Here are the WCAG guidelines you can implement throughout your website to make sure it’s ADA-compliant:
Start with a strong foundation
Your first step should be to choose a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, which is already equipped with built-in accessibility features.
Use descriptive and organized headings
Make sure that each heading accurately describes the content it represents. The headings should also follow a logical hierarchical structure, i.e., H1 for your main title, H2 for section headings, and H3 for subheadings.
Add clear descriptions for images
To help visually impaired users who rely on screen readers, add meaningful alternative (alt) text to all images on your site. For example, instead of “image1.jpg,” use “red leather handbag with a gold buckle.” This way, everyone can enjoy your visuals.
Choose easy-to-read color combinations
Use high-contrast color schemes that highlight text and key elements. Consider choosing a dark text color like black or dark gray on a light background, such as white or light gray. Tools like the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker can help you find the perfect balance.
Forms play a big role in gathering user information or processing orders. To be inclusive, create clear labels for form fields, group related fields, and provide helpful error messages. Features like auto-complete suggestions and real-time input validation can also make things easier for users with disabilities.
Design keyboard-friendly navigation
All interactive elements like links, buttons, and form fields should be accessible with the ‘Tab’ key. Add visual cues to show which element has keyboard focus, so users know exactly where they are on the page.
Test, test, and test again
A sure-shot way to keep your website ADA compliant is by regularly checking for accessibility issues. Automated testing tools like axe or WAVE are a great start, but don’t forget to seek feedback from users and perform manual tests to catch any issues that these tools might miss.
Section 508 and Website Compliance
Section 508, an update to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, came into being in 1998. Its purpose is to make sure that federal organizations working with the federal government create accessible electronic and information technology. This covers everything from websites and apps to multimedia content and hardware devices.
Simply put, you need to comply with Section 508 if you are a:
- Federally funded program
- Organization that receives federal financial assistance
- Company doing business with the federal government
Meet ADA Requirements to Make Your Web Content Accessible to All
If your website isn’t ADA compliant, you risk alienating potential customers, damaging your brand reputation, and facing potential liability issues. On the other hand, if you follow the tips discussed in this guide to make you website comply with the Disabilities Act ADA requirements, you open up your business to a wider audience, leading to increased sales and improved search engine rankings. Investing in accessibility is indeed a win-win situation for every business.
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