Digital accessibility isn’t just good business in 2020 — in many cases, it’s the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain organizations to make accommodations for people with disabilities. This means web content must be accessible to the visually impaired, deaf users, and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers, or other assistive technologies.

Maintaining an ADA-compliant website offers protection against lawsuits and fines. But more importantly, it allows your brand to be welcoming and open to people of all abilities — and to better reach all your potential customers.

So, what can organizations do to move their site toward ADA compliance and meet accessibility best practices? Here are three quick tips to get you started:

 

1.  Tell the world about your quest to have a more accessible site.

Create a Web Accessibility Document and add the link to that page in the footer or header section of the website. This document is like your privacy and terms statement, but the contents of this page will outline your ongoing commitment to producing content and a better user experience for users with disabilities. 

 

2. Audit your content. 

You can audit your content with tools like GA Analytics, WebAim, SEMrush, and other third-party solutions. This content audit should provide important insights into:

  • Site performance
  • Ability to attract users
  • User engagement rates

In addition, the audit should ensure that your site’s content is ADA compliant, and not producing accessibility errors or alerts.

By the way — are you wondering why you would need to know which pages are attracting and keeping visitors in a discussion about digital accessibility? The answer is simple: The more pages you have that aren’t ADA compliant, the harder it becomes to provide a great user experience for people using assistive technology to navigate your site. So, remove or update the content on pages that have low visibility and high bounce rates.

 

3. Execute your content audit changes – and don’t forget about non-text elements.

When you’re making changes recommended by your audit, don’t overlook non-text elements in need of adaptations. For example, your audit may have revealed that your images are missing alternative text (often referred to as Alt Text) or ARIA tags (short for accessible rich internet applications)  that could provide  context to help a user understand what is going on in a particular image or set of images.
Other non-text elements to review include: 

  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Interactive PDFs

Remember: Images need alt text, and videos and audio need captions and to transcribe text from video or audio. PDFs should be presented in alternative formats such as rich text documents so its content is more accessible.

Want to take a deeper dive into digital accessibility with a partner by your side? Willow can help make your ADA compliance journey a little easier. Let’s talk!

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Written by Bradley Carter

"When helping people, be it professionally or personally, my first question is always, 'What can I do for you?' My second is, 'Why?'"