The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides for people with disabilities to have equal access to public places. Most of us are familiar with it in buildings: wheelchair ramps, elevator buttons in braille, and other instances. But recently it has played a more prominent role in access to websites. Due to an increase in the number of lawsuits filed against businesses for this issue, it’s something they need to address.
What is an ADA-compliant website?
It is a website that meets the standards set by section 508 of the government code on accessibility. The most important facet is that all content be available in text format. This means:
What looks like text on a web page can actually be a graphic. We don’t build our sites that way, for various reasons. The upshot is that all the text on the sites we build is just that: text.
Any photos or other graphic items should be accompanied by a description in the code. Again, something we normally do, since it is part of good, standard site-construction practice.
Ideally all videos would include a transcription, although a brief overview may suffice. We do this as part of our SEO campaigns, so we’re well-versed in the techniques.
PDFs are the most common. Depending on how they’re created, they could be graphic or text. To confirm to ADA requirements, they need to be text.
Besides those criteria, the rest involve making sites logical, easy to navigate, and in general, user-friendly. All of these items are simply part of good web design, which we have been practicing for years.
How much does a compliant site cost?
Most of the time, these items are all included as part of our normal pricing. When additional work is involved (like transcribing videos or recreating PDF docs), there may be a nominal upcharge.
What if your site is not in compliance?
As mentioned above, you’re open to the possibility of a lawsuit — something no business ever wants to face. Since the alternative is easily accomplished, it’s a “no-brainer” decision.