The Americans with Disabilities Act aims to protect the rights of disabled people to prevent discrimination against a person’s disability. This law requires businesses to offer accommodations like wheelchair ramps and handicapped parking for disabled persons. However, when the law was passed in 1990, it did not provide any specific language to protect disabled persons from discrimination on the Internet. While there is currently no legal definition of an ADA compliant website, here are a few elements your website should have to ensure that your hearing and vision impaired clients have a seamless experience.
Your clients with vision impairments have difficulty viewing web pages the same way as other people. While an artistic website design might seem clear to you, certain color schemes are difficult for vision impaired persons to view. Ensure that your website is accessible for everyone by choosing white background colors with a font that is dark enough to pop against the background. This color contrast is crucial to have on your website to make your content clear and accessible for all site visitors. While this is beneficial for your vision impaired clients, it is also beneficial in reducing bounce rates for your business website.
Avoid small, ineligible fonts on your website whenever possible. Not only do small fonts make it difficult for vision-impaired clients to read website content, but they also don’t render well on responsive website designs that adjust to fit screens on mobile devices. Use large font between 15 – 18px on your website to make sure your content is readable across all devices from – desktop sites to tablets to mobile phones. It is also important that you disable any settings that prevent site visitors from adjusting the font size in a user’s web browser. Visually impaired persons need to be able to specify font size as needed to properly view your website content.
Hyperlinks and Buttons
Influencing site visitors to perform an action is the goal of virtually every business website. The best way to get your visitors to take action is to make sure they know what to do! Clickable elements like hyperlinks and call-to-action (CTA) buttons on your website should be large, clear and stand apart from the body text. Visually impaired persons often scan web pages to quickly search for links. Concealing important links in a block of text makes it harder for your clients to find them. Additionally, make sure the links are descriptive of the information they’re leading to. “Updated Office Hours and Contact Information” is a lot more descriptive than simply “Update”.
Screen Reader Friendly
Screen readers make it possible for blind or visually impaired persons to “read” website content via a speech synthesizer or braille display. While screen readers are a wonderful way for visually impaired persons to access website content, they do have limitations. For example, screen readers are unable to “read” an image if the image doesn’t have alt text. Adding alt text is helpful because it gives context to your website images that a screen reader can “read” to site visitors. Alt text is also beneficial to your website’s SEO.
The best way to reach more clients online is to make your business website available for everyone. By ensuring that your website is ADA accessible, you are ensuring that all of your site visitors have a positive experience on your website. This can translate into the best possible outcome: increased traffic and conversions for your website.