As more and more people grow dependent on the internet for work, personal needs, and leisure, it is becoming ever more important for websites to be easily accessible. A large component of this is ensuring a site is compliant with the guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disability Act. Making a website conform to ADA guidelines can be involved, but the increased accessibility is well worth the effort. Depending on the size of the company running the site, accessibility for the blind and deaf with voice navigation and other compliant functions is required.
Such compliance efforts pose quite the challenge, and, unfortunately, the legislation on the matter is somewhat unclear as to what is considered suitably compliant. Fortunately, there is help through the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines demonstrate how to make compliant content. One example of such material is making sure the site’s content is easy to perceive. Audio assistant technology is an excellent example of such compliance. Easy navigation for the site is also essential. Keyboard interfaces, such as those for the blind, is another example. The website should also be easy to understand. Utilizing input assistance and content readability helps with such efforts.
Perhaps the most difficult, yet possibly most important, the site should be compatible with multiple user assistive devices and interfaces. This compatibility is especially important since it doesn’t matter how compliant a website is if it cannot be accessed or used. An IT expert is essential to ensure compliance. Since the rules are unclear, the reliance on other guidelines tends to create a copycat effect. This effect does have the benefit of creating consistency amongst compliant sites. For example, the use of alt tags for images, audio files, and videos is an easy adjustment. Another easy compliance trick is the use of transcripts. A consistent and orderly layout is also a good idea and is generally useful for easy website navigation for everyone.
Creating an easily accessible and compliant site that abides by ADA guidelines can be a lot of work and is sometimes required. Though it needs to be handled by IT experts, the benefits are well worth the time and money, ensuring a proper layout. The ability to make a website accessible for a wider audience means more viewers and readers, which means a more significant base for the site and its affiliates. In the modern world, compliance and fighting ableism aren’t just about following guidelines. It’s about supporting fellow humans.
A long time computer enthusiast – going back to the early 80’s learning COBOL while still in high school. He happily spends his days in front of three computer screens looking at website analytics and figuring out how to get sites to rank even higher.