ADA Website Compliance Revealed: Your Must-Know Guide

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ADA Website Compliance Revealed: Your Must-Know Guide

Since 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been a big deal for ensuring equal access. But when it came to websites and digital stuff, there was a lot of confusion. Recently, though, things got clearer. The Department of Justice gave out a final set of rules for certain groups covered by ADA. Now, website owners, developers, and legal folks know exactly what they need to do to follow the ADA and make their websites accessible.

So, what does the ADA say about websites?

Before April 2024, there weren’t clear rules about making websites accessible. Different courts had different ideas. Some said websites counted as public places under ADA, while others said they didn’t. Because of this mess, many businesses just settled with people who sued them instead of fighting it out in court.

To deal with this confusion, many organizations followed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines help make websites usable for people with disabilities. The Justice Department’s Final Rule, issued in April 2024, says that certain government agencies have to follow WCAG 2.1 Level AA. This rule might soon apply to private companies too.

So, how can your organization follow the ADA?

These days, following ADA often means following WCAG too. Let’s see how you can do that for your website.

There are two main ways to make sure your website is accessible. The first is manual testing. This means getting someone to try out your website and see how easy it is to use. They might try navigating without a mouse, using just a keyboard or a screen reader. But this can be expensive and time-consuming, especially for big websites.

The second way is using automated tools. These are computer programs that scan your website’s code and find potential problems. They can spot things like colors that are hard to read or missing descriptions for images or videos. This method is quicker and cheaper, especially for big websites. Some tools even offer customizable features for users.

Using a mix of manual and automated testing is the best way to make sure your website follows ADA guidelines. It keeps your website accessible and saves you time and money in the long run.

In the end, following ADA rules means making sure everyone can use your website. The new rules from the Justice Department make it clearer than ever what needs to be done. By following these rules, your organization shows it cares about inclusivity and making sure everyone can access your content.