Designing and building websites that are easy to use, easy to understand and helpful to every visitor is something that every web professional strives for. We’ve never heard of anyone selling web services by saying “this website is going to be confusing.” So, as the industry is striving towards ease of use, the next logical step would be to ensure that websites you build are accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities. This is not only the right thing to do from a human perspective but an important task from a liability perspective as well.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) governs the rights that persons with disabilities have and prohibits disability-based discrimination for places of public accommodation. Such places include not only government buildings but also private businesses that are open to the public such as restaurants, hotels, movie theaters or museums. While the ADA does not speak specifically of websites since it was written at the dawn of the internet, it is becoming increasingly clear that business websites are places of public accommodation. In fact, last year, there were a total of 2,285 lawsuits alleging that certain websites are not ADA compliant. As a web professional, it is now crucial that you consider accessibility in your work and strive to provide ADA compliant websites to your clients because if your client gets sued for lack of compliance, you will probably be on the chopping block as well.
The ADA itself does not provide any guidelines as to how to make a website compliant. We created this list of resources to help you get your feet wet into designing and developing websites that are accessible to all.
- Web Accessibility Initiative – the holy grail of website accessibility resources. This organization provides clear guidelines and tips on how to implement those guidelines, has an Accessibility Statement generator and states how websites can be tested for accessibility compliance.
- The Admin Bar Podcast – interview with Heather Gray on website accessibility. Heather is a freelance website designer and developer who specializes in creating websites that are accessible to people with disabilities. This podcast provides some excellent tips for web designers, developers and agency owners on complying with the ADA.
- The Penn State Accessibility Checklist – a checklist that ensures web accessibility that you could incorporate into your design and development process.
- Free tools for testing for accessibility – includes a color contrast checker to ensure that your text is visible to persons with visual disabilities, a page tester, and a color picker.
- Github’s Accessibility Guide – tips, tricks and other guidelines to aid you in making the website accessible.
While it may be difficult to know where ADA compliance is going next, there is one thing we know for sure: making websites that are accessible to everyone is the best course of action. We hope that this resource list has been helpful!
Protect yo’ self,