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ADA Website Compliance

As a Wix Website Designer, I work with clients to make their websites more accessible. There are many ways to ensure your website is ADA compliant, whether on Wix or any other platform such as Wordpress, Shopify, Squarespace, etc. Here are my top tips for making sure your website has ADA Compliance:


  1. Design for all Devices Make sure the website works well across all devices (computers, tablets, phones)

  2. Good Navigation and Usability Make sure your website is easy to navigate. Have clear, large-enough-to-read menus, include your contact information in the upper right, use boxes/buttons or slides to link users to the most common pages.

  3. Allow users to change Size and Color of fonts Tools like UserWay's free widget allow users to adjust spacing, size, color and fonts on websites for easier reading.

  4. Use Contrast Use high contrast in your designs with text – black text on white backgrounds is most legible, avoid putting text over images unless there is plenty of contrast. Using tools like UserWay's free widget will allow users to increase contrast if desired.

  5. Identify Images with Alt Text and Titles Make sure your images have good filenames, titles/alt text to tell users and search engines what is in the image. This tip also helps with SEO, so if you have optimized your website for SEO, this image text should already be in place.

  6. Use Captioning in Videos If you're using video, make sure you can incorporate captions, or, even better, write about and add the dialogue and text from the videos below the videos so that users can choose to read or watch the video, or both.

ADA Compliant Websites

Last Tip:

Use a ADA Compliance website tool such as UserWay's free widget that allows you to quickly add a ADA toolbar that expands to allow users to select what they need to better view the site. Options include adjusting Contrast, Highlighting Links, Bigger Text, Text Spacing, Pause Animations, Dyslexia Friendly, Enlarge Cursor, Tooltips, Line Height, and Text Align. Here is where you can Get the Free Widget (or paid upgrade) from UserWay: userway.org/compare I just started using UserWay's free widget for my websites and client websites, there is also a paid version that allows for more in-depth WCAG compliance options. I will update this post as I have more experience and feedback on the widget, I am not paid to endorse UserWay, I just have found that their widget makes it easy to step up the ADA compliance on websites and it works very nicely on Wix websites.

Installing UserWay on Wix:

See the video below on how to set up your free UserWay widget and install it on Wix.

Note: Her Wix directions above say to find the Custom Code under Settings in the Wix Editor, but the Tracking & Analytics menu option is no longer available in my Wix Editor Settings dropdown, Wix must have moved it. So, I was able to find the Custom Code in my main Wix Website Dashboard under Settings > scroll down to Advanced to find Custom Code.

 

Accessibility Statement:

Another good ADA tool I've found is this Accessibility Statement Generator to quickly create a statement to add to your website: www.w3.org/WAI/planning/statements/

 

Of course, ADA compliance is a complicated ongoing process - and these are just general tips above. Read on below for more detailed information:

What is ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Web content should be accessible to blind users, deaf users and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers or other assistive technologies.

Website Accessibility Checklist

(Note: This is the list from Sept 27, 2021, be sure to check the above website for more up-to-date versions of this checklist over time.)

PURPOSE OF THIS CHECKLIST: This checklist is designed for use in conducting a preliminary assessment of the accessibility of your agency’s website. The goal is to review your website and your agency’s website policies and procedures and see if there are red flags alerting you to ADA accessibility concerns.

MATERIALS AND INFORMATION NEEDED: To assess the accessibility of your website you will need:

  • If already created, a copy of your Website Accessibility Policy.

  • Information describing specific actions taken to make your existing website accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Information about website accessibility training taken by staff and/or contractors responsible for developing and posting webpages and content.

  • Information about any procedures used to obtain input from people with disabilities regarding the accessibility of your website.

  • Any input provided by people with disabilities about their experiences accessing your website.

  • The assistance of your website manager.

Assessing Current Webpages and Content on Your Website

This section will help you determine if your website has some of the most common accessibility problems. It will not identify all website accessibility problems.

1. Does the top of each page with navigation links have a “skip navigation” link? (This feature directs screen readers to bypass the row of navigation links and start at the webpage content, thus enabling people who use screen readers to avoid having to listen to all the links each time they move to a new page.)

Yes No

2. Do all links have a text description that can be read by a screen reader (not just a graphic or “click here”)?

Yes No

3. Do all of the photographs, maps, graphics and other images on the website currently have HTML tags (such as an “alt” tag or a long description tag) with text equivalents of the material being visually conveyed?

Yes No

4. Are all of the documents posted on your website available in HTML or another text-based format (for example, rich text format (RTF) or word processing format), even if you are also providing them in another format, such as Portable Document Format (PDF)?

Yes No

5. If your website has online forms, do HTML tags describe all of the controls (including all text fields, check boxes, drop-down lists, and buttons) that people can use in order to complete and submit the forms?

Yes No N/A

6. If your website has online forms, does the default setting in drop-down lists describe the information being requested instead of displaying a response option (e.g., “your age” instead of “18 - 21”)?

Yes No N/A

7. If a webpage has data charts or tables, is HTML used to associate all data cells with column and row identifiers?

Yes No N/A

8. Do all video files on your website have audio descriptions of what is being displayed to provide access to visually conveyed information for people who are blind or have low vision?

Yes No N/A

9. Do all video files on your website have written captions of spoken communication synchronized with the action to provide access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing?

Yes No N/A

10. Do all audio files on your website have written captions of spoken communication synchronized with the action to provide access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing?

Yes No N/A

11. Have all webpages been designed so they can be viewed using visitors’ web browser and operating system settings for color and font?

Yes No

Website Accessibility Policy and Procedures

This section will help you identify potential problems with the ongoing process of ensuring website accessibility

12. Do you have a written policy on website accessibility?

Yes No

13. Is the website accessibility policy posted on your website in a place where it can be easily located?

Yes No N/A

14. Have procedures been developed to ensure that content is not added to your website until it has been made accessible?

Yes No

15. Does the website manager check the HTML of all new webpages to confirm accessibility before the pages are posted?

Yes No

16. When documents are added to your website in PDF format, are text-based versions of the documents (e.g., HTML, RTF, or word processing format) added at the same time as the PDF versions?

Yes No N/A

17. Have in-house staff and contractors received information about the website accessibility policy and procedures to ensure website accessibility?

Yes No N/A

18. Have in-house and contractor staff received appropriate training on how to ensure the accessibility of your website?

Yes No

19. Have in-house and contractor staff who create web content or post it on your website received copies of the Department of Justice’s technical assistance document “Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities”?

Yes No

20. If your website contains inaccessible content, is a specific written plan including timeframes in place now to make all of your existing web content accessible?

Yes No N/A - website is completely accessible

21. Have you posted on your website a plan to improve website accessibility and invited suggestions for improvements?

Yes No

22. Does your website home page include easily locatable information, including a telephone number and email address, for use in reporting website accessibility problems and requesting accessible services and information?

Yes No

23. Do you have procedures in place to assure a quick response to website visitors with disabilities who are having difficulty accessing information or services available via the website?

Yes No

24. Have you asked disability groups representing people with a wide variety of disabilities to provide feedback on the accessibility of your website? (Note: Feedback from people who use a variety of assistive technologies is helpful in ensuring website accessibility.)

Yes No

25. Have you tested your website using one of the products available on the Internet to test website accessibility? (Note: Products available for testing website accessibility include no-cost and low-cost options. These products may not identify all accessibility issues and may flag issues that are not accessibility problems. However, they are, nonetheless, a helpful tool in improving website accessibility.)

Yes No

26. Are alternative ways of accessing web-based information, programs, activities, and services available for people with disabilities who cannot use computers?

Yes No

ACTIONS: If the answer to any of the above questions is “No,” there may be accessibility problems with your website. Here are some steps to take to ensure that your website – and the programs and services offered on it – are accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Establish a policy that your webpages will be accessible and create a process for implementation.

  • Check the HTML of all new webpages. Make sure that accessible elements are used, including “alt” tags, long descriptions, and captions, as needed.

  • Ensure that your webpages are designed in a manner that allows them to be displayed using a visitor’s own settings for color and fonts.

  • If images are used, including photos, graphics, scanned images, or image maps, make sure to include text equivalents for them, using “alt” tags and/or long descriptions for each. Ensure that the text equivalents convey the meaningful information presented visually by the image.

  • If you use online forms and tables, make those elements accessible.

  • Ensure that videos appearing on your website include appropriately synchronized audio description and captions.

  • When posting new documents on the website, always provide them in HTML or another text-based format (even if you are also providing them in another format, such as PDF). If documents are provided in both formats, provide both formats at the same time so people with disabilities have the same degree of access as others.

  • Develop a plan for making your existing web content accessible, including specific steps and timeframes. Describe your plan on an accessible webpage that can be easily located from your home page. Encourage input on accessibility improvements, including which pages should be given high priority for change. Let citizens know about the standards or guidelines that are being used to provide accessibility. Make accessibility modifications to the more popular webpages on your website a priority.

  • Ensure that in-house staff and contractors responsible for webpages and webpage content development are properly trained on your web accessibility policy and procedures.

  • Provide a way for visitors to request accessible information or services and provide feedback about accessibility problems by posting a telephone number and email address on your home page. Establish procedures to assure a quick response to people with disabilities who use this contact information to access web-based information or services.

  • Periodically enlist people with a variety of disabilities to test your webpages for accessibility and ease of use; use this information to increase your website accessibility.

  • Consider using one of the no-cost or low-cost resources available on the Internet to test the accessibility of your website. (Please note, however, that these products may not identify all accessibility problems on your website.)

  • Ensure that alternative means are available for people with disabilities who are unable to use computers to access information, programs, and services that are normally provided on your website.

You can find more in-depth documentation here: www.ada.gov



One last note... With all these ADA compliance requirements, I fear that we're making our sites less accessible! Popups asking for cookie permission or ADA tools often overlap and interfere with the user experience – make sure that any of the elements you add are still USER FRIENDLY. It's important that a Privacy Policy popup doesn't overlap a button or form making it hard for the user to submit or view the content. Keep it as simple as possible. Don't go the way of the newspaper websites, which have popups and ads bombarding the users from the second they arrive. I even find that the sites slow my computer down, it seems that the video ads and popups that are continuously loading drag my computer's performance down, and often resulting in stuttering or slow loading pages. I hope that some newspaper / media websites will raise the bar and make their websites more user-friendly. As most of them are now, I can barely stand to read the article I came for, even if I'm interested! Which leads me to my last note: keep your website simple, easy to use, and be gentle with popups if you use them at all. Make a website that is peaceful and easy to use, and you will be rewarded with more viewers that don't bounce off your website.






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Reach out with questions or for a free design estimate:

As a website designer and graphic designer, I love sharing great tips and tools that make designing easier. As part of my website design services, I train clients on how to update their websites or to do their own SEO (search engine optimization), so I post many of these tips for my clients to train them how to use Wix and other tools to keep their website up-to-date. Keeping websites current is the best way to get found and to keep people coming back to your website. 

Check out all my Design & SEO tips and resources in my blog

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