In 1999 the WCAG [1.0] (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) was published by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). The WCAG estimated about 10-20% of the population had disabilities, many that affect the way people use the web.
In 2008 the WCAG [2.0] published new, updated guidelines. These guidelines added 62 markers of an ADA-friendly website.
In 2018 the WCAG [2.1] was released and added 17 new criteria to help those suffering from vision impairment, cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, and more.
ADA Compliance Guidelines Levels
- Level A covers the most basic web accessibility features. Level A has 30 guidelines.
- Level AA covers some of the most common issues facing website users with disabilities. (Our ADA Compliant websites are brought up to this point). Level AA has 20 additional guidelines (50 total).
- Level AAA is the most complex level of website accessibility. Level AAA has 28 additional guidelines (bring the total to 78).
In order to fully understand the principles and requirements, we suggest taking a glance at the W3 WCAG2.1 Quick Reference Guide. Below is a quick recap.
- Perceivable: The entire website needs to be able to be “seen” by everyone. Things like small or hidden text are a no-no.
- Operable: The entire website needs to be usable. Buttons need to be “real” and clickable with a mouse or keyboard, and even voice control in some circumstances.
- Understandable: The website needs to be understandable. The text, wording, meaning, instructions, etc. all need to be simple and easy to understand.
- Robust: There are lots of devices out there: computers, tablets, phones, screen readers, etc. No matter the website, it needs to be able to be used easily across all technologies and devices.
Steps To Develop An ADA Compliant Website
You’ll be pleased to know that many of the ADA compliant recommendations should already be included with your current website build. These things include:
- Alt tags for images, videos, audio files, etc. When your web designer is building your website and including SEO, this is already added to your price. You should not expect to pay more for this since it’s included.
- Site Language in header code. Again, this is already added when coding the website. You have to do this for browsers to know what to do, etc. Don’t let it scare you – it’s included.
- Organized layout. Excuse me? If your website isn’t organized at the design phase, why are you working with those guys? This should be included.
- Text transcripts. This one might cost you a little more, but since you are hosting all your videos on Youtube, you should have it there already for video SEO. And we can transcript your audio or videos for just a few dollars a minute. Don’t pay out the nose for this.
- Input Error Messages. Do you have a form that doesn’t send because someone missed an input? You have an error message, right? This is the default; don’t pay more for this.
It’s Not That Scary To Update
Here is the dirty secret about ADA Compliance in websites that larger agencies don’t want you to know. It’s not that difficult to accomplish. Because it’s relatively new and unknown, many will take advantage of that and prey upon fear to charge exorbitant prices. But the truth is, if a website was built correctly at the start (following many SEO principles), coming in later for compliance updates is not that difficult and should not cost tens of thousands of dollars. And designing from the ground up with ADA Compliance in mind is even simpler. Don’t fall prey to scammers and opportunists.
If you think you might need an ADA compliance update, contact us today and we’ll audit your homepage at no cost to you and give you an idea of what it will take.