I provide ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) website compliance for single, double and triple A (A, AA, AAA).
To ensure your site meets the necessary standards I work with an ADA consultant. This is important because the consultant not only has access to the tools necessary (a screen reader being the main one), but also does ADA web evaluations full time.
Is ADA Compliance Mandatory?
At the moment, technically, no, but many companies have been sued in the last few years over this issue. I’m assuming at some point in the future it is going to be the law of the land for websites.
Depending on the website, making it ADA compliant can be very complicated and time-consuming for a web programmer. Most of what makes a site compliant is not anything a typical user will ever see. There are visual compliance issues with regard to color contrast and typographical sizing. These are easy fixes.
And then there are lots of unseen things that many sites that purport to be compliant do not do: using aria attributes when appropriate, making sure users can use only the keyboard to navigate your site if they need to, alerting users to hidden elements and more.
Is it Expensive?
It can be. If you’re trying to keep your current site, depending on how it’s coded, it can get into thousands of dollars. Many sites are animation heavy: sliders and faders, content popping into and out of view, parallax background images and more. These can all be made ADA compliant, but it takes time. If your site is coded badly, even the simple things will need to be changed.
Currently, I’m advising my clients to stay away from animations and sliders. On the sliders, there is research that show users often ignore them anyway. If you do want a slider you should provide a play and pause button.
What Should I Do?
Here comes the sales pitch. Just thought I’d warn you.
If your site is older or not coded well, I’d just go with a new site or theme. I’d keep it simple. Sites can look great without animations and ultimately, I think it’s a better experience. Of course, it does depend on your site and what you’re trying to accomplish. There might be a case where your site should have lots of animations, but for most sites I don’t think this is necessary.
My WordPress theme comes out-of-the-box ADA compliant. I can take any design and implement it into this theme. A good starting point will save you lots of money. At the end of the process, I’ll bring in an ADA consultant to double check the site for new things we may have added to your theme and catch anything I may have missed.
ADA is an ongoing process. It’s always good to keep checking your site for possible issues, particularly when you’re using a system like WordPress as plugins are often not ADA compliant.