The American with Disabilities Act ... and Your Website
By: June Bachman ~
4/12/2017 9:00:00 AM
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that requires business to offer the same services to ALL of their customers – regardless of physical limitations. The ADA requires that “places of public accommodation” are accessible to the disabled. Businesses that have a physical facility open to the public (and also fall into the following categories: retail stores, restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers) have an obligation to make the facilities accessible.
This law could also apply to the products and services business offer via the internet. There have been a number of law suits against business websites that are not in ADA compliance. Courts have ruled both ways – that websites should be ADA compliant, as well websites don’t fall under the ADA requirements.
In 2018 the Department of Justice is expected to release accessibility guidelines that will apply to business websites and mobile applications. If you’re considering a major update or rebuild to your website in the near future, you may wish to think about incorporating ADA requirements.
Best Practices for ADA Friendly Websites
- Images (and other non-text content) – Use the image alt and title tags to add a text description of the image/video. Use captions on videos, as well as full transcripts.
- Documents – Use Adobe PDFs – it is a screen reader compliant format. Don’t use scanned documents.
- Fonts – Use font sizes and colors that are universal – avoid specialty fonts.
- Forms – Use labels for each form element to easily identify what content is required in each field. Additionally, use the title=”description” attribute on image based links – such as the submit button.