The Basics about ADA Compliance for your Website
Instead of any regulatory guidance, business owners should look to the regulations that govern federal agencies’ websites and related case law to gain an understanding of what compliance might be.
“There is no regulatory guidance on this issue – yet – for commercial entities according to law experts. There are no regulations or statutes that define ‘ADA compliance’ as to websites. There are some requirements for federal websites, as well as some detailed legal decisions that can be used as guidance, including opinions that have held that ‘reasonable’ accessibility is key.
Here are some common ways businesses can address accessibility issues associated with their web content:
- Create alt tags for all images, videos and audio files. Alt tags allow users with disabilities to read or hear alternative descriptions of content they might not otherwise be able to view. Alt tags describe the object itself and, generally, the purpose it serves on the site.
- Create text transcripts for video and audio content. Text transcripts help hearing-impaired users understand content that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.
- Identify the site’s language in the header code. Making it clear what language the site should be read in helps users who utilize text readers. Text readers can identify those codes and function accordingly.
- Offer alternatives and suggestions when users encounter input errors. If a user with a disability is encountering input errors because of their need to navigate the website differently, your site should automatically offer recommendations as to how visitors can better navigate to the content they need.
- Create a consistent, organized layout. Menus, links and buttons should be organized in such a way that they are clearly delineated from one another, and are easily navigated throughout the entire site.
There are other ways businesses can create an accessible website for users with disabilities. Consulting with an attorney who specializes in disability law is a must for businesses concerned about ADA compliance, but if you’re looking for a place to get started on your own, reading the ADA requirements is an important first step.
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