I’ve written here on the blog about ADA compliance, also known as 508, and more recently, W.C.A.G 2.2 compliance, or web accessibility. My daughter is blind, and because of that, her online experience often suffers because many websites fail to provide adequate solutions for those with disabilities. Websites are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but only federal funding agencies, such as non-profit organizations, government agencies, public schools, and public colleges and universities, must be compliant. SEO Inc can help with Website Accessibility – ADA Compliance.
It doesn’t take as much effort as you may think to ensure your site is compliant for anyone with a disability. Even if your customers aren’t blind like my daughter, you may have some who suffer from vision issues, which makes your content hard to read. Without proper alt tags, screen readers won’t be able to depict what’s on the screen accurately.
And, of course, vision issues are only one segment of disability that your customers and potential customers may be dealing with. Some have hearing difficulties, motor disabilities, and learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. In another one of my previous posts on the subject, I covered the essential list of things you need to consider in building a 508-compliant website, so today, I’m going to make sure you know how to check your website to see how well you’re meeting compliance.
Using the information you get from the checkers and the list I’ve provided, you should have a good idea of how well you’re meeting the mark and what else, if anything, needs to be done to ensure total compliance.
How do you check your website for ADA compliance? Follow these steps:
Conduct an accessibility audit: Use specialized tools or hire an accessibility professional to assess your website’s compliance with ADA guidelines. This audit will identify any accessibility issues and provide recommendations for improvements.
Evaluate website structure and navigation: Ensure your website has a clear, logical structure with intuitive navigation. Please pay attention to headings, labels, and links, ensuring they accurately describe the content and function they represent.
Check color contrast: Ensure text and other visual elements have sufficient color contrast to ensure readability for individuals with visual impairments. Use tools to evaluate the contrast ratio and make necessary adjustments.
Assess multimedia content: Review multimedia elements such as images, videos, and audio files. Provide alternative text descriptions (alt-text) for images, captions or transcripts for videos, and text-based alternatives for audio content.
Test keyboard accessibility: Verify that users can navigate and interact with your website using only a keyboard. This is crucial for individuals who cannot use a mouse or other pointing device.
Ensure form accessibility: Make sure all form fields have clear labels, error messages, and instructions for completion. Additionally, provide appropriate validation for input fields and consider implementing ARIA attributes to enhance form accessibility.
Verify compatibility with assistive technologies: Test your website’s compatibility with screen readers, screen magnifiers, and other assistive technologies. Ensure that the content is interpreted correctly and accessible through these tools.
Regularly update and maintain accessibility: ADA compliance is an ongoing process. Regularly review and update your website to address any new accessibility issues that may arise.
Remember, ADA compliance is essential to provide equal access to individuals with disabilities. By making your website accessible, you promote inclusivity and enhance the user experience for all visitors. If you need further guidance or expertise, consider consulting with accessibility experts or organizations specializing in ADA compliance.
List of Tools to Check Website Accessibility and Your Site’s ADA Compliance
The following is a list of various tools you can use to evaluate how well your site meets website accessibility standards.
This tool is more than a web accessibility checker. It’s a sitemap generator that checks for website accessibility inventories, audits your content, and tracks keywords daily. Results are shown within visual sitemaps for easy use. Version 20.0 includes the visual accessibility testing that shows issues visually in your browser, covering a variety of guidelines, including WCAG 2.1 — W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, WCAG 2.0 — W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, WCAG 1.0 W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, Section 508, U.S. federal procurement standards, Stanca Act, BITV, Italian accessibility legislation, and German government standards. The program assists by automatically checking groups of pages or sites, including those that are restricted or password-protected, and generating reports of assessment results. Supported formats include CSS, HTML, and XHTML. Plans start at $40/month.
This tool is available through the Bureau of Internet Accessibility. It covers WACG, Section 508, and ADA compliance. Clients are assigned to a dedicated manager who oversees their site to assist with anything the platform generates from their reports. The platform checks individual web pages or groups of pages – with its web-based, online, hosted service. It supports CSS, HTML, XHTML, PDF, SVG, and SMIL formats.
This Chrome Plugin evaluates the accessibility of applications and websites from within the Chrome Developer Tools, and it does it for free, though it only works on Google Chrome. Installing the plugin automatically checks single pages, including password-protected and restricted access pages. It supports HTML and XHTML and covers WCAG 2.0, Section 50, and U.S. federal procurement standards.
This tool checks for compliance with section 508 using 55 tests over 15 guidelines. It also checks for WCAG 1.0 and 2.0 with 87 and 309 tests, respectively. Recently, they added checks for WCAG 2.1 with 312 tests.
Enter your domain name, beginning with either HTTP:// or https://, and the tool will scan your site. Within a few minutes – some scans will take longer depending on the size of your website – you’ll have a full report that shows you the percentage of pages on your site that have issues and breaks down the problems and errors on the first ten pages of your website. For complete reports, you’ll need to purchase the software, but there is a 30-day trial that allows for scanning more than 10,000 pages.
This program is part of an education and outreach effort from the Internet Society Disability and Special Needs Chapter, Cryptzone, and ICDRI. They aim to help people find and fix website accessibility compliance errors and provide feedback. It covers WCAG 2.0, Section 508, and U.S. federal procurement standards and supports HTML, images, and CSS. It’s available for free as an online checker and software.
I take my role as an SEO expert and a disability advocate very seriously, not just for my daughter but for everyone who struggles to access the internet the same way her peers can. I am part of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Group (WCAG) with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). My company joined this reputable organization in 2004 as the first SEO company to do so. I take my accessibility advocacy with me offline, too. If you need assistance with making sure your website is both accessible to those with disabilities and also built with SEO in mind, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team and me here at SEO, Inc.