The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1973 to allow people with disabilities equal access to common programs and services. Just like public spaces, the internet presents unique possibilities and challenges for accessibility. A set of principles for accessibility called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) was laid out to inform web developers and marketers as they navigate design choices.

Here are 8 ways to make your website ADA compliant in 2018:

1. Audit your site.

Every website’s settings and configuration are different. Learning where your website currently lacks ADA compliance is the first step to improving its accessibility. At Gavin, we specialize in evaluating your website, diagnosing specific ADA compliance shortcomings, and implementing fixes.

2. Make it keyboard navigable.

All menus (standard, fly-out and dropdown) should be keyboard accessible. This means that they require no cursor or mouse interaction.

3. Caption all multimedia.

Provide captions, transcripts and subtitles for sound and video assets so screen readers can communicate these to the user.

4. Put alternative text on photos.

Screen readers communicate information to the user exactly as it is laid out on the website. Therefore, all images and links should provide information that is not redundant. (This means no “read more” tags, headlines or multiple links on an image.

5. Specify colors and font sizes.

If the colors on your site for important elements like buttons do not have enough contrast, users may struggle to read text or discern what a button is and where it leads.

6. Make your forms easy to use.

Forms should be keyboard accessible and provide feedback for user actions. On e-commerce forms, for example, if inputs do not have proper labels, it is difficult for ADA devices to interpret their function.

7. Design for user experience, not just for appearance.

Some aesthetic or decorative elements such as background imagery or shapes that do not add to the informative or service-based aspects of the site should be hidden from the screen reader device.

8. Have an ADA statement.

When it’s all said and done, have a statement that both outlines your ADA compliance and invites users to give you feedback.

Making your website ADA compliant will put your website ahead of the curve and can also potentially prevent legal ramifications.

Need some help making your website ADA compliant? That’s why we’re here. Let’s talk.