What is ADA Website Compliance and Why is it Important?
Have you ever considered improving your website to be more accessible to those with disabilities? Just as there are ADA standards in the physical world, like handicap accessible bathrooms or wheelchair ramps, there are accessibility guidelines for websites. It’s for this reason that Autumn Consulting has partnered with Scalesology to help ensure that your website is ADA compliant, for a better user experience and, in time, better search rankings.
What is the ADA?
The Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA) is a piece of legislation signed into law in July of 1990 that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It protects individuals with disabilities in employment through access to government services and public accommodation, such as transportation. It also requires government and facilities, public accommodations, and commercial facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
In 2012, the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design were introduced, which mandate that all electronic and information technology be accessible to those with disabilities. ADA website compliance falls under those provisions.
What does ADA website compliance mean for my website?
The ADA guides organizations to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), put in place by the World Wide Web Consortium. So, in essence, for your website to be compliant, it must adhere to the WCAG guidelines.
There are many things to consider when strategizing on making your website content accessible. Below are the four principles Scalesology recommends prioritizing:
What is the Audit Process?
We understand that if this is your first time hearing about ADA compliance, WCAG, and general web content accessibility, the process of making sure your site is compliant can be overwhelming. The Scalesology ADA Website Compliance Audit is a copyrighted design to simplify the process and help businesses understand their next steps in becoming ADA compliant.
The website audit will provide an overview with a severity summary, indicating the number of violations and thus, the number of changes that will need to be implemented in order to attain ADA and WCAG compliance. This is done by looking at success criteria, the testable criteria that describe specifically what must be achieved to conform to a guideline within a principle.
Scalesology’s audit will provide you with a thorough breakdown providing page overviews with severity scores, a page detail matrix that will indicate precisely which guideline of each principle each page passes or fails, examples of how to fix it, and much more. Through a combination of both automated and manual processes, they can ensure there are no false positives and provide your business with the most accurate audit of your site.
Once fixes are implemented, they can then certify your website as with the WCAG Level AA, version 2.0 standards.
Implementing Programming Changes
Autumn Consulting is a strategic programming partner with Scalesology. The Autumn team is trained to interpret and implement the specific programming changes to bring websites into ADA compliance. Here are some of the vital areas that Autumn improves both for ADA compliance and organic SEO:
Header tags are HTML tags coded into your website at predefined font size and weight to clarify the hierarchy of the content on the page. They run from, which usually presents the title of the page, all the way down to in sequential order. Header tags improve the readability and SEO of a webpage.
Social Media Icons
Nearly every website has social media icons, linking to their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms. To make these accessible to those who are visually impaired, it’s important to implement HTML tags that describe them in words.
Alt tags are, as their name implies, alternative ways to understand what the image is showing or what information it’s presenting. For example, the alt tag on an image of a skyrise might be “Chicago skyrise” or “Chicago high rise building”.
If your website is a multi-lingual site, it needs to have code that differentiates multiple languages for any screen reader. These are especially important if you have multiple languages on a singular page.
Count on Autumn Consulting to thoroughly implement all the technical changes to bring a website into ADA compliance and improve organic SEO. Nathan and the team will take time to assess your audit and devise a strategic plan of attack to correct any and all violations. Depending on the size of your site, it could take as little as less than a week to receive your audit. After that, Implementing these fixes can take as little as two to three weeks. That means your site could be ADA ready within less than a month!
Not sure if your website is ADA compliant? If you’re not, it could be affecting your Google rankings. We’ve partnered with Scalesology, to assess and improve your site’s accessibility. Contact Nathan to get the audit started.