ADA Compliance in 2020
You may be wondering why I’m writing about ADA Compliance for WordPress websites again. Well, the short answer is it’s ever-changing, and things that I discussed even 6 months ago could now have fallen out compliance. Standards are constantly improving upon their previous versions, and you and your website need to keep up.
What is ADA Compliance?
What am I talking about when I’m discussing whether a website is ADA compliant? ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, is what ensures businesses have those blue-edged spots in their parking lots and wheelchair ramps alongside staircases. ADA strives to provide the same quality of living for disabled persons as any non-disabled person may enjoy.
There is no specific criteria which one can use to ensure that their site is ADA Compliant, but we do have standards in the form of WCAG Compliance and 508 Standards. The documentation is rather dense, and to digest the contents would likely require the help of a disability attorney. Luckily, many of the items have been broken down in the form of the A, B, C Checklist and P.O.U.R. Standards.
Who Needs to Comply with ADA?
I wrote my previous blog almost entirely on that topic. Check it out here.
What Can I Do to Become Compliant?
Being compliant is making a good faith effort towards accessibility on your website. Carefully crafting your website with accessibility in mind is the best thing you can do, and oftentimes this does more than just reckon with ADA:
Compliance comes when good design standards are implemented, and good design standards lead to a world of benefit for you and your website. Good design will breed better SEO, which in turn increases your web visibility and presence. It turns out that many of the things you’re doing to help make your site accessible (like adding alt text) actually make it easier for SEO Spiders to crawl. This, in turn, will lead more people to your website. Depending on the nature of your website, this could mean more customers, more donations, more members, or simply more curiosity surrounding your brand. You can’t lose!
There are also a whole slew of plugins available that promise you ADA Compliance. Truth is, most of this will still require some work on your end to actually have some semblance of compliance. Some of the free plugins like WordPress Accessability Helper (WAH) can be very powerful and add to the user experience if your design is done with accessibility in mind from the get-go. Some plugins are paid, and depending on the size of your website or company you may think about using one of these or working with a design agency like Roundpeg to get what needs to done.
Know that it’s not so much obtaining compliance that is the hard part, but rather keeping compliant with the ever-changing standards that is difficult. ADA is changing to improve and adapt to new technologies and the way humans are living and consuming things on the internet. As long as the web is modernizing, so too will ADA standards.
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