ADA Compliance On Your Government Website
The American Disabilities Act (ADA) enforces handicapped and disabled individuals’ right to appropriate accommodation such as braille lettering on signs or handicap parking spaces. ADA compliance is mandatory for physical locations, but what about ADA Website Compliance?
While there are currently no official guidelines for ADA website compliance, lawsuits have been filed against website owners for inadequate accommodation. Such was the case when Scribd settled a lawsuit filed by the National Federation of the Blind. There are several things that you can do to make sure that your government website is accommodating to those with different abilities.
How to make your website more accessible
Fonts – Font size, type, and color are important details that make a difference to those with impaired vision. Make sure that contrast is high. If you want to go the extra mile, you can install an accessibility toolbar that can change font size and contrast.
Images – Most images should have alt tags. Screen readers cannot read images; they rely on alt text to describe the images that you are using to enhance the content on your site.
Headings – Organize your content in a way that makes sense to a screen reader. H1 tags should denote page titles. H2, H3, H4 tags should be used as sub headings. Do not use H-tags for paragraph text.
Tables – Avoid using tables where you can. Tables can be difficult for screen readers to understand. If you need to use a table, make sure you use appropriate headers to help users understand the data.
Links – Use descriptive text instead of generic text for links. “Click here” is less descriptive than “more information on ADA compliance“.
Forms – Make sure that each field in a form is appropriately labeled.
PDFs – Government websites often include a large number of PDF documents (meeting minutes, forms, ordinances, permits, etc.). It is important that these PDFs are accessible. Make sure they are not images. Remember, screen readers cannot read images. Therefore, saving the PDF properly is an important element of an accessible website.
Accessibility Statement – Make sure that your users know that you are trying, that you care about their ability to view your website, and that you will make necessary changes if they contact you. A website accessibility statement states your intentions up front and lets users know to contact you if any part of your site in not accessible.
W3C provides an extensive list of guidelines on creating an accessible website. The ADA website also provides tips on making your website more accessible to all users. If you have questions about how to make your government website more accessible, please feel free to contact us via the form below.