How To Design ADA-Compliant Websites For Your Clients (And Avoid Breaking The Law)

As a web design agency, you have the complete responsibility of building websites for your clients. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you design a non-ADA compliant website?

ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a civil rights law passed in 1990 that ensures people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

In 2018, there were around 2,285 lawsuits filed in the Federal Court related to ADA compliance. The reasons were:

  • Lack of coding that allows the website to be easily accessible by the screen-reader.
  • No use of image alt tag for low vision or blind users.
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  • Difficulty accessing the website using a mobile device.

Both small and large businesses are affected by such lawsuits that results in a hefty fine paid by the business to the claimant.

How Does ADA Affects Your Web Design Business?

Now, you will wonder what difference does this make to your web design company? You aren’t paying the penalty. Right? You’re wrong! Designing a non-ADA compliant website will affect your business in a number of ways:

1- You will lose your existing clients because if any of them face a lawsuit related to ADA then they will move to a company that specializes in building ADA compliant websites. Your web design maintenance contract will be cancelled without the clients thinking twice of their decision.

2- You will stop getting new clients because as more people become aware of the law related to the ADA compliance, they will prefer working with a web design company which designs professional, user-friendly, ADA compliant websites.

3- You will lose your business reputation because if any of your existing clients gets sued due to ADA non-compliance then they will start speaking negatively about your business and your business reputation will be hampered.

4- Your web design services will become a target on social media as people are keener to share negative stories on their social profiles. If any such story goes viral then it can have a drastic impact on your business.

5- If you are designing non-ADA compliant websites then you are breaking the law. You might have to represent your business in the Federal court if any of your clients of claimants sues your company over ADA non-compliance.

The ADA Checklist For Web Design Companies

As a web design agency, you need to follow each and every guideline of the web accessibility standards in order to make your website ADA compliant.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 provides a wide range of recommendations to make web content accessible for all.

In this article, I will list the basic requirements that every web design company should follow in order to keep most of their clients safe from any lawsuits related to web accessibility:

Website Presentation

1- Clear and descriptive text for page titles.

2- All headings should be properly nested.

3- An alternative to color should be used because color alone can’t convey meaning.

4- Clear forms.

5- Identical labels for images and elements.

6- Clean code.

Website Appearance

1- People should be able to zoom up to 200% without affecting the readability.

2- Color contrast ratio of the text should be around 4.5:1.

3- Text links should be easily identifiable.

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4- Layout and navigation should be consistent.

Content Alternatives

1- All images on the site should have descriptive alt text.

2- All videos should have text transcriptions and closed captions.

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3- No images should be used to convey text.

4- Tabular data should be broken up into manageable columns.

5- All extraneous docs must meet the basic accessibility guidelines.

User Control

1- No automatic pop-ups or audio/video.

2- No part of the website should change unexpectedly.

3- Automatic updates should have the option to pause.

4- All important submissions like bank account information should have the option to be reviewed before the final submission.

5- There should be adjustable time limits up to 8x the original limit before the time limit begins.

Website Usability

1- All functions of the website should be keyword accessible.

2- Focus indicator and skip navigation links should be available.

3- A search function should be provided.

4- A working sitemap link should be provided.

5- A default language should be set for the website.

A Faster And Easier Way To Make All Your Client’s Website Accessible

Making all your client’s website accessible at the earliest is not an easy task especially if you have several clients. Besides, any website goes through a lot of updates and every time you update a website, you might break the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. If your clients are making the changes themselves then it becomes even harder to follow those guidelines.

You can’t be doing this manually for each and every client because this will require a lot of work and all your resources would be utilized just to keep the websites ADA compliant.

A faster and efficient way to make all your client websites ADA complaint is by using an automated solution like accessiBe. This AI-powered software performs a full scan of the website architecture and makes it both accessible and ADA compliant automatically.

accessiBe deploys an interface as shown in the below screenshot through which disabled people can adjust the screens based on the data acquired by the AI system.

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It performs a scan every 48 hours so any updates to the website is handled by the system automatically. The artificial intelligence and machine learning technology of accessiBe ensures that a website remains ADA compliant no matter how many updates your clients post to their websites.

Final Words

If you do not want your own web design business or your client’s business to get sued then get started now. Both small and large businesses have been easy targets of ADA non-compliance.

Hence you must take this issue very seriously. Take the complete responsibility to make yours and your client websites ADA complaint. This will help you to earn new referrals and grow your business.

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