The revised 2010 ADA requirements are civil rights laws that protect and assist people with disabilities at physical and online public locations The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) encourages businesses to follow the law of ADA compliance. The ADA is a 1990 law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in the United States. The government applied major revisions to the law in 2010.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) makes clear that establishing Title III also applies to public online accommodations. Title III states if people without disabilities can use a website, it is discrimination to have barriers in place that prevents people from using it. Section 508 targets website accessibility stating “all website content be accessible to people with disabilities.”
If you are a website owner, it is your obligation to find out about the following questions.
- What is ADA compliance for websites?
- Who does ADA compliance affect?
- How does your website become ADA compliant?
What is the WCAG 2.0 guidelines?
When it comes to ADA compliance on websites, the recommendation usually revolves around the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The principles of WCAG include the following:
You want users to have the ability to view all the information on your site, like text, images, videos, etc.
If a visitor with disability cannot see your website’s content or listen to your website’s audio, you need to provide an alternative.
You want users to have the capabilities to browse your website and use all the features.
Any site visitor should have the options to use your main navigation and website tools.
You want users to have the ways to understand your site content including images, video clips, and tools.
You want site visitors to have the ability to receive the same experience, even if using assistive technologies. People reading your content versus those using a voice reader, for example, should get the same content even if it is delivered differently.
ADA conformance levels
Website ADA compliance is not one size fits all. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) outline three standard conformance levels: A, AA, and AAA.
- Level A: Build a website that some users can access
- Level AA: Build a website that nearly all visitors can access
- Level AAA: Build a website that all users can access
This ADA conformity has minimal effect, but also minimal impact.
While WCAG 2.0 Level A allows screen readers to more effectively scan a site, it will not make your site compliant to the current standards the DOJ or lawyers want to see.
This level of conformity is a happy medium that most businesses currently strive for.
The conformance satisfies all Level A criteria and more while still allowing for more flexible design choices. Level AA is the most popular level of conformance most companies and projects strive for.
This is at the highest ADA conformance level which captures all conformance factors and has the most comprehensive level of website conformance.
Regulations of Level AA WCAG 2.0 guidelines for ADA compliance:
|Captions||For all live video, provide captions. You can add captions to your live videos using software or professional services.|
|Audio descriptions||Provide audio descriptions for all pre-recorded content. You can also add a link near the content that directs users to your audio description.|
|Contrast ratio||Maintain a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for text and images of text. Exceptions include large text or images of large text, logotypes, or incidental text or images of text.|
|Text resizing||Allow users to resize site text (without any assistive technology) up to 200%. The resize must not cause a loss of content or site functionality. This ADA compliance item does not apply to captions or images of text.|
|Images of text||Avoid using images that feature mostly text to convey your content unless users can customize the image or the image is essential. If you want to use these kinds of images, like for pull quotes, substitute them using CSS, which can stylize text.|
|Navigation options||Offer users more than one option for locating a page on your site, unless that page is the result or step in a process, like completing an online checkout. Adding an HTML sitemap, site search, and consistent navigation menu can help you accomplish this to-do.|
|Headings and labels||Use headings or labels to describe the topic or purpose of content. Aim for descriptive and straightforward labels or headings. You should also label all site elements, like a pricing table or contact form.|
|Focus visible||Anyone accessing your site with a keyboard should have the ability to see the keyboard focus indicator — or the outline that appears on a form field — on site elements like links, form fields, and menus. Add this feature on your website with CSS.|
|Language||For any website content that isn’t in your default language, add a language attribute to the page. A site that uses English, for instance, may add a language attribute for a page with content in French.|
|Navigation consistency||Provide a consistent navigation location and organization for users. Your navigation menu, for instance, should always appear in the same spot (like the left-hand side) and with the same menu items.|
|Identification consistency||Site elements with the same function should have consistent identification. You can label and name these elements, for example, and use identical alt text for elements with the same purpose.|
|Error suggestion||Offer users suggestions for fixing input errors, like the format of a phone number in a contact form. You can provide correction recommendations via text.|
|Error prevention||Any pages that generate legal commitments or financial transactions, modify or delete user-controlled data, or submit user test responses must be reversible, checked for errors, and confirmed before submission. Create an order confirmation page, for example, or allow users to cancel orders within a specific period.|
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