What is website accessibility—and do you have it?

Website accessibility icons (sight, hearing, touch, brain)

What is website accessibility or an ADA compliant website? Why do you need it? And how can you tell if you have it?

All websites should be accessible and ADA compliant, meaning, anybody with any disability or ability can use the site. 

This isn’t just for blind people who are using screen readers, but for individuals who can’t use a keyboard, can’t use a mouse, or have epilepsy, light sensitivity or poor eyesight. Anything beyond what a typical user would require.

Having an accessible website = being a good human. 

Regardless of the Americans with Disabilities Act which mandates accessibility for certain types of business, all websites should be accessible! Accessibility—equal access to information—is a civil right. You want everyone to be able to use your website and have a good experience, don’t you? 

The CDC says 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. have a disability. Online purchasing skyrocketed by 44% in 2020 (according to Digital Commerce 360), meaning more users than ever of all abilities are wanting to convert online. If these aren’t reasons enough, website accessibility is also good for SEO.

Is your site legally required to be accessible? 

The ADA says:

”Communications with persons with disabilities must be ‘as effective as communications with others.’” 

While there are no clear laws on how the ADA applies to the web, there are an increasing number of lawsuits filed and won related to ADA accessibility which has companies getting nervous. If you receive federal funding, definitely. If you have an eCommerce site, definitely. Otherwise the rules are not super-clear, and I’m not a lawyer, but I say—make sure your site is accessible anyway! 

How do you make your website accessible?

Creating an accessible website isn’t just the developer’s job! The designer also needs to consider things like color contract, font size, and many other things on a very long list. Whoever is managing the content and updating blog posts also needs to make sure new images also have proper alt text as well as other content considerations. 

Is your website accessible?

Ask these questions…

The WCAG’s accessibility rules are great rules for every website and they make your user-experience better for all users: those with disabilities and without. Here are some of the major points you want to be able to say yes to:

  1. Can you navigate the site with just the keyboard or screen reader?
  2. Is the font large enough to read? 
  3. Do all images have alt text?
  4. Is the color contrast appropriate for people with low vision?
  5. Do all links and buttons work?
  6. Is your link text specific (hire a WordPress website developer) rather than ambiguous (click here)?
  7. Is everything labeled?
  8. Do your videos have captions? Are you providing transcripts for audio and video?
  9. Do your graphics or videos avoid rapid flashing (no more than 3 times per second)?
  10. Are your headlines in sequential order (H3 follows H2 which follows H1)?

Tools to help check and improve your website accessibility

  1. Run every page through a testing tool like WAVE, Accessibility Checker (for WordPress), or Google’s Lighthouse
  2. Check for web color contrast with Color Safe

The sites I build are done so with accessibly in mind.

My WordPress websites are built for today’s standards of accessibility. With my recent website update, in addition to adding new photos, I also made some accessibility improvements (since the site was built a few years ago). As with all technology, these standards change and evolve. I’ll continue to keep you in the know on all website requirements—like GDPR, CCPA, and SSL Certificates

Ready for a beautiful and accessible WordPress website? Let’s talk.

About Jill Anderson

Hi, I’m Jill, a WordPress web designer/developer who partners with talented designers, copywriters, and agencies on their websites, and their client’s sites. I’m passionate about crafting beautiful and innovative WordPress websites focused on clear positioning and positive user experiences.

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