The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has made it mandatory for businesses to adjust to enable people of all abilities to access their programs, storefronts, and products. The same goes for online storefronts. There is a bit more of a gray area when it comes to ADA compliant eCommerce websites, but the number of lawsuits against companies and businesses that do not make these adjustments is on the rise. Over 1,000 cases have risen against ADA website compliance in 2018, already surpassing the number filed in 2017. With these cases on the rise, it is important to be aware of the effects on your business and on your customers. Here’s an overview of how to be sure your website meets these ADA website compliance laws.
ADA Compliance Website Checklist
You can do many things to have a fully ADA compliant website. Each small piece of code added to your website’s design can help someone navigate your website using adaptive technology. These technologies can read the text on your website, magnify the text on the screen, or even translate it into Braille. We’ve assembled a general list of points to keep in mind as you are designing your ADA compliant website.
- You should provide a link on the page to any accessibility options for better viewing of the site.
- All graphics should include detailed text descriptions for screen readers.
- Most images on the site should have an alt tag. This includes video files, PDFs, images, audio files, plug-ins and more. The exception to this would be for graphics that are decorative but have no utility; in those cases, leave the alt tag blank.
- Alt tags should describe the object as if the user cannot see the item.
- If an image is also a link to another destination, make sure that the alt tag accurately describes the link’s destination.
- Add descriptions to audio files.
- Add captions to video files.
- Make sure text files have a transcription.
- Skip embedding videos and link to their destinations instead.
- Add links for media downloads.
- Provide alternate links to the Image Map for accessibility.
- Make sure the area tags contain an alt attribute.
- Data tables need properly defined row and column headers. If the table is only for layout purposes, leave any headers blank.
- Make sure all cells in the table fall under the correct headers and columns.
- Make sure the site does not have any flashing images or strobe effects.
- Check to be sure Java-related files are accessible from the adaptive technology.
- Use the LABEL element for form controls that require text input.
- Make sure any form fields are in an order that is logical to follow.
- Use the title attribute when text is not available.
- Use field labels for any special instructions on the page.
- Include an option or a button to skip the navigation for anyone using a text reader.
Each one of these pieces is part of the larger puzzle of an ADA compliant website. To provide access for everyone, you must make sure your website is following most, it not all, of these techniques. It can be a huge process to check every page and every piece of code, but Forix has your back. We can help you put together all the pieces of the puzzle in order to accommodate as many users as possible.
Ask Users for Feedback
If you are not using accessibility technology all the time, it can be difficult to judge how it is working for others. One of the best ways to bypass this is by asking regular users for feedback. People who use and access the technology on a regular basis will be able to tell you the most about what they need and how they prefer to access your website. Sometimes accessibility software changes without notice, and a piece of your website may unexpectedly stop working. Luckily, Forix has the latest updates and tools to keep your website in great shape. We can help you stay on top of any changes in the software and technology, making changes as it updates.
Ask your users which types of adaptive technologies they prefer. Some technologies read one type of tag or element, while others need something completely different. By knowing and understanding which technologies your audience is using, you can adapt your website to their needs. Forix knows how to make your website ready for any of these ADA compliant eCommerce technologies. Let us give your customers the best experience possible.
Characteristics of a Good Screen Reader
Screen readers have come a long way in the past few years. They started out with voices that sounded very robotic and were sometimes very hard to understand. In recent years, they have developed to sound more human-like, making it easier for users to listen to the information. The best ones also use inflection when hitting different HTML tags, making it more important to get your tags just right. Keep things short and sweet. Navigation takes longer for those who can’t just view the content. They need to wait for the link to come up in the description before they can move on. No one wants to listen to a 20-minute description of a photo that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.
Let Forix Be Your Guide
Here at Forix, we have years of experience and knowledge backing our team of developers. We have successfully launched over 700 websites, making us one of the top developers in the business. Instead of worrying about every piece of ADA website compliance in 2018, let us tackle the project for you. You can trust us to check your website against an ADA compliance website checklist, leaving you to get back to running the important parts of your business. We’ll monitor your site for any changes in technology and keep things running smoothly.