WordPress ADA Compliance
One of the most significant factors in increasing customer retention is the user experience or UX, and web accessibility issues can send a potential client back to the search engine to find one of your competitors. From a marketing standpoint, website accessibility is crucial, but now, when it comes to ADA compliance, web accessibility is a legal mandate.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and Your WordPress Site
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was passed to prohibit discrimination based on a disability in employment, education, public accommodations, telecommunications, transportation, and a number of other areas. While none of the areas in the Act necessarily pertain to websites, Section 508 requires that federal departments’ and agencies’ electronic and information technology must be accessible by people with disabilities.
This includes web and non-web content such as PDF documents, word processing documents, and the company intranet. For this reason, a greater number of companies are asking if their WordPress site is ADA compliant.
The Cost of a Non-ADA Compliant WordPress Site
Between 2017 and 2018 there was a 177% spike in the number of federal lawsuits filed against websites for ADA non-compliance. The plaintiffs claimed that they could not use certain websites because they were not built to work with assistive technologies that made them accessible to individuals with disabilities. Assistive technologies include:
- Screen readers
- Input speech software
- Alternative input devices
- Screen back magnification
Failure to offer assistive technology features on your WordPress site could have substantial financial costs.
ADA Compliance Improves
the User Experience for All
ADA compliance is beneficial for all people. At some point, many people will end up finding themselves temporarily disabled due to illness, surgery, or some other reason. This temporary disability can last a couple of days to even a couple of months. In the meantime, their ability to use the internet is not affected when websites are made to work with ADA compliant assistive technology.
In fact, features that help disabled individuals, such as captioning videos, can be beneficial for people who are accessing web content in places where they cannot turn up the volume. Making text stand out from the background color on a website, for example, makes it easier to read outside when viewing it on a tablet or smartphone on a sunny day. If you think about it, you may recall situations in your own online usage when you benefited from using an ADA compliant website that was optimized to be accessible for people with disabilities, such as anti-glare technology.
What Is WordPress ADA Compliance?
According to the law, your Wordpress website must be properly accessible for those with disabilities and it must meet ADA standards.
Why it Matters for Your Website
A non-ADA-compliant site can receive an expensive fine
By appealing to everyone, including those with disabilities, you can reach all potential customers.
ADA compliance can improve your SEO ranking.
Websites Must Work with Assistive Technologies Like ...
Input speech software
Alternative input devices
Screen back magnification
What Does Wordpress ADA Compliance Look Like?
Text stands out against the background
Fonts should be large and heavy enough to be readable
Images have ALT tags
Website menus should be able to be navigated with only a keyboard (mouse shouldn’t be necessary)
Use headlines and subheadlines
Use captions for audio and video recordings
Text can be resized to 200% and still maintain correct form
The code and CSS is cleaned up (by you or a developer)
What Are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)?
Web developers come from all over the world and what they create is accessed by people also from all over the world. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) was developed in 2008 (WCAG 2.0) and revised in 2018 (WCAG 2.1) through the collective, international efforts of individuals, governments, and organizations to create a set of standards to make web content more accessible to individuals with disabilities. Following the protocols outlined in WCAG are essential for achieving WordPress ADA compliance. The content they refer to includes:
- Markups that define the structure and presentation of a web page or application
These guidelines were intended for website designers, web page authors, and writers, such as bloggers, and anyone who needs to meet a certain standard of accessibility due to legal obligations.
What Are Some of the Guidelines Set by the WCAG?
In order to make information presentable and accessible to all users, there are some rules that have been laid out in the WCAG. A few of them include:
- Providing alt text for non-text content, such as images with text that describes what is in the image accurately
- Providing large print, simple language, symbols, or even braille for users who have difficulty reading text
- Providing captions for all pre-recorded and live audio or video recordings
- Not restricting content to either portrait or landscape view, unless such a display is essential
- Colors are not to be used as the only means of indicating an action or prompting a response, or any other commands
- All content is able to be accessed through a keyboard without requiring specific movements or timing of movements, or specific keystrokes, unless this is vital for the functioning of a certain operation, such as turning handwriting into text.
Some Introductory Facts About Choosing
Shopify or WooCommerce
WordPress approaches website accessibility from two principles, which stem from the principles explained earlier: by addressing design standards and specific concerns. When WordPress develops new features or themes, they are built with the WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 principles in mind so that websites made on WordPress are accessible. Secondly, WordPress tries to keep all of its websites accessible regardless of the platform, browser, or operating system from which the user is visiting a WordPress webpage. This is by no means a guarantee that your WordPress site ADA, compliant, however. As developers make customizations with other aims in mind, they may inadvertently remover or alter some of the features that make the theme ADA compliant.
WordPress ADA Compliant Plugins
A website takes several weeks or even months to build, and some more complex websites may require changes over the years. Fortunately, there are a number of WordPress ADA compliance plugins that test your WordPress website to ensure that all of your efforts in building a website aren’t being wasted on something that isn’t ADA compliant.
After your website is built, it can be tested by not only our web developers here at On The Map, but you can test drive it yourself. In order to ensure there are no “gaps,” automated tools are used to assess your WordPress website for ADA compliance. These WordPress ADA compliant accessibility plugin testing tools are in no way a replacement for human judgment, but they do work well in conjunction with human monitoring to identify and report problems or inaccuracies.
FAQ About WordPress ADA Compliance and Accessibility Issues
It’s normal for a business owner or manager to be concerned about ADA compliance and their websites. After all, no one wants their company website to unintentionally exclude a member of society. We have developed this list of frequently asked questions based on our interactions with clients seeking WP accessibility via ADA compliance plugins.