The image given below might not make sense to many people. People with color blindness will not be able to see the number ‘74’ hidden in the picture.
Now think of a website or a mobile application that a person with such a condition needs to access. What if the website has contrasting colors or small-size fonts with no option to enlarge them? In such cases, many people suffering with vision impairment couldn’t access it. Hence, accessibility should be a crucial aspect to consider when designing a website or a mobile application.
Digital accessibility refers to the usability of a website, mobile app, or any digital means by all possible users. Accessibility is a spectrum. Users have various needs and preferences that can help them navigate the digital space with ease. Web accessibility encompasses various disabilities like:
It is essential to cater to all your users to gain maximum value out of your website or app and further grow your business. Also, having an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliant accessible website is a high priority. Let’s explore the aspects of ADA compliant website design to understand the accessibility space better.
Pillars of accessibility
According to WCAG, there are four essential pillars of accessibility that need to be addressed to make your content usable for a larger audience. Let’s see the establishment of these pillars.
This aspect of WCAG deals with the non-textual content like layouts, foreground, background, etc.
This factor emphasizes on keyboard accessibility, color contrast, navigation, etc.
This component encapsules textual accessibility.
The aim of the last constituent is to maximize the usage of compatible and assistive technologies.
Understanding the score categories for website accessibility – A, AA and AAA
|Minimum accessibility standards||Acceptable accessibility||The highest level of accessibility|
|Websites that fall under this category have digital content that allows users to navigate easily using the keyboard. It also means that the videos have captions or subtitles.||When criteria like color contrast, alternative text for images, ease of navigation and clear headings are met, a website is scored as AA. This, ideally, should be practiced by all the website designers and developers.||A website is scored AAA if the color contrast is black and white, it uses sign language for all the videos, orders/shopping cart never get timed out and tooltips are provided whenever required.|
How to check your website accessibility and meet WCAG or ADA Standards
Accessing your website to check if the current design complies with the WCAG or ADA guidelines is the first step you should consider. There are several online tools available to test your website accessibility score. Conducting usability testing with a broad spectrum of users is another essential step to be implemented. With proper design principles like font size, contrast, captions, scalability, etc., you can ensure that your digital content is accessible.
Ask questions that give you a clear picture of which areas of your website or mobile application require modifications.
- Is it keyboard accessible?
- Are there digital breadcrumbs for users to easily retrace back to previous web pages?
- Is navigation consistent throughout the website/app?
- Are there clear instructions throughout the site?
- Can your content be interpreted by assistive technologies?
Answers to such questions will allow you to understand your requirements clearly. You can also consult a website development or mobile app development company to further assist you in making your content accessible to a wider audience.
Some of the most accessible websites:
The most accessible websites with an AAA score are the National Institute of Health (NIH), The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the UK government website. LinkedIn is the most accessible social media platform. Amazon Prime Video aces in the category of entertainment site, Amazon stands out when talking about the most accessible e-commerce website. Gmail has scored the highest in the email provider segment.
Benefits of creating an ADA compliant website
Make your website accessible to a greater audience
The U. S. Census Bureau suggests that almost 1 in 5 people have some disability. It is clear from the statistics that developing web content that is all-inclusive will only benefit you to gain more users and tractions.
Improve your SEO efforts/Google ranking
Making your digital content accessible will allow the search engines to easily look for it. It will appeal to users, search engines and screen readers alike. This ultimately improves your SEO efforts.
Gain better website usability
Creating a more operable and navigable website or mobile app give people with disability an ease of access. When the content is easy to find, you are more likely to convert more leads.
More than a dozen brands have been hit with significant lawsuits in the past couple of years. Companies including Dominos, Netflix, Nike, Fox New Network and more have been involved in litigation. It is better to adhere to the ADA compliance than face the consequences.
Reach out to a vast userbase by adhering to WCAG and ADA guidelines
To gain the benefits of ADA compliant website, companies should design a navigable and a simple user experience for people with disabilities. Though it is not a necessity to comply with such standards, expanding the presence of your content to a greater audience will give you a competitive edge. You can showcase your products and services to a wider set of users.
If you are looking to redesign your website, create a new website or develop a mobile application, Softweb Solutions can help you with end-to-end solutions. From online testing to manual tests to drafting a roadmap, designing and deploying, our UX experts enable you to create ADA compliant digital content.