ADA Compliance

Posted by Rachel Miller @rachelhm, Jul 5, 2018

We're updating our website to a new platform and want to be more thoughtful and deliberate in complying with ADA, and suggested resources, checklists?

EAB member Patricia Anderson @pfanderson is an expert on this topic, @rachelhm. Now that I've tagged her hope she'll provide some helpful tips. Have you had feedback on your site that's made you consider this more?

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@dahinmon

EAB member Patricia Anderson @pfanderson is an expert on this topic, @rachelhm. Now that I've tagged her hope she'll provide some helpful tips. Have you had feedback on your site that's made you consider this more?

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Thanks @DanHinmon
We've not had external feedback, but rather our very small web team feel strongly about this, as does our C suite. We do struggle with one of the ad agencies we use consistently creating items that are visually difficult for anyone over 45, think low contrast lettering and have had feedback on that in the past. Our solution has been to bring it in house when it comes to the web. We think we have most people on board now.

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Rachel – I have undergone a number of ADA website audits and implemented changes based on W3C guidelines to ensure ADA compliance. In fact, I just completed another audit for the health system I currently work for. Needless to say, there are no easy silve bullets, but establishing a framework – from your CMS, your IA and your content approach – will very much help.

Happy to have a conversation with you about this – feel free to reply if interested, and we’ll set up a call.

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Hi, Rachel! I agree 1000% with Chris's observation that there are no silver bullets. The challenge is that whatever content you create in whatever form will probably be inaccessible to someone. My main 'tricks' are to
(1) Identify your top priority content, and provide that content in a variety of forms and media, written for a variety of audiences at different reading levels, in video and images and text and audio;
(2) Identify your main audiences and develop web design personas that fit them (and make sure you include examples with the main ;
(3) Use universal design types of principles wherever possible such as writing text with summaries at the top, ensure documents are well structured and use appropriate headings, make sure that all media and forms and interactive bits have alt-text / long descriptions / transcriptions, use white space, provide plain language summaries;
(4) code in CSS so that expert users can override your formatting entirely to apply their own personal settings (and if you structured the document well, it won't break when they do this).

For tools and checklists, well, the W3C are the top go-to source for this (https://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/full-checklist.html), but you may also want some simpler sources like the A11y Project (https://a11yproject.com/checklist). I typically refer people to the guidelines we have here, which were iteratively developed in response to common questions in our community, but lots of organizations have similar sites and recommendations. Here is ours: http://webaccess.hr.umich.edu/ . It has links to a lot of the checklists, software checkers, and resources that we've found helpful.

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@pfanderson

Hi, Rachel! I agree 1000% with Chris's observation that there are no silver bullets. The challenge is that whatever content you create in whatever form will probably be inaccessible to someone. My main 'tricks' are to
(1) Identify your top priority content, and provide that content in a variety of forms and media, written for a variety of audiences at different reading levels, in video and images and text and audio;
(2) Identify your main audiences and develop web design personas that fit them (and make sure you include examples with the main ;
(3) Use universal design types of principles wherever possible such as writing text with summaries at the top, ensure documents are well structured and use appropriate headings, make sure that all media and forms and interactive bits have alt-text / long descriptions / transcriptions, use white space, provide plain language summaries;
(4) code in CSS so that expert users can override your formatting entirely to apply their own personal settings (and if you structured the document well, it won't break when they do this).

For tools and checklists, well, the W3C are the top go-to source for this (https://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/full-checklist.html), but you may also want some simpler sources like the A11y Project (https://a11yproject.com/checklist). I typically refer people to the guidelines we have here, which were iteratively developed in response to common questions in our community, but lots of organizations have similar sites and recommendations. Here is ours: http://webaccess.hr.umich.edu/ . It has links to a lot of the checklists, software checkers, and resources that we've found helpful.

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Thanks for these excellent ideas, @pfanderson. What have you found to be the most difficult challenge around developing ADA-friendly web content?

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@chrisboyer and @pfanderson Thank you so much for your input. I've shared the input with my colleagues and my bosses and have a meeting set up to talk more in depth about it before we talk with our CMS provider the following day. Your input is invaluable. Thank you.

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This was quite the focus of my agency a couple of years ago, when the Web Accessibility Guidelines were rolled out. We did a blog here:
https://www.forbin.com/blog/post/website-accessibility-and-class-action-lawsuits-on-your-hme-website
From a social media standpoint, I made sure that the characters I used would make sense when read out loud. For example, I used to use "—>" to urge people to check out our post. Cute, right? It looks like an arrow.

But after WCAG training, I realized that this wouldn't make sense to a visually-impaired person listening to a reading of the text. I now use a colon to indicate people should check out a post.

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