Most people haven’t even heard about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance, so why is it becoming such an important issue to web developers? To sum it up, ADA Compliance covers all of the various web issues people with disabilities deal with. These issues range from unreadable text to distracting, moving images. As the internet continues to grow and reach new milestones, it is important that everyone, whether they have a disability or not, can use the internet for all it has to offer.
HOW CAN WEB CONTENT ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES HELP?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provide just the beginning of where websites should start to become more accessible to everyone. The WCAG covers four main standards that websites should meet:
1. All websites should be perceivable, meaning that all text on the site should have features that meet the needs of many disabilities. For example, text should have a speech option for those who are blind, or simpler language for those who are autistic or have ADHD.
2. Websites should be operable. Being operable can be achieved in many ways: providing complete website functionality from a keyboard, being cautious of media that may cause seizures, and providing website navigation help.
3. Websites also need to be understandable. Providing content that is difficult to read, clustered, or out of order makes it very difficult for someone suffering from a disability to navigate through the website with ease.
4. Web developers should be able to make their websites compatible with user agents that help people use the internet. In this case, websites should be kept up to date on compatibility with helpful software programs that are already in place, and be looking out for software that may come out in the future.
Following these four basic guidelines is a start for a website to becoming more user-friendly.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE SPECIFICS…
Based on the specific disability, there are simple changes web developers can make to ensure navigating the site is easier for people who may have a harder time.
Web developers must be more sensitive to the fact that the internet is a tool used by everyone. Therefore, it is important to look at a few of the most debilitating disabilities when it comes to internet usage.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): When someone suffers from ADHD, it is a constant issue for them to keep their attention in one place. With this in mind, it is important for websites to have minimal distracting moving images or text. Another important issue to keep in mind that having too much text too close together can distract someone and prohibit them from keeping their mind focused on one piece of information at a time.
Autism: It is very common for people with autism to experience sensory overload. This means, if an autistic person is visiting a webpage, it is important that that webpage is not bombarded with “glitzy” mouse effects, too many sounds, and auto play on media. Graphics and special effects add excitement to websites, but having too many can prevent someone with autism from visiting a site.
Vision Impairments: From the American Foundation for the Blind, “23.7 million American adults age 18 and older reported experience [some sort] of vision loss”. Web developers must take account for those who are fully blind, partially blind, color blind, and all other vision challenges. Having too small text, colors that don’t contrast well, and symbols and actions focused solely on color is an extreme disadvantage to the website. To provide an example, if someone is color blind, they cannot rely on colors to tell them if a function on their phone or website is turned on or off using red and green.
Hearing Impairments: The simplest change that can be made to a website is providing captions to media that requires sound. It’s hard to imagine not being able to watch a YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram video without hearing the sound, but on these specific websites there are either no closed captions available or the script is very off.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
All it really takes for a web developer to make a more ADA Compliant page is common sense, a little bit of research, and the desire to help make the World Wide Web a better place for everyone. Companies that have ADA Compliant websites are showing people they care about their customers through proving they have the desire to make their website more inclusive. As the internet continues to grow and be a more social place, the pressure is being put on websites to figure out how they can change and expand to fit the needs of people who have trouble navigating the internet.
IT MATTERS TO US
We believe being trailblazers means more than flashy new technology. That’s why our software follows the ADA compliance guides. The Jura® Platform and other solutions have been adapted to ensure that our software works for as many users as possible. Find out more on how Jura® works with users from all backgrounds here Get Jura.
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