When the Americans with Disabilities Act came into place in the 1990s, websites probably weren’t at the top of mind. What probably started as slight changes to include ramps, elevators, braille signs, and the like, has now rapidly changed in the year 2021. There isn’t just one way to run a business or even just to offer goods and services anymore. From mom and pop run brick and mortar shop to large conglomerates with multiple branches, just about every business or company has a website nowadays. A website is seen as a sign of credibility and is a great way to market your company. With this in mind, it is crucial that your website is accessible to just about anyone, as anyone may be a potential client. Part of “anyone” is anyone who may be differently abled. This is why just as it is crucial for you to have a website, it is crucial that it meets the standards of an ADA-compliant website. (Want to know if your website ticks all of the boxes? Follow this link to find out:
Someone who surfs the internet would be able to tell immediately that websites don’t often look exactly alike. The same can be said for ADA-compliant websites. There isn’t a rigid structure to be followed. Even if you’re looking to have an ADA-compliant website just for the bare minimum of not being on the receiving end of a lawsuit, there isn’t anything mandated by law about this — just that your website should be accessible to those who may be disabled. Fortunately, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (or WCAG for short) can shed a bit of light on this challenge.
Here are some ways your business can improve its website to be better accommodating and ADA-compliant:
Have an organized layout: Being consistent and organized with colors, buttons, and menus are definitely key. Keeping things clean and easy to navigate should be a no-brainer when it comes to building and developing your website. If this would make it easy on the most average of customers, it would be so much more helpful to those who may possibly have disabilities.
Create alt tags: Alternative tags allow for exactly that — alternatives. For those who may be unable to hear, read, or understand the photo, video, or audio content on your website, an alt tag will give them the opportunity to understand. Alt tags describe the content and what its use is to the website.
Provide transcripts: Should you have a video or audio on your website, providing the transcripts for these would be beneficial to those who may not be able to understand or consume it in its initial form. Transcripts may allow them to read and understand the content at their own pace, or they may use these with screen readers should they be visually impaired.
Offer alternatives for errors: It is completely normal to make mistakes. But navigating a website once you’ve made a mistake may be challenging to those who may not access websites in its entirety like abled persons do. Offering helpful suggestions or alternatives when errors are made may be of great help tho those in navigating a website.