January 28, 2015
Making Your Website Accessible to People with Disabilities
Website accessibility is something we at Lakenetwork are watching and learning more about. We’ve only done one ADA compliant website as it was required for a government project we worked on. Our own website is not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Websites and documents that are developed for the federal government must be compliant. This makes it easier, for instance, for blind people to use screen readers that read the content of website pages to them.
The government has Section 508 guidelines that require websites, web applications, plugins, documents and enewsletters to be compliant.
What does this mean for you?
Your small business’s or organization’s website does not have to be compliant, at least not yet. But you may benefit by expanding your market to include people who need screen reading technology if they have impaired vision or have a specific learning disability.
Beyond serving people with disabilities, “universal design” can be beneficial for other populations. Examples include people with slow modems who turn graphics off, people who access the Web while driving a car, and doctors accessing the Web mid-surgery.
Some key items to check
- Ask your website designer to develop the infrastructure for your website such that at least the theme of the website is ADA-compliant.
- When you add pictures to the website, make sure you specify alt tags and long descriptions.
- When you embed videos on your website, they must be captioned and have audio and text transcripts.
- Even documents can be developed to comply.
- More checklist items
Some third-party themes and plugins may not be compliant. So, if you are looking to become fully compliant, your developer may have to test those themes and plugins and you may be limited in what you can use. Research, testing and coding for compliance can introduce much extra cost to create the site.
ADA testing tools tend to be very strict and it may not be economically possible to achieve everything. But if your goal is to generally improve your site to make it accessible without having to jump through all the hoops, then the testing tools can be just general tools to help you understand what you may want to fix.
Lakenetwork is a family-owned business providing website design and development for companies, professionals and organizations in the Cleveland, Ohio area and beyond. We specialize in providing the most cost-effective and appropriate solutions for clients’ online needs. We are located in Eastlake, Ohio.