“Presentation is everything,” as the old saying goes. Having great information for your website is a good start, but making sure it’s presented in an appealing manner will determine whether or not people remain around. Unfortunately, while adopting a design change or launching a whole new site, far too many organizations and brands overlook the needs of disabled customers. Because the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is increasingly being seen as applicable to websites and mobile apps, this can be costly.
What’s the end result? When disabled customers are unable to properly use a website, celebrities like Beyoncé and huge firms like Domino’s are being sued. Domino’s especially has faced negative press.
Even if there are no lawsuits, failing to prioritize web accessibility could cost your company a lot of money. According to the 2019 Click-Away Pound Survey, 69 percent of disabled people “‘click away from a site with [access] hurdles.” Despite this, only 8% of users contact site owners to report issues. This means that a site that isn’t ADA compatible could be losing money without you even realizing it. As a result, few things are more vital than ensuring that persons with visual, auditory, mobility, and other limitations have their needs met.
Start With the Basics
According to accessiBe’s analysis of 10,000,000 online pages, the great majority of compliance difficulties are caused by seemingly basic web design features. Noncompliant menus were found on 98 percent of websites, and 83 percent did not have accessible buttons, while 89 percent had noncompliant popups.
What caused the accessibility issues in the first place? The lack to provide alternative methods of navigating around these frequent design components caused the bulk of noncompliance issues.
Sites should, for example, allow users to traverse the menu bar using keyboard arrows, access dropdown menus using the enter key, and go to the next element using the tab key. A motor-impaired user could squander several minutes if all of these functions are not implemented.
When content or activities are exposed to a timer, a problem arises, which is especially common during the checkout process. Allowing consumers to switch off, prolong, or change timers will prevent them from being thrown out of a session before completing their transaction.
With popups, such navigation challenges might become even more difficult. If a user is unable to close the popup by pressing the escape key, they may be unable to exit it at all. Alternative ways must be considered, from voice-friendly search to keyboard-only navigation.
Provide Alternative Content-Delivery Methods
The delivery of your material is another major web-compliance challenge. Do you include alt text for your photographs so that someone using a screen reader can still understand what the picture is saying? Is it possible to get text transcripts for video or audio-only content? Do you have closed captioning on your videos?
As your website’s content offerings develop in order to extend its audience, you’ll need to make sure that each new piece of material is available to everyone. And it won’t take nearly as much time as you think. If your website publishes an infographic, for example, ADA compliance would necessitate providing the complete text version of the infographic below the image. The text will most likely have already been created in a separate file as part of the infographic creation process, so all you have to do now is paste it at the bottom of the page.
The use of suitable HTML or tagging in each component of the site is not enough for an ADA-compliant presentation. Keep in mind that not everyone who might have difficulty reading your website will be utilizing a screen reader.
The text and background of the website, for example, must have sufficient color contrast. To transmit information, color alone is insufficient. When users zoom in, the font should be in an easy-to-read type that remains legible. A succession of flashes on a website should be avoided since they may cause a seizure or other severe physical reaction.
Regardless of the page someone views, the overall site layout, particularly navigational components, should remain consistent. Users should always know what information is requested by clearly labeling form fields. Everyone who views your page, not just those with impairments, will benefit from a well-designed, integrated site.
Don’t Make ADA Compliance an Afterthought
This is only a brief summary; for a thorough understanding of how to improve your site, I strongly advise reading the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from the Web Accessibility Initiative.
While the ADA’s implementation in the digital world is still up for debate, site owners should make it a priority to incorporate it into their designs from the beginning. You can better serve your customers and protect yourself from any legal liability by improving the online experience for everyone.