ADA Compliant Website Design: Tips to Make Your Site Legal and Inclusive

August 5, 2020

When many business owners think about website design, their top priorities are likely functionality and visual appeal. But it’s important to remember that not every consumer interacts with a site in the exact same way. Smartphones and other mobile devices becoming more common, which has propelled the need for responsive web design. However, you might not realize that consumers often use other devices — such as screen readers — to read and understand website content.

 

This brings us to the need for ADA-compliant professional web design. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 49 million Americans (or one in five) live with a disability. It’s not merely enough that your business installs ramps for mobility devices and extra-wide parking spaces. All websites are actually required by law to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act — but you might be surprised by how many sites fall short. In fact, countless organizations have found themselves served with lawsuits for failing to make their websites inclusive and accessible to all.

 

Keep in mind that it’s about more than potential legal issues. If your website can’t easily be accessed by almost 50 million Americans, you’re doing your business a huge disservice. What’s more, the potential fallout in terms of your public perception could be huge. In order to be on the right side of both history and the law, it’s imperative that you work with web designers who understand the importance of ADA compliance. To that end, here are a few tips for website redesign that you should consider if you’ve never thought about ADA compliance in the past or you want to do everything possible to make your site truly accessible.

 

Use Contrast To Your Advantage

Color contrast plays a key role in all types of design, but it’s especially important for ADA compliance. Your website design should feature high color contrast for text, drop-down menus, navigation bars, clickable buttons, links, and other elements to ensure readability for all. You might also consider having your web designers create versions of your site to be used in dark mode on various devices, which can improve your site’s ability to be easily used at any time of day or night.

 

Include Alt Text For Images

 

Your website needs compelling images — but you’ll also need to describe those images accurately. Image “alt text” may sometimes be optimized for SEO purposes, but it’s important to ensure these descriptions truly describe the given image. This allows those who use screen readers and other assistive technology (or those who are otherwise unable to visually perceive an image) to understand what’s being shown. Entering descriptive and optimized alt text for images can help your site in more ways than one, so it’s to your benefit to make this minimal change in both your initial design and with any subsequent pages or posts you add.

 

Don’t Forget Captions For Video Content

 

Online content video views now top 50 billion every month, so it’s clear that many web users enjoy this type of media format. However, it’s important that your videos — including ads, webinars, and social media posts — include captions. Not only will this make your videos accessible to those with hearing disabilities, but it will also allow those without disabilities to consume your content without sound when necessary. Ideally, you should also include a complete transcript of everything in a given piece of video content you use in your posts.

 

Ultimately, these tips serve merely as an introduction to ADA-compliant website design; there are many more elements that should be included. Above all, it’s recommended that you work with professional web designers who can revamp your site with accessibility and inclusivity in mind. For more information on how our web designers can improve the look and functionality of your site, please contact MRN Web Designs today.

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