If you’ve ever looked into a website design or redesign, chances are the terms ‘accessibility’ and ‘ADA compliance’ have been thrown around in the process. The ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act, is a set of laws that ensures that businesses have to ensure that their business - when considered a place of public accommodation - is accessible since lack of accessibility can be a form of discrimination. While the ADA doesn’t have any text regarding websites, many courts have ruled that websites are an area of public accommodation and therefore the ADA can be interpreted in these cases.
These types of cases aren’t few and far between. In 2018, there were over 2,200 lawsuits filed for ADA noncompliance - more than 3 times the amount in 2017. In 2019, this number is expected to multiply again.
But here’s the thing -- accessibility isn’t just about ADA compliance. Accessibility is a good design! That’s why tech companies in Pittsburgh urge you to follow these 7 tips for accessible web design so that you can great functional web design while working toward ADA compliance.
Ensure High Contrast
Ensuring that People with Visual Impairments Can Read Properly
One of the most common issues with website design involves ensuring that the colors and contrast between layers are readable. People with visual impairments may have trouble reading text directly placed on an image or text without a high contrast background. Think of it like TV subtitles; TV subtitles often include a dark outline or a dark block behind the white text to ensure high contrast. Without this, the white text would often be hard to read with the bright moving background. Tech companies in Pittsburgh often ensure high enough contrast by blocking off text with a high-contrast background rather than simply writing directly over an image.
Color Isn’t Enough
Visual Impairments to Color Call for Signals Beyond Color
About 8% of men with Northern European ancestries are color blind in some regard. This means the ability to discern between red and green, different shades of blue, and bright colors is often difficult for many people. You can imagine that stoplights would be difficult to navigate because of this impairment, but consistent locations allow people with colorblindness to still navigate intersections. In other words, it’s important to provide additional triggers that inform users beyond color.
Tech Companies in Pittsburgh Encourage Proper Form Labels
Some people use screen readers to help navigate a page on a website and take in the necessary information. Sometimes at the bottom of a page, you’ll have a form for contact or to join an email list. Frequently, you’ll see the form labels located inside the form field, but screen readers do not read these labels. Because of this, it’s important to ensure accessibility by labeling your form outside of the fields. This not only is important for accessibility, but tech companies in Pittsburgh remind you that the ability to fill out a form - for card payment, signing up for a newsletter, or registering for a class - helps your business.
An Accessibility and UX Tip from Tech Companies in Pittsburgh
We’ve all filled out a form on a website incorrectly - whether out passwords haven’t matched, our credit card number was mistyped, or we forgot to enter a zip code, the form could not be submitted with these mistakes. Good accessibility and UX involves letting the user know which aspects of the form are incorrect and provide the necessary feedback for the user to fix their errors. Without highlighting which aspects of the form are incorrect, users will struggle to complete that part of the user journey and may abandon the form out of frustration. Additionally, tech companies in Pittsburgh recommend going the extra step with hover-over explanations of what is wrong, why that information is necessary, and even linking to a page that helps them understand how to access this information in more detail.
Provide Consistency and a Clear Path to Any Page on Your Site
A major part of accessibility is ensuring that your users can reach every page of your website with ease. Ensuring that your page depth does not require too many clicks is important, but even large websites need to ensure that every page is accessible. This is why it’s important to create a clear and consistent navigation method on your site. Making sure that your nav is laid out logically, is well-labeled, and are well-positioned helps ensure that all users can locate your pages. A great way to minimize these issues is to use breadcrumbs on your page and clear headings that organize your page.
Tech Companies in Pittsburgh Design for All Devices
Not only is responsive design good for your SEO, but it allows accessibility from all devices. Instead of squeezing too much information from a desktop-friendly site onto a narrow phone, web designers need to ensure that their site is mobile and tablet friendly. This involves moving boxes, rethinking the navigation, and ensuring that links are still clear and readable.
Alternative Media Forms
Consider Video, Audio, and Text Substitutes to Ensure Accessibility
The simple truth behind people with disabilities is that some forms of media are easier to consume than others. A great way to accommodate these needs is to find a way to create alternative media on your site. Many tech companies in Pittsburgh encourage utilizing video with audio, simple graphics, and text-alternatives to complicated charts on their sites to ensure that people can access and utilize the information on your site with ease.
Think it’s time to make your site more accessible? Get in touch with the experts at Savvior and start working toward a more accessible site today.