Web accessibility has become a critical aspect of website design, and it’s essential for website owners to ensure their website is inclusive and accessible to everyone. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that websites be accessible and usable by people with disabilities, including blindness, hearing loss, mobility impairments, and cognitive disabilities. Here are some steps to make your website ADA compliant:
1. Use Alt Text for Images
Alt text is text that’s used to describe the content of an image, and it’s used by screen readers to provide users with a description of the image. By using alt text, people with visual impairments can understand the context and content of the image. It’s also beneficial for SEO purposes since it provides search engines with a description of your images. Make sure to use descriptive and concise alt text for every image on your website.
2. Use Descriptive Titles and Headings
Titles and headings provide structure and order to your website’s content, making it easier to navigate for people with cognitive disabilities or those who use screen readers. Descriptive headings also help users understand the content of the page and find specific information quickly. Use clear and concise headings that describe the content of the page.
3. Ensure All Forms are Accessible
Forms are an essential part of most websites, and it’s important to ensure they’re accessible to everyone. Use labels and instructions that are clear and easy to understand, and ensure that form fields are actionable with a keyboard. For users who can’t use a mouse, it’s essential to provide the ability to navigate and use the website with just a keyboard.
4. Create Accessible Multimedia Content
Multimedia content like videos and audio files need to be accessible to everyone, including those with hearing impairments. Use captions or transcripts for videos and ensure that audio files are accompanied by a transcript. This is not only essential for ADA compliance but also helps to provide a better user experience for everyone.
5. Ensure Color Contrast is Sufficient
Color contrast is an essential aspect of web design, and it’s important to ensure that the color contrast of your website is sufficient for people with visual impairments. This means ensuring that text color and background color have enough contrast to make it easy to read. Use tools like a color contrast checker to ensure that your website is accessible to everyone.
6. Make Sure Your Website is Keyboard Accessible
Keyboard accessibility is a critical aspect of web accessibility, and it’s essential to ensure that your website can be navigated using only a keyboard. This includes ensuring that all links, buttons, and other interactive elements on your website can be accessed and used with a keyboard.
7. Provide Alternative Text for Links
Alternative text for links provides additional context to users with screen readers, helping them understand the purpose of the link before clicking on it. Use descriptive link text and avoid using generic phrases like “click here.” This will not only help with accessibility but also helps with SEO.
Making your website ADA-compliant is essential for ensuring that everyone can access and use your website, regardless of their abilities. By following these steps, you can make your website more accessible and inclusive to everyone. Additionally, it’s important to schedule regular audits with your local web designer to ensure that your website remains ADA-compliant over time. Know that it takes ongoing work to keep your website accessible and useful to everyone, but it’s a small price to pay to make sure that we’re all included online.