5 Small Ways to Make Your Site ADA Compliant

As experts in marketing communications, we work closely with our clients to develop messages, content, and “technical” copy that is compliant within their respective industries. However, building an ADA-compliant website is another beast altogether.

Although compliant websites are not mandated by most industries, and there are not any hard and fast rules or guidelines for building compliant sites, there is a spectrum of compliance that every company should consider when designing their site.

On one end of the spectrum, every consumer touch point needs to be regulated to be completely compliant for reading, hearing and physically impaired visitors. On the other end of the spectrum, providing the ability to select a preferred type size is one small step toward a reader-friendly site.

So, it may seem intimidating to create an ADA-compliant website; and we agree, there’s a lot that goes into knowing and building a compliant site. The good news is, there are some small steps you can take today to move your site forward on the compliance spectrum, and create a more user-friendly experience in the meantime.

1. Add an accessibility page. At minimum, your website should have a place that users can easily find information, including your stance and commitment to adhering to ADA policies or services and TTY/TTD phone numbers.

2. Make sure images use alt text tags. So that screen readers are able to properly scan a page, all images should include alt text on them, with the intention of clearly expressing the message you’d like the image to convey.

3. Give all pages accurate and relevant titles. In the past, page titles (often called meta titles), were used to add extra keywords on pages in hopes of boosting SEO. Today, page titles have to be appropriate to the content and must clearly describe the kind of information a viewer can expect to find on that page.

4. Provide documents in text-based formats. Text-based formats include HTML or Rich Text Format (RTF), and work better with assistive readers. If you provide any type of downloadable document, like a guide, article or application, it’s recommended that you provide it in both PDF and text-based formats

5. Limit or remove blinking, flashing and/or moving elements. These kinds of features can be distracting and harmful to those with certain disabilities. Keep unneeded flashiness/embellishments to a minimum. However, if it’s a necessary element, be sure there’s an option to stop or pause the movement.

Bonus: you don’t need to be a developer or website wiz to make these changes. They are basic fixes you can apply through any content management system. Plus, in addition to helping make your website more compliant, many of these tips are what we consider website best practices. So even if you’re not required by law to build an “ADA-friendly” site, it is our professional recommendation that you begin taking baby steps toward being more compliant than you may be today.