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5 Best Practices for Website ADA Compliance

5 Best Practices for Website ADA Compliance

November 21, 2019 by Patrick Lane, Web Solutions Manager

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Years ago, when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website compliance started making headlines, I remember wanting to gauge other commercial and government sites’ compliance status.

What I discovered was staggering. Every website I checked had obvious issues, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website – the very agency responsible for ADA compliance – was non-compliant!

Whether or not the government follows its own guidelines, businesses are taking accessibility seriously. For cooperatives, serving members is a priority, and ensuring all have access to information they need is imperative.

But beyond good customer service for those with accessibility issues, businesses are starting to seriously question legal liability of compliance after the recent Supreme Court denial of Domino's petition regarding website accessibility.

So, where do you begin the journey to ensuring your cooperative meets the government’s guidelines? Here are 5 steps that can help you move in the right direction.

  1. Understand the guidelines.
    HHS Section 508 requires that all website content be accessible to people with disabilities.
  2. Audit your site.
    You can scan each of your site pages using a free online tool like the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool. (See example below)
  3. Start updating the errors you find.
    While it may seem like a big task, many of the errors will be easy to fix. 


    The most common issues are:
    a. Alternative text on images is missing
    b. Not enough color contrast between foreground text color and background color
    c. Keyboard access and visual indicators not available
    d. Vague or meaningless link and button text
    e. Text resizing not legible

  4. Create a plan for staying compliant.
    Everyone who updates your website should be aware of best practices to ensure new content meets guidelines.
  5. Set up a schedule to re-scan your website (once a year or more often).
    At Inside Information, we audit the sites we host, and work with our clients to create a plan to address Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Remember that links or embedded digital media such as video or PDFs are a bit more complex and require separate consideration and review for compliance.

ADA compliance is like dieting; it must become a "way of life" to keep you successful. Showing good faith that your organization is working toward compliance is important, and remember that you're not alone! Inside Information is here to help you get started and stay on the right path for website ADA compliance.

Screenshot of using WAVE tool on HHS.gov

There are many accessibility checking tools and services available online. WAVE is being used on www.HHS.gov in the screenshot above. It is also an included service for Inside Information website clients. 


 

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ada.gov   Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act
hhs.gov logo   U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
CNBC logo   Supreme Court hands victory to blind man who sued Domino’s over site accessibility
HHS.gov logo   HHS Section 508 Guidelines
Wave Webaim.org logo   WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
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