ADA non-compliance can be a major legal risk for companies. Since the ADA was passed in 1990, it has been a civil rights law that sets forth requirements to eliminate discriminatory practices and provides guidelines for equal opportunity access to public services. The purpose of the ADA is to protect people with disabilities from discrimination and provide equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Using a service like accessiBe is one way to help your website comply.
What is ADA?
ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act, a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The ADA intends to provide equal opportunity to qualified individuals with disabilities in all aspects of society, including jobs, schools, and other public services.
What are the Guidelines for ADA Compliance?
The ADA covers a broad range of disabilities that may affect people’s interaction with the world. The following list contains examples of common impairments:
- mobility issues
- visual impairment
- hearing loss
- Parkinson’s disease
- mental illness
In addition to these guidelines, there are basic requirements to make public services accessible for people with disabilities. For example, there are requirements to make public transportation accessible, for businesses to provide proper signage (such as handicapped parking signs), and all other types of building facilities should be ADA compliant.
Creating Accessible Websites
While there are many forms of disability, the majority of them can be accommodated through an accessible website. An accessible website means the site is designed so that people with disabilities can use it to navigate, communicate and exchange information. There are different impairments, ranging from physical (the inability to use one or both hands) to cognitive (the inability to read, understand or remember things).
Building an accessible website requires careful thought and planning. For example, basic disabilities that require an accessible website are blind users (visual impairment) or deaf users (hearing or audio impairment). By following these guidelines, you can more easily accommodate people with disabilities on your site:
- provide alternative text for images so the screen reader can read the image to the user
- label all form fields
- build descriptive links, so the user knows which page they will land on
- use header tags to describe web pages
- follow W3C standards for code to ensure all browsers read your web page accurately
The best practice is to design your website with universal accessibility in mind. This way, you are building a platform for people who use assistive technologies, whether a screen reader, keyboard navigation, or even a mobile device.
Building accessible websites takes more time and thought than just building a website that looks good in the latest browsers. However, many companies still fail to provide or maintain an accessible website for people with disabilities. Some of the most common complaints received by the Department of Justice are from companies that have not provided an accessible website.
ADA is a set of guidelines that helps companies create software that is accessible to everyone. If companies do not comply with ADA, they can face legal action. However, complying with ADA can be easy if you use the right tools.