Understanding ADA Compliance for Websites | Wave Interactive

What is ADA? The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) first passed in 1990 as the counter part to the Civil Rights Act as a way to protect those with disabilities. Over the years, amendments to the act where passed in 2008 that increased the wording of the act in order to clarify and broaden the meaning of a disability. Despite these new adjustments, there is currently no law mandating ADA compliance for websites. Instead, all precedents regarding compliance has come from a variety of lawsuits from across the nation. In fact, the number of cases are on the rise, with over 10,000 lawsuits filed in 2018 alone.

ADA compliance stats:

  • The first major win for ADA Compliance for websites came from a ruling against Winn-Dixie Supermarkets in 2017
  • Most lawsuits settled for between $2,000 and $20,000
  • At the start of 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that websites and mobiles apps are indeed covered be ADA
  • Most courts look to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for compliance standards

Creating an Audit Process

The first step in ensuring that your site is ADA compliant is by creating an audit process for your site. In order to do this effectively, it is best to create a checklist, identify the pages that needs to be audited (this can be new pages just created or old pages that need updated), the actual audit, and then finally documenting any key issues.

Tools to help with auditing:

  • Automated Tools. Tools that can check for issues that can be programmatically determined.
  • Browser Developer Tools. Useful for seeing code details and how the screen looks at different sizes.
  • Screen Readers. Helpful in determining that even if something is pragmatically correct and makes logical sense.
  • Manual Checking. Manually checking based on the checklist you create.
  • Wave Inspection Tool (WebAIM). A free tool that can be used through a chrome extension to check programmatic ADA issues.
  • Color Contrast Analyzer. Used to determine if the colors on your site is compliant.

Compliance Techniques

So, what main areas do you need to focus on when it comes to ADA compliance? It’s important to know where your attention needs to be to best audit your site as thoroughly as possible. Your checklist we mentioned before should cover the basics, however, it can still be difficult to understand where to look to even find the issues that will need fixing. Below are main aspects you should be looking for.

Main compliance areas:

  • Semantic markup
  • Color and color contrast
  • Tab order and navigation
  • Labels and errors
  • Images
  • Pointer gestures

To ensure that your site is in compliance don’t beat around the bush, contact Wave Interactive to ensure that your site is up to par with the ADA and works it’s best for your audience.