There are a lot of talks about ADA compliance of websites going around now. Back in February 2018, the US Congress passed an act named ‘ADA Education and Reforms’ which makes it difficult for the Americans with disabilities to sue businesses for discrimination. However, many are facing lawsuits for their website not being fully accessible to disabled by not being ADA compliant.
In fact, there are many clauses, which still make ADA compliance a mandatory requirement, so web designers or digital marketers have to be knowledgeable and prepared about it. For those who involved in website making and digital marketing, this article aims at the issues related to website accessibility.
The context of ADA law
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law protecting the civil rights of individuals with disabilities and to curb any sort of discriminations. The scope of this law is wider which covers:
- The central, state, and local administration
- Private and public spaces.
- Employment contracts
- Construction codes
- Telecommunication, and
- Transportation to name a few.
Some common forms of ADA as we have seen like disabled parking sports, wheelchair access to buildings, service counter heights for disabled etc.
ADA on the web – W3C Guidelines
The talks of internet ADA became active with a lawsuit filed in 2016 against the University of California Berkeley, claiming that their YouTube channel videos don’t have subtitles for the viewers who are hearing impaired. In the United States, Department of Justice found that it is a violation of the ADA act. As explained at https://siteimprove.com/en-us/accessibility/ada-compliance-website/, DOJ pointed out WCAG directives as guidelines for accessibility.
WCAG specifies the accessibility standards for World Wide Web Consortium to guide website and digital content producers to make their work ADA compliant. The WCAG 2.0 version standard features four major categories Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust and 12 set of guidelines under these.
This category focuses on making online media accessible to all. The recommendations specify a way to present content in various forms like adding subtitles to videos etc. It also delineates methods to use contrast images and text to ensure easy readability.
IT gives guidelines for better functionality of web pages and content. Easy navigability with a keyboard, option to pause the moving sections for the users to get more time to read, ensure that all sections and pages are labeled properly etc.
This category enumerates regulations to ensure the logical functionality of the web pages and content. The specifications include the page language needed to be identifiable programmatically, consistent navigation through the pages, and the need for user input forms with ample instructions etc.
This section of WCAG puts for the guidelines to make sure that the web code is made “robust” so that the assistive readers can easily read the code. With this requirement, the code needs to have standard HTML tags and the code also should be properly validated to make sure that the standard assistive technologies can easily render the content.
Even though some of these WCAG guidelines for ADA compliance need additional technical work, the guidelines as a whole are well aligned with the web development best practices.