) serve as a resource for organizations and businesses looking to improve their digital accessibility. WCAG has three versions as website accessibility standards, namely WCAG 1.0, 2.0, and 2.1. WCAG 2.0 superseded WCAG1.0, and WCAG2.1 is an extension of WCAG2.0. The World Wide Web Consortium (WCAG) defined three levels of conformance: A, which is the bare minimum level of accessibility; AA, which is the level of accessibility that meets legal requirements; and AAA, which is the level of accessibility that exceeds the required website accessibility standards.
WCAG serves as the foundation for the website accessibility testing checklist that organizations and businesses use to ensure that their websites are ADA compliant. The checklist is designed to ensure that website content is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Meeting these standards increases the accessibility of a company's or organization's website to people with vision or hearing impairments, as well as those with cognitive, language, or learning disabilities. If you follow these guidelines to at least the AA level, ADA compliance will be a non-issue for your organization or business.
Here’s How You Can Make Your Website ADA Compliant
WCAG guidelines require that you create alt tags for all images, videos, and audio files; create text transcripts for video and audio content; identify the website's language in the header code; offer alternatives and suggestions when users encounter input errors; and create a consistent, organized layout, among other things, to make your website ADA compliant.
How Do You Ensure ADA Compliance is a Non-Issue For You?
After you've created your website, you should test it for ADA and WCAG compliance. You can do this by identifying the best accessibility testing tools and running the website through them to see if there are any remaining accessibility barriers.
Running your website through an online ADA compliance checker or WCAG compliance checker, such as the one provided free of charge by ADA Compliance Pros, is a quick way to see how accessible it is. While this gives you an idea of how the website ranks on the accessibility scale, it is unreliable because the best online ADA compliance checker can only provide you with about 30% accuracy. For current ADA and WCAG compliance testing, a manual audit of the website is recommended.
A website accessibility testing checklist will help the auditor check out all of the sections that the checklist requires during a manual ADA and WCAG compliance test for your website. This is best accomplished by certified auditors with extensive experience in website auditing. In what is known as hybrid website ADA and WCAG compliance testing, manual website ADA and WCAG compliance testing could be conducted alongside online testing.
Get Help With Your Website ADA and WCAG Compliance
For more information about testing your website for ADA and WCAG compliance, call us at (626) 486-220 to speak to an ADA and WCAG compliance testing expert, or click here for further guidance on the matter.