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How ADA Accessibility Works in Website Design

You’re likely used to seeing common aspects of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance in public places, like ramps for wheelchair mobility, signs that include Braille for tactile reading, reserved parking spots, and audible pedestrian signals at crosswalks. The law is intended to protect people with disabilities from discrimination and remove barriers that negatively impact daily living.

According to the most recent census reports, there are at least 44 million Americans with some form of functional disability. 44 million individuals with limited vision, hearing, cognitive or physical ability who need to access, navigate and understand information online.

What do they experience when they interact with your website?

Put simply, accessibility is formatting a website so that anyone who is able-bodied or disabled can equally understand and navigate the content, as well as fully interact with all of its features.

People with disabilities often have assistive technologies that can help them interact with information online, but a website and its content still need to be optimized in a variety of technical ways to make that possible.

La Mejor Website graphic text that says, "One of the key objectives of the guidelines is to ensure that content is directly accessible to as many people as possible, and capable of being re-presented in different forms to match different peoples' sensory, physical, and cognitive abilities."

What actually makes a website compliant?

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 is the technical standard that applies to the creation and design of websites and is part of ADA Accessibility.

WCAG 2 outlines specific guidelines and success criteria that help authors and designers understand what framework to follow. At La Mejor Website, we use a variety of web builder platforms and generally prefer Wix for most of our clients. Wix happens to have a dynamic set of back-end accessibility features and prompts available in the editor, but it’s just a start. When we perform an accessibility service, there are a variety of accommodations to be considered, and most tasks are performed manually.

This isn’t even close to being an exhaustive list, but it can help you to start thinking about the kind of user experience people are having when they use your site.

Visual Accommodation:

  • Increased text size for higher visibility

  • High color contrasts to more easily distinguish text and images

  • Use of text to describe photographs or other image types to assistive technologies, like screen readers

Auditory Accommodation:

  • Closed captioning or transcripts for videos

  • Offer a variety of contact methods other than calling

Limited Motor-Function Accommodation:

  • Enable keyboard navigation (tab, space bar, and arrows can navigate interactive elements instead of by mouse)

  • Minimize the number of clicks needed to move through the website

  • Add a search field to content-heavy sites

Cognitive Accommodation:

  • Consistent layout for each page

  • Clear site structure overall

Neurological Accommodation:

  • Reduce speed of animations

  • Allow user to initiate play of videos or any movement that could be triggering

Speech Accommodation:

  • Provide a variety of contact methods, like a contact form, email and chat

Every element of a site and how a user moves through the site structure has to be considered and made as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.

Clear wins every single day.

Easy site structure, concisely written content, and having options for how users interact with a company are what everybody wants. It’s extremely possible to have a visually attractive website design that allows all users to have a great experience.

We shared before that Google loves and gives high priority to sites that offer a healthy user experience, and websites that are designed with accessibility accommodations also tend to hit more of the markers that Google’s algorithms use to rank sites well in Search results.

There are free accessibility checkers that evaluate your website, but you may see requirements you’re missing and don’t know how to adjust elements of your site structure to meet them. Let us check it for you, as well as see how you’re ranking with Google overall. We’re experienced in many web builder platforms, especially in Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace.

Take the pulse of your website and contact us for a free analysis and consultation. We will make an honest recommendation based on 15 years of experience.

Need more social proof? Check out one of our 150+ Five-Star Google reviews.

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