ADA laws and your website can be a tough concept to tackle. Since ADA laws never actually mention websites, it can be near impossible to decide what you actually need to do. That in itself is the main challenge in this arena for Credit Unions. There is no law that they can reference to say they are compliant and no law a plaintiff can reference to say they are not compliant, but lawsuits happen anyway and most CUs settle right away to avoid the public black eye, even if there site is in great shape.
This is a challenge our clients face all to often, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you are on a path to compliance.
The graphics and images on your website are one of the easiest items you can tackle in ADA compliance. Go through the images and files on your website to make sure they are properly labeled and have “alt text” attached to them. When people who use assistive technology on their computers these simple descriptions can be the difference in understanding the content on the page.
- Font size and color contrast
In some cases your brand colors may make your site tough to read. In others the font size might just be too small. This can be an annoyance for user with disabilities and it can be a pain for your web designer. In the end, people need to be able to consume your content and if your brand dictates certain colors or fonts, you should add in some control for the user. This often comes in the form of an assistance plugin for your website that allows the user to strip some of the styling or even control the font size on your website so they can consume the content. In the end, you want people to be able to read your website and taking this step makes sure everyone can.
- Keyboard Navigation and Control
Can you use a keyboard to navigate through your entire website? Users with disabilities may only have the use of a keyboard and they should be able to navigate your site with minimal buttons. This comes down to coding, but it is something that is easy to test. Can you get from point A on your site to point B with just a keyboard?
- Visual Content
Do your videos have captions on them? Are your PDFs saved as accessible? These are small steps you can take to make your website more accessible. Some users may not be able to hear and the captions make your videos consumable. Some users may be using a screen reader and PDF files that are just images are not readable. These small steps that you can take when creating your content can go a long way to making your site more accessible.
- Use logic in building and coding your website
This should be applied to every website, regardless of the audience, but it becomes crucial when making your website accessible. Highlighting areas that can be clicked, making buttons obvious, making sure windows can be closed or minimized, eliminating auto play features and making sure the logic stays true through the entire site is incredibly important. Users want to know that the same functions that work on the home page will work on the secondary pages and user with disabilities want to know that the site is setup in a logical manner so their assistive technologies can actually navigate the site.
ADA compliance and websites is a challenging issue, but making sure you are taking steps to make your site accessible goes a long way in this ever changing area of websites.