In the first part of this blog series, we detailed why home improvement firms should ensure their websites are ADA-compliant. In this post, we’ll look at what that actually means.
What Are the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines?
The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t actually spell out how to ensure your website is compliant. In fact, as we discussed last week, the ADA doesn’t even mention websites. To understand how to create a compliant home improvement website that helps keep you out of court, you must turn to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
The WCAG is an evolving ruleset that lays out how you can ensure your website is accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines are updated periodically because technology changes constantly.
Some Basics From the WCAG
The guidelines are currently broken into four major categories: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Here are a few of the major points under each of these categories:
- People with disabilities must be able to perceive the information on the site. That can necessitate, for example, offering text alternatives for non-text content, such as captions for images in your gallery of windows or on how-to videos, and choosing colors appropriately to ensure images and other content are distinguishable.
- Functions and navigation must be accessible with keyboard commands and not rely solely on mouse clicks, and transitions between various functions must give people enough time for alternative operations. Ultimately, this means someone is able to navigate your site using only keystrokes.
- Language should be natural, with unusual words made clear with definitions or in context. Sites should support machine reading and programmatic language tools, and functionality should come with text labels that can be converted into auditory instructions.
- User interface elements, such as elements of forms or embedded links, should support programmatic determination for use in assistive technologies.
That’s just a tiny look into WCAG requirements. You can find the entire document, as well as more information on meeting the requirements, at W3.org.
Next week we’ll cover three ways you can determine if your website is ADA-compliant or find compliance issues to correct.