Web accessibility has been a hot topic over the past few years. Because people engage with the internet in different ways, it’s important for businesses to make sure that their online services, whether it’s a website, an app, or both, should be usable by everyone regardless of their ability or available resources. Unfortunately, not all businesses prioritize accessibility, especially in the digital world.For example, some websites lack keyboard navigation which makes it difficult for people with motor skill disabilities to interact with the website without the use of a mouse. Obviously, this is unacceptable. In addition to it being wrong to exclude people from goods and services,it’s also against the law.
Web accessibility laws: Are you aware of them?
Before we begin talking about web accessibility laws, let’s first define what accessibility means. Web accessibility means ensuring that your digital product can be used by everyone, regardless of their ability level or resources. People with physical and/or cognitive disabilities as well as those with limited connection to the internet should be able to navigate and interact with your website and/or app.
Everyone has the right to digital access. The laws that enforce this right are included in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the ADA, public sector websites need to meet the web accessibility laws and standards. These standards are set in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which is continuously updated.
Aside from this, there’s also Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires all government agencies to make their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) accessible to people of all ability levels. This means that the agencies need to make sure that all computers, software, phones, documents, and training that they provide to their employees can be accessed and used by all. In addition, all public information and resources of the agency should also be accessible.
Make your website ADA compliant
Making your website ADA compliant isn’t going to be easy, especially if you’re not starting from scratch. Nonetheless, it is a worthy investment. There are many areas that you will need to focus on to make your website accessible. Below are three examples that can help you get started:
- “Read more” and “click here” are common examples of link texts used on websites. This kind of text can make things difficult for visitors who have visual impairments. Not only will this vague text lack a description of where the link will take them, it is also difficult for them to distinguish one link from another. [Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]Meaningful link texts should be descriptive enough to inform the user where the link will take them.These make it easier for people using screen readers to navigate the content on your website.
- Not everyone can use a mouse. People with limited fine motor skills or similar disabilities will have trouble navigating your website if you do notintegrate keyboard navigation. Keyboard navigation will enable keyboard-only users to interact with your website and help them find the information that they’re looking for.
- Color contrast between the text and background of your website is key to ensuring that no one will have difficulty reading the information on your website. This benefits those with low vision or those who have difficulty differentiating between certain colors. To ensure that you have sufficient contrast, you can use a color contrast checking tool such as the one available in Chrome’s developer tools. . According to the WCAG 2.1 guideline, the color contrast ratio should be at least 4.5:1 for regular text and 3:1 for large text (18.66px and bold or larger or 24px or larger)
Focus on providing inclusion
It is estimated that around 15% of the world’s population live with a disability. Many of them face difficulty in accessing the digital world. Focusing on inclusive design can help ensure that you aren’t preventing people with disabilities and/or other limitations from interacting with your website.
Inclusive design is the practice of designing a product with the full range of human diversity in mind. This means that products, including your website, are designed to be accessed and used by as many people as possible, regardless of their ability level, gender, culture, language, age, etc. Focusing on creating a website that provides access to as many people as possible reduces the chances of your company facing an accessibility lawsuit in the future.
Spend enough time on content optimization
People visit your website not because it looks good, but because it contains the information they want. Because of this, it’s important that your content is written, organized, and published in such a way that it is accessible and understandable to everyone who visits. For example, content optimization requires the use of headings and subheadings. Using these to structure your content allows people who use screen readers or similar assistive technologies to be able to skip content that they’re not interested in, jumping right to the information they’re looking for.
Web accessibility is critical for any business who plans to maintain a presence in the digital world. This is not only because it’s the right thing to do, but it ensures that you avoid lawsuits from unsatisfied or frustrated customers. As an added benefit, investing in web accessibility will even help boost your business SEO. Win, win!