ACCESSIBILITY LAWS ARE CHANGING

Each year, ADA compliance litigations filed by advocacy groups and law firms cross the U.S. are on a significant rise, and companies are at risk of expensive lawsuits related to website accessibility issues. Courts are regularly determining that anti-discrimination laws apply to websites, which heightens the importance of website ADA compliance. Similar to how some store locations must have a ramp or a certain door width, your website–or online store–must follow particular design steps to support technology like screen readers (for non-sighted users). This is part of website ADA compliance.

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WHAT IS WEBSITE ADA COMPLIANCE AND IS YOUR SITE COMPLIANT?

We run into ADA issues quite often these days whether we walk into buildings that do not enable ramps for the handicapped, or businesses that do not have wheelchair-friendly restroom stalls, or websites with color contrast issues and no alternate text on images. As a result, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by George W. Bush. It is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with all types of disabilities by employers.

Technology forces us to think about accessibility in a broader context than even our physical environment. It’s not just whether a person requires a wheelchair. A person could be visually impaired or have a motor disability. A person could have slower internet or an older browser. With a graying population, some are not familiar with modern user interface (UI) pattern.

Disabilities may include visual, auditory, physical, speech, mental and neurological disabilities. Adherence to web accessibility standards not only benefits the handicapped but all users. Website ADA compliance includes guidelines that take into consideration the needs of people with disabilities so they can navigate your site and get the information they need.

ARE YOU AWARE OF WEBSITE ADA COMPLIANCE AND GUIDELINES?

Recently so many web owners have faced the long arm of the law. They paid huge fines after their website underwent scrutiny and were found not to be ADA website compliant.

Make sure that your website conforms to the WCAG 2.0 guidelines of the section 508. Section 508 compliance is extremely important!

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HOW TO MAKE YOUR WEBSITE ADA COMPLIANT – WCAG 2.0 COMPLIANCE

For your website to be considered ADA web compliant, there are 12 guidelines that were listed in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, otherwise known as WCAG 2.0. They are standards for web accessibility and guidance on conformance. The success criteria are written as testable statements that are not technology-specific and are categorized into three levels of compliance:  A (basic or minimal impact), AA (mid-level or “happy medium”), and AAA (advanced). Some of the guidelines for website ADA compliance are mentioned below. Contact us for Section 508 remediation.

Color Contrast & Font Size

There are specific rules applied to color contrast and font size when it comes to ADA web compliance. This is to enable people with low vision to conceive the information without experiencing problems.

Accessible via Keyboard Only

One of the key guidelines of website ADA compliance: Your website should be fully accessible with the use of a keyboard. This makes anyone using the website to be able to navigate through pages without using a mouse or any other input device.

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Navigation Controls

There should be navigation controls to allow users to skip to the bottom of the page, go up, move right or left without necessarily scrolling, depending on the level of ADA web compliance you are trying to achieve for your site.

No Flashy Images or Content

The website should not contain flashy images or content making it unsuitable to those people with photosensitive epilepsy. This is known to trigger seizures.

Alternate Tags for Website Content

If you have videos and images on your website, you should create alternate tags or captions for such content. This will allow screen readers to read the content. Seems small, but this is a big one when it comes to ADA web compliance!

GUIDELINES TO SHOW WEBSITE ADA COMPLIANCE

This new responsibility for ADA web compliance presents a challenge for small businesses.

1. Accessibility guidelines for websites are complex and subjective.

  • The design rules are technical. It’s code!
  • Most businesses are not tech companies!

2. Accessibility can’t be automatically fixed.

  • There’s no plugin or program to add accessibility to your website.
  • Features have to be repaired or rebuilt altogether.

3. Automated tests aren’t complete

  • A computer will find a list of unimportant errors in its design of almost any site. At the same time, this computer won’t find or understand the real roadblocks that users confront on the site.
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GUIDELINES TO SHOW WEBSITE ADA COMPLIANCE

This new responsibility to be accessible presents a challenge for small businesses. Here’s why you should contact us for website ADA compliance or section 508 compliance needs:

1. Accessibility guidelines for websites are complex and subjective.

  • The design rules are technical. It’s code!
  • Most businesses are not tech companies!

2. Accessibility can’t be automatically fixed.

  • There’s no plugin or program to add accessibility to your website.
  • Features have to be repaired or rebuilt altogether.

3. Automated tests aren’t complete

  • A computer will find a list of unimportant errors in its design of almost any site. At the same time, this computer won’t find or understand the real roadblocks that users confront on the site.
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ADA WEB COMPLIANCE / SECTION 508 COMPLIANCE SERVICES FAQ

What is ADA?

We run into ADA issues quite often these days whether we walk into buildings that do not enable ramps for the handicapped, or businesses that do not have wheelchair-friendly restroom stalls, or websites with color contrast issues and no alternate text on images. As a result, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by George W. Bush. It is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with all types of disabilities by employers.

One of the main goals of ADA is to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in the typical American life which includes enjoying opportunities, purchasing goods and services in person or online via a website, and participating in government programs and services.

The ADA standards are developed and managed by the Access Board and both the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation are responsible for enforcing the standards.

What is ADA Web Accessibility Compliance?

Technology forces us to think about accessibility in a broader context than even our physical environment. It’s not just whether a person requires a wheelchair. A person could be visually impaired or have a motor disability. A person could have slower internet or an older browser. With a graying population, some are not familiar with modern user interface (UI) pattern. Disabilities may include visual, auditory, physical, speech, mental and neurological disabilities. Adherence to web accessibility standards benefits all users especially the elderly. Accessibility laws have increasingly expanded to an online context. Websites must support assistive technology such as screen reader programs, which read aloud webpages to help the visually impaired.

Web accessibility is a vast topic but some rules are constant:

  • Semantic, descriptive HTML that reflects intended purpose
  • Alternative text for non-text content
  • Clearest and simplest language for content
  • Rich keyboard interaction/navigation
  • Accessibility protocol tools for site
  • Usability testing
  • Capacity for text resizing
  • Minimizing blinking, flashing, or distracting features which can cause seizures
  • Color contrast mindfulness
  • Clear, descriptive, and easily discernable links
  • Make PDF content accessible in HTML
  • Identifying errors in forms
What is WCAG 2.0?

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, otherwise known as WCAG 2.0, are standards for web accessibility and guidance on conformance. While the question of what activities online must be made accessible is unsettled, accessibility laws have focused on WCAG 2.0 as the standard for digital accessibility compliance. It is in vein of Section 508 and Section 504. It covers a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible. The success criteria are written as testable statements that are not technology-specific and are categorized into three levels of compliance:  A (basic or minimal impact), AA (mid-level or “happy medium”), and AAA (advanced). WCAG 2.0 was produced by the Web Accessibility Initiative, part of W3C–the group of developers who establish a lot of the mechanics of the modern internet.

What is usability testing and how is it related to accessibility testing and assistive technologies?

Usability testing is a technique used to evaluate a product by testing it on potential users. Accessibility testing is a subset of usability testing. It is used to determine whether the product will be able to be used by individuals with disabilities whether with the help of automated accessibility testing software or sample workflow audits performed by web engineers or blind individuals.

Individuals with visual disabilities use assistive technologies like screen reader programs to help them read the text that is displayed on the screen. An assistive technologies are equipment or system used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. These types of assistive technologies are generally always used during usability testing.

Does ADA apply to my business and why should I care?

Absolutely. The Department of Justice issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2010 to ensure that ADA applies to all business with more than 15 employees and its respective websites public and private. Just as your brick-and-mortar business must be accessible to all customers, the same goes for your website. Each year ADA compliance litigations filed by advocacy groups and law firms across the U.S. are on a significant rise, and your company is also at risk of possible lawsuits.

The following are other reasons why ADA compliance is important:

  • Improved lives of people with disabilities
  • Better usability for all visitors
  • Improved metrics (ex. less time spent on the website, higher rate of completed tasks, etc.)
  • Minimized risk of bad press and litigation
  • Increased sales revenue and new customers
  • Quicker adoption of the site
Details about WCAG 2.0 Section 508 Compliance

Taking a closer look into section 508, it not only wraps around website content. It goes beyond just a mere website. The department of justice was too keen to make sure that it involved a wider part of digital communication. These include emails, PDF, gaming software, mobile apps and any other form of digital information that persons with disabilities interact within their day to day lives. Even though a wide variety of particulars are covered, more emphasis has been based on website content.

What has made website ADA compliance act seem very hard to website owners is that they are taking it as a task and not an opportunity. Having your website meet section 508 compliance means that anyone can access your website. You get to increase your traffic and coverage alike.

Many people are seeing it as a way of limiting them and tying them down to some specific rules that don’t make sense. The department of Justice is trying to make websites accessible to everyone and not just specific groups of people.

What can we do for YOU?

Online accessibility standards are complex and at times, subjective. Many companies are not aware that their sites are required to be ADA site compliant. Unfortunately, many businesses have learned of this requirement via contact by an advocacy group or law firm for remediation.

Be Accessible, Inc. will provide your company a low cost website and mobile application audit that will bring your business towards website ADA compliance. With our 3-Step Solution, we’ll first utilize top rated automated software to log the location of distinct errors on your site.

Next, our experienced web auditors will manually inspect a representative sample of your website or app to identify greatest accessibility issues.

Lastly, we’ll bring blind individuals into a lab and conduct usability testing of your website or mobile app. We aim to repair your site with a little effect on your development team as possible.  We’ll work closely to train how to integrate accessibility into your online processes. We also can provide on-site ADA training for your business in order to spread awareness about disabilities in the workplace and teach you how to eliminate accessibility issues.

We reduce your legal risk, bring you to website ADA compliance, and broaden the circle that can fully benefit from your site.

We were referred to Be Accessible by our website developer for a comprehensive website compliance review. The team at Be Accessible, comprised of Aaron and David, did a great job listening, identifying our areas of concern, defining the SOW, and executing the completion of the project. We can now rest assured we meet all state and federal compliance requirements.

Watermark Home Loans

Nick LJ

As a growing restaurant business with great exposure to online ordering we needed to cover all bases in regards to compliance with accessibility on our website. We found David and his team on a simple google search and they have made the rest a smooth and enjoyable experience. Davids team at Be Accessible gave us a thorough analysis and guided us in the right direction. We definitely feel we got back our moneys worth and more. We would highly recommend the team at Be Accessible.

Maria’s Pizza & Wings

Haik Amroyan

I highly recommend Be Accessible, Inc. They are professional, extremely knowledgeable, and dedicated to achieving comprehensive and timely results. I highly recommend all businesses to utilize their professional services.

Khachatryan Law Office

Hermine Khachatryan

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Address: 926 Azalea Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Phone: (714) 500-7585

Email: ADAinspectors@gmail.com

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