The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a civil law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. ADA Compliance is an important aspect of website accessibility.

The U.S. Department of Justice published the Standards of Accessible Design in September 2010. These standards stated that all electronic information and online technology be accessible to people with disabilities, including computer hardware program software and documentation.

The ADA differs from Section 508 regulations, which are an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and apply to all information technology, including computer hardware, software and documentation.

The ADA standards apply to commercial and public entities that have “places of public accommodation” which includes the internet. The DOJ is currently determining the specific regulations but that does not mean website discrimination will be tolerated.

Starting January 18, 2018, all technology that falls under Section 508 standards will be required to meet new ADA accessibility standards. Websites fall under Section 508 standards.

Below is a checklist to follow to make sure your website is ADA Compliant.

Text Font Color

Favor bigger fonts for titles, headings, menus, and banners. The font size is relevant for those who have vision impairments such as blurry visions. Design texts that are easy to spot. Do not override browsers’ ability to resize text. The texts should not get lost in the background color because it is difficult to read. Texts that are underlined must be removed. This gives the impression that the text is a link to another page or website.

Audio Video

Audio and video should be captioned, and video should have the ability to be paused.

HTML Formats

This format is easy to interpret for those who are using text-to-speech or similar applications. Avoid PDFs; these documents cannot be read or recognized by optical character recognition devices. Also, check that your website can support keyboard navigation.

Feedback

Make sure to provide the ability for visitors to give feedback in many ways, That way if someone with a disability has a better suggestion, you can try to accommodate.

There are several free tools and platforms you can follow to make sure your websites are following ADA as closely as possible. In addition, Web Accessibility is a program that was developed for people with disabilities. Make sure you familiarize yourself with it.

BUT DO YOU SEE A PROBLEM HERE?

A lot of these standards are not clear. They are subjective, and really are suggestions rather than a set of requirements. Some are clearly written, but some aren’t. So how can this possibly be enforced in a website? Some of these can’t be enforced, and you won’t be penalized, but there are grey areas.

We definitely recommend following ADA compliance as close as possible, but don’t stress out if you can’t decide whether to use a size 13 or 14 font, or your forest green maybe needs to be just a hint darker. I understand that captioning audio and video is helpful for someone with a disability, but background videos that loop should be paused is again, subjective based on the viewer. If the background video is a continuous loop, the viewer has the ability to take time to understand it, and therefore cancels out the reasoning behind the need to pause a video.

So don’t fret if you still have questions after reading ADA requirements.

Here is great resource to follow on your own. https://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap5toolkit.htm

Questions about ADA compliance? We can help! Contact Marquis Media today.