The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination in all public places and work environments. ADA requires companies to follow set standards to allow people with disabilities to do their jobs without too many difficulties. They also set regulations for various public domains, both in the physical and the virtual world.
Given how much time we spend online, the internet has become a part of this environment. Thus, you must set up your website per the ADA guidelines and make it more accessible. Learn about ADA guidelines to make your website more accessible to people with disabilities.
To ensure accessibility for people with disabilities, the ADA requires websites to maintain a few standards. Among them, we’ll discuss some of the most important ones today.
Label Your Forms
People who access websites through screen readers depend on whatever is written on your website to know what it’s about. So, they won’t understand what to do with a form on your website if you don’t label it.
One of the most crucial ADA regulations is that all instructions must be crystal clear and concise. In this regard, you must ensure clarity by labeling your web forms.
The label placement is also vital. Placeholder texts will be useless since screen readers can’t pick them up. Your best option is to place the label above the form field. That will be easier for the screen reader to dictate.
Another thing to consider here is the error message your form displays upon receiving a wrong or invalid entry. Here, you must use inline error messages to ensure clarity.
Include Texts with Visuals (Both Images and Videos)
Screen readers can only read texts. While advanced ones are AI-driven and can interpret visuals, too, they are not always accurate. So, ADA requires you to ensure public accommodations as well.
The best way to help screen readers interpret images or videos is by adding alt text to the images. You can do that by making a few minor changes to the HTML code. The alt text is what you see when you hover your cursor over an image. It also helps improve your website’s SEO rankings to some extent.
Videos require alternative names too. At the same time, you should add captions to your video if it contains meaningful sounds or speech. Currently, people are trying to make these captions more accurate by talking about even the meaningless sounds in the caption. For instance, the caption will read “whispering sounds” despite it not making any sense. However, the viewers must know this when they can’t hear.
Use Precise Call-to-Action Buttons
Websites often try to be creative with their CTA buttons. However, that can harm some people. For ensuring equal opportunity following ADA compliance regulations, the CTA buttons (or any buttons, as a matter of fact) should have precise labels or texts.
So, if a button takes the visitor to a checkout page, it should have the text “Click here for checkout.” The button should read “Click here to submit the form” if it’s a submit button. Precision is crucial. Without it, clarity becomes impossible to achieve in such cases.
Mark Your Content Appropriately
Content markup is vital since it dictates your content’s overall flow or structure. Some of the common content markup rules that follow ADA web content accessibility guidelines are given below.
- Use headings and subheadings in your content.
- Use the H1 tag only once as it dictates more importance.
- Underline links and color them blue. It’s a traditional practice that many of your users might already be accustomed to.
- Bold important words and phrases.
- Ensure sufficient color contrast in your content. Simple patterns are also beneficial.
Avoid Flashing Content
Flashing content can trigger seizures in people with neurological disorders like epilepsy. Flashes can’t be any faster than three times in a second. They should also be below the general flash and red flash thresholds.
Apart from these, you have to fully follow a few other rules and standards to fully adapt to the ADA guidelines. For now, though, knowing and ensuring these will do. However, you should still consider looking into other ways you can make your website more accessible and then adapt them accordingly. Don’t restrict people from using the site just because of their disabilities. Comply with the ADA guidelines to ensure their access.