Americans with Disabilities Act Recommendations for Updating Your Website September 18, 2018 By Jackie Katz The Americans with Disabilities Act was introduced in 1990 as a civil rights law to prohibit discrimination of citizens with disabilities. The evolution of this act now extends to the internet and for a good reason; accommodating your website for people with disabilities makes it easier to access and understand. Here are a few recommendations we have for updating your website around this idea. What Is Web Accessibility? Similar to how a wheelchair-bound individual finds it challenging to enter a building with stairs as the only means of entrance, websites can be difficult to interpret without specific components. Web accessibility is the general readability and interpretation quality for users with audible and visual impairments to be able to understand the information of the website. Government, Business, and Non-Profit organizations are all required by the ADA to maintain strict compliance across platforms, so what does this mean for your website? Recommendations Provide a text equivalent to important images and graphics. Screen readers can convey meaning without being obtrusive to the overall web experience. Documents should be made available in formats other than PDF. Although they look great, screen readers have a hard time deciphering PDF content; when uploading these documents – pair them with a plain-text version. Check the font style and text color for readability. Low contrast against plain color and image backgrounds makes reading challenging and is unsightly in general. For multimedia, ensure captions and audio descriptions are made available for people with hearing problems. Descriptive audio also accommodates for users with low vision. Use Descriptive HTML tags so online forms can be accurately used. This simple behind the scenes work makes a huge difference for people with disabilities. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list, rather these are common items we have observed that can be easily updated. Why Should I Update ADA compliance should be taken seriously. Once it is mandated, your website will need to be made compliant. ADA compliance for websites is beginning for banks and other financial institutions and then will be moving to medical and other businesses. Contact OMA Comp to learn more.