Web Accessibility 101

Web Accessibility and ADA compliance means digital equality for all, including those with disabilities that may impede their ability to access websites, your website. Demand for web accessibility has increased rapidly over the years and it will only continue to do so. ADA Lawsuits Florida™ is here to offer guidance, upgrade your website, and ultimately increase your business! Web accessibility is complex, and many are unaware of the various aspects of the law, the guidelines, and how to upgrade their website to a more accessible version to all. Here are the basics of ADA compliance and web accessibility for your Florida business.

What is WCAG?

Positive Changes for Impaired Websites

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are a set of criteria that were created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The World Wide Web Consortium is a global community that develops recommendations and regulations to help protect the usability and longevity of the internet. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were established to offer comprehensive guidelines for not only website owners but also for developers and designers to offer assistance in creating digital content and websites to be used by disabled people and utilize accessible approaches that work with assistive technologies.

Initially WCAG Guidelines were published in 1999 and then updated in 2008 (WCAG 2.0). Ten years later in 2018, the guidelines were updated again, (WCAG 2.1). The expected release date of WCAG 3.0 is 2021. The guidelines have been reviewed time and time again as advances in technology prompt the W3C to review, revise and include the latest advancements to create the most inclusive accessibility guidelines possible.

There are three levels of success criteria which WCAG Compliance is divided into:

  • Level A (lowest) – Regarded as the minimum level or requirement which all websites, electronic content and apps should comply to.
  • Level AA (midrange) – Regarded as the acceptable, suggested, level of accessibility, which should work in conjunction with most assistive technology. This assistive technology is widely available on not only desktops but on mobile devices or can be acquired through purchase of a third-party installation.
  • Level AAA (highest) – Regarded as the top level, gold standard, of accessibility, this takes the disabled user experience from very good to excellent.

A minimal level of accessibility is set by level A, this does not achieve broad accessibility for many situations. Level AA compliance is the target level and it recognized by the DOJ and courts as the standard to follow. Level AAA is not recognized as the standard because it is not possible to satisfy all criteria for some types of content, this is where the updated WCAG 3.0 will offer insight.

There are assistive technologies that can increase the accessibility of your website, we have listed various potential upgrades to your site that will help your website become more accessible to those with disabilities, increase your customer base, and ultimately increase sales.

Assistive Technologies

purple keyboard with braille at the bottom
  • Keyboard Navigation -Keyboard Navigation or ‘keyboard compatibility’ means that all functionality is usable with only the keyboard. Meaning users can not only access but move easily between buttons, links, form pages and other controls by most commonly using the Tab key or other designated keystrokes. The purpose of this assistive technology is that the website should not require a mouse to navigate. This includes various pop up boxes. This feature can be utilized by:
    1. Individuals with vision impairments, like blindness who cannot see the mouse pointer on their screen.
    2. Individuals with physical disabilities who are unable to use the mouse.
    3. Individuals with chronic conditions, who are required to limit or avoid using a mouse.
    4. Individuals with short-term limitations like a broken arm, for example.
  • Contrast -Various colors displayed on the website are required to have satisfactory contrast between the text color and the background. This also applies to buttons, icons, text on images, diagrams, maps and any other types of images or graphics. This actually allows content to be easier to read by all users, not just those with visual impairments and is helpful in different lighting settings, like sunlight for example. This feature can be utilized by:
    1. Individuals who cannot differentiate between colors, like those with color blindness.
    2. Individuals with low contrast sensitivity, this impairment can affect all age groups, but is more prevalent among the elderly.
  • Bigger Text (buttons, links, and controls) -This encompasses all aspects of the website including buttons, links and controls. Small text, buttons, links, controls, etc. that appear close to one another and are too small are not only difficult to utilize by the visually impaired, but by other users as well, this is especially application to the smaller screen sizes found on tablets and mobile phones. The space for tapping various controls and clicking is required to be large enough for people to utilize them. This feature can be utilized by:
    1. Individuals with decreased dexterity
    2. Individuals who are less experienced with a touch pad/mouse pad
    3. Individuals in situations where the device is not held steadily in place
  • Pause Animations -Animations, videos, and other animated interfaces on a website need to have the ability for the user to pause them. This also applies to flashing or flickering animations. Now, this doesn’t necessarily apply to every single animated element, small or large. For example: a button that slightly changes color while hovering over with a mouse isn’t much of a problem. However, when an animation covers a large portion of the screen, this is where issues can arise. These animations can potentially cause nausea, dizziness and headaches, especially for those who suffer from vestibular disorders. To date, there are an estimated 65 million Americans or more who have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction. This feature can be utilized by:
    1. Individuals with vestibular disorders
    2. Individuals who suffer from epilepsy (seizures)
    3. Individuals who have sensory process and spatial orientation disorders
  • Compliant logo with blue and white
  • Cursor/Reading Guide -Oftentimes, individuals with visual impairments and low vision have difficulty seeing the mouse cursor, thus experience difficulty navigating the website. In addition to a larger cursor, a reading guide can help individuals with visual impairments navigate the website. A reading guide is a horizontal line, typically bold and distinguished that website visitors can use to move throughout the site as they scroll. These features can be utilized by:
    1. Individuals with vision impairment
    2. Individuals with low vision
    3. Individuals with vestibular disorders
  • Read Page (screen reader) -This feature converts buttons, content, images, and other various website elements into speech. This feature is especially important when it comes to images on your website, it is vital the images throughout your website have alternative text (alt-text), alt text provides a description of the image, that will be read aloud by the screen reader. This feature can be utilized by:
    1. Individuals with low vision
    2. Individuals who are partially or fully blind
    3. Individuals with learning and cognitive disabilities, dyslexia and more.
  • Highlight Links -This allows links on a website appear visually different from the rest of the content. Links will be differentiated from the other text by using various combinations color, underline, italics, or bold for example. The link will appear a different color from the website content text and be against a different color background. This allows the links to be more accessible to those with visual impairments, and will increase the overall usability of the website. This feature can be utilized by:
    1. Individuals with low vision
    2. Individuals with vestibular disorders
    3. Individuals with varying degrees of color blindness
  • Text Spacing -This allows text throughout the website like the header, buttons, navigation and pages to be spaced out. By spacing out words and individual letters, people who suffer from low vision and dyslexia will have the ability to increase their reading speed, thus increasing the sites accessibility and usability. This feature can be utilized by:
    1. Individuals with learning and cognitive disabilities, dyslexia and more.
    2. Individuals with low/impaired vision
  • Legible Fonts -Font style is one of the most important aspects to consider when it comes to website accessibility. Many decorative fonts can make reading and even seeing the text more difficult for those with low vision, vision impairment, cognitive disabilities, and dyslexia as well. There are a variety of fonts that are known for being more legible than their counterparts, and choosing or allowing users to have the ability to select a more legible font will improve accessibility and overall user satisfaction. This feature can be utilized by:
    1. Individuals with learning and cognitive disabilities, dyslexia and more.
    2. Individuals with low/impaired vision

ADA Lawsuits Florida™ is here to answer any questions you have, whether they pertain to legal proceedings or your website. With legal action being taken against thousands of websites throughout Florida, the time to act is now. We’re here to help you prepare for the future, contact us today.

NOTICE: This website is designed to assist Florida Businesses and Residents with ADA compliance for websites. We recommend checking with an attorney in your state before making any decisions based on the information presented on this website.