ADA compliant
Mike Gingerich

Mike Gingerich

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was sanctioned about 30 years ago in a bid to protect people with disabilities against discrimination, especially in telecommunications, and employment. The guidelines have already been enforced in most areas. For instance, organizations should assign accessible parking spaces to people with disabilities.

Now in the digital era, technology usage is on the rise, and organizations are coming under scrutiny to make their websites ADA compliant. The ADA guidelines are designed to make online platforms accessible to everyone.

Making an existing site ADA compliant can be a significant monetary investment and take significant time depending on how the website was built and how the compliance is handled. This has become an issue for multiple companies Who are struggling to figure out what to do with their existing site if it is not compliant, and yet it is important because there’s also been litigation against some companies such as Dominos pizza for their websites not being accessible. One solution is to utilize tools that can create an alternative ADA compliant version of your website.

ACCESSIBILITY PLUGINS

Websites can be accessible to all users regardless of their vision, hearing, motor skills, or even the hardware they use. The Wordpress website system has 30% of the World Wide Web using its platform to run websites. Some of the WordPress accessibility concerns include the design of menus, color contrast, organization of the headings, and the interference of pictures and media in the functionality of the site. Now, one tool has led the way in creating a way through these situations and into compliance. The Userway WordPress plugin can address ADA compliance concerns.

Userway is an add-on that increases the accessibility of websites, making them WCGA 2.0 and ADA compliant. Its main functions include keyboard navigation, highlighting links, and desaturating sites. Userways’ tools improve the accessibility of a website without interfering with the site’s code and structure. The Userway widget is also fairly simple to set up. Userway tools look to make the browsing experience for every individual easier by using widgets which modify the non-compliant elements of your site.

Here are more ways the Userway WordPress plugin can help make your organization’s website become ADA compliant and accessible to people with disabilities.

BETTER GRAPHICS

Graphics that flash more than three times in a second could trigger seizures in people living with epilepsy. Graphics have a significant role to play in the accessibility of a website. Graphics with captions or descriptions for individuals who are visually impaired ensure that your site is accessible. You can use an all text option in place of images for people using text-only browsers or slow internet connection to access your content.

READABLE FONTS

Make your site ADA compliant by using readable fonts. An estimate of 285 million people in the world are visually impaired. Sans serif fonts like Arial and Calibri are easier to read than others. Decorative fonts often make it hard for the reader to differentiate letters and therefore it is challenging for them to understand the content. To make your font accessible, use a small number of variations of them on your website. One or two are enough. The minimum font size should be 12 and bold your text instead of using italics where possible for emphasis.

As well, having a light font color on a light background negatively impacts readability. It is more accessible if a darker font color is used on a light background.

KEYBOARD- AND PAUSE-FRIENDLY

One of the ADA guidelines emphasizes on the operability of a website. Some users are not able to operate a touchscreen or hold a mouse. ADA standards look to ensure that such users can navigate your site using the keyboard only. Keyboard navigation friendly websites allow users to pause videos using the keyboard and slow down scrolling.

MAKE FEATURES UNDERSTANDABLE

For a site to be ADA compliant, it should operate predictably and have clear and useful labels. For instance, pop-ups should have a clear cancellation sign in the corner to show users how they can close the window. Readable instructions will also help avoid user errors.

Use an ADA checklist for auditing your site and assessing if it is currently compliant. Non-compliant websites can, as noted, attract lawsuits. Having an accessible website enhances your brand image and improves your ranking on search engines. By using accessibility plugins, the right graphics, readable fonts, and having operable features you can make sure all users are comfortable while navigating your website.

Mike Gingerich is president of Digital Hill Multimedia (www.DigitalHill.com), a web design and marketing agency. He is also a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook page apps for businesses. Listen to his social media and web podcast, Halftime Mike, available on iTunes.

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