Have you been wondering how to implement website accessibility and ADA compliance for your blog pages?
Maybe you have been hearing of bloggers getting sued for not being ADA compliant but don’t know what ADA is?
So, what exactly is ADA compliance, and how do these practices apply to websites and bloggers, anyway?
Are WCAG and ADA compliance practices really all that important when building a website?
Which businesses and websites should adhere to ADA and WCAG standards?
The topic of ADA website compliance can feel complex and confusing.
To clear up the confusion and make things easier, we have created this useful post. It goes over everything you need to know.
Additionally, we will let you know where you can find the best ADA compliance checklist and our complimentary accessibility statement template!
But before we begin, please let me clarify something.
Although I have worked as a lawyer specializing in International and EU Law (LLB, LLM, PhD) for over 15 years and helped more than 30,000 bloggers and online entrepreneurs create their blog legal pages and policies with my plug-and-play legal templates, this article is meant for educational and informational purposes only.
It does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. I will not be held liable for any damages or losses caused by acting or failing to act on the ground of the content of this article. Should your circumstances require, I encourage you to seek legal advice through other avenues. Please read my full disclaimer for further information.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in US$.
If you’re in a rush at the moment, don’t sweat it! You can always download this post as PDF and come back to these ADA compliance tips later.
Okay, without further ado, let’s dive in!
What is ADA Website Compliance?
ADA refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act in the US. The Americans with Disabilities Act covers an array of services offered by businesses of all kinds. This act was signed in the year 1990. In 2009, it was amended to expand its definitions and requirements. By providing guidance for businesses as they cater to those with disabilities, ADA laws ensure fair and equal access to various public services.
How ADA Applies Online
For those with disabilities, these laws included access to online services. However, websites were not as necessary to daily life in 1990, or even in 2009, as they are today. As such, much confusion exists around the topic of ADA compliance in the online world.
How Does ADA Compliance Apply in the Online Sector?
To put it simply, ADA website compliance ensures that your website complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design guidelines, and therefore is accessible to those with disabilities. This means that those with disabilities who visit your website must be able to use keyboard-only access for the consumption of online content, screen readers, and other assistive technology and tools, and must be able to fully access all your content. There is a lot that goes into it, and – spoiler alert! – it’s not just alt text and captions.
Is Everyone Subject to ADA Web Compliance?
Not all businesses are subject to ADA standards. Indeed, many small businesses and LLCs may not need to be ADA compliant. However, implementing ADA-compliant web and blog page designs can be extremely beneficial to essentially all businesses and entrepreneurs.
Businesses that must always follow ADA compliance rules include:
- Nonprofits, charities, and private businesses with 15 or more employees
- State and local governments
- Companies that rely on the public or benefit the public with physical locations
- Places of business that would be considered a place of public accommodation
What About Blogs & Websites? DO I need to make my Blog ADA COmpliant?
The thing about websites and blogs is that in some cases, courts have ruled that websites are considered places of “public accommodation” and therefore must be accessible.
Although this is still a grey area, implementing ADA compliance for bloggers may still be wise. After all, you want to ensure that everyone has equal and fair access to your website and blog posts. Plus, these compliance practices expand your demographic and improve SEO. And hey, who doesn’t want a larger audience? Not to mention the fact that implementing these compliance laws demonstrates your ability to cater to various demographics.
We’ll cover more on that in a moment.
Why Make Your Blog WCAG and ADA Compliant?
Maintaining accessibility is about much more than just improving your visitor base. There are many reasons to make your blog or website ADA Compliant. Although this process can seem like a drain on your resources, it may actually help to drive more traffic and save you money in the long run. Indeed, there are many benefits to ADA compliance.
Provide Equal Access to All Your Visitors and Avoid Discrimination
First and foremost, making your website accessible to everyone no matter their abilities is the right thing to do. We should all strive to ensure fair and equal access to our content to everyone regardless of whether they have a disability or use assistive technology.
I want my blog, business, and brand to be as inclusive as they can possibly be and I’m sure you want the same for yours.
Add Visitors and Expand Your Demographic
First of all, 15% of the population has a disability. In fact, more than 50 million people in the United States alone require websites to be ADA compliant. Therefore, without ADA compliance, millions of people are incapable of accessing your online services. Blog pages often forget to optimize ADA accessibility. By making your blog pages ADA compliant, you are breaking into a market others often miss.
Not only that. When you make your blog ADA compliant, you will also make it more accessible to other categories of people who don’t necessarily have a disability but would still benefit from a better optimized and accessible website that can actually represent a large part of your target audience.
I will give you a few examples.
Think of those busy mums who are getting their babies to sleep or nursing them and can’t put the volume up but they’re eager to use that time to multitask and learn something new. With your captions, they can now easily watch your videos! Same for workers in their lunch breaks or commuting on public transports. Should I add those sneakily binging your content at their desk?
I’m aware of the existence of headphones but number 1, you can’t use them in all situations, and number 2, I know this may come as a surprise but apparently, 92% of people view videos with sounds off on mobile. I do.
And what about those with a poor internet connection? Having proper alt text for all your images will allow them to consume your content without having to wait for the images to load.
And I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the gist. The point is, following WCAG guidelines for your blog will make it more accessible to so many more people!
Build Your Brand and Improve Public Relations
Also, ADA compliance helps you build your brand and improve your business principles. People are becoming increasingly aware of the standards of companies and their values. ADA compliance for bloggers offers you a chance to create better public relations while also building your brand.
Avoid Legal Problems
Ensuring that your web pages are ADA Compliant can help you avoid an array of legal problems. The fact is, there can be severe consequences if you neglect ADA compliance laws. Many brands have been forced to spend thousands of dollars to rework their websites after being sued over ADA compliance issues.
Significantly Improve SEO Results and Add Organic Keywords
Finally, ADA compliance can improve your SEO. Improving your search engine optimization not only helps people find you more easily online, but it boosts your visibility and branding possibilities. In fact, ADA compliance supports a range of SEO-friendly components.
ADA optimization adds all text for images, video transcripts, audio accessibility, better heading tags, and predictable consistent structures. The more ADA compliant your website is, the better your SEO will work. This is a win for visitors to your page and your back page search engine optimization!
No doubt, ADA compliance for blogs can be a game-changer. Since these transcripts give search engines ubiquitous information to crawl, they will automatically have more keywords to work with. This boosts your keywords scores significantly and allows you to create precise headings which will be easier for people to read and to find online. After all, these days, SEO is everything!
Do I Need to Make My Blog Compliant if I’m not based in the US?
As I mentioned earlier the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, designed their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to use as a benchmark for accessibility compliance in several countries, including the US, UK, EU, Canada, Australia.
So this is not something that is confined to the US and in fact, many companies in different countries have been sued for discrimination and not making their website accessible to people with disabilities.
Like with anything legal, whether you want to comply or not comes down to your risk tolerance, your sense of legality and whether you have the budget to cover for fines and lawsuits if you’re not compliant.
But, besides the peace of mind of being legally compliant, if you make your website accessible you will reap all the benefits we discussed earlier, like
- You will give equal opportunities to people with disabilities
- Google will love you and your organic traffic will increase
- You will reach a wider audience
- You will kickstart your compliance with upcoming regulations
Just to mention a few.
WCAG: Guidelines to Web Content Accessibility
I’m not going to lie, compliance can be a complicated process. We are continuously working on our compliance. However, this process is well worth your time.
Essentially, the WCAG offered the following guidelines for website compliance.
Websites must be:
The website’s interface or information architecture must be designed in such a way that users are able to find what they’re looking for and process it. Elements that convey messages should therefore have clear labels so people can easily decipher them on your website.
The website should be usable. All functionality and navigation on the site should be accessible to visitors with disabilities and those who use assistive technology, so they can use it as intended by its creators and will not miss out by virtue of their disability.
The information and operation of the user interface must be clear and understandable by all users to ensure that everyone can use it equally well no matter what their abilities are.
The website and its content should be capable of adapting itself to support and be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
The WCAG defines three levels of compliance:
- Level A (minimal compliance)
- Level AA (medium compliance)
- Level AAA (optimal compliance).
How to Make Blogs and Websites ADA Compliant
To make your website fully ADA compliant and reap the benefits of enhancing your blogs in this way, you can start implementing these quick but very important and powerful changes to your website:
- Make your content easily readable and avoid abbreviations and tech jargon
- Break blocks of text down to easily legible sections.
- Add a subheading for each chunk of text which signals where to find the information.
- Avoid long paragraphs.
- Break down further using bullet points, lists, and bold or highlighted key phrases.
- Uso lots of white space and great colour contrast.
- Use easy-to-read fonts in a large size.
- Add Alt Text to all your images – unless they’re for decorative purposes only
- Add captions to your videos
- Make your website easy to navigate from different devices
- Ensure your navigation menu is fully responsive and consistent
- Avoid too many ads
To make sure you are fully WCAG ADA compliant, we recommend using a comprehensive ADA checklist. Although finding reliable checklists to follow can be a hassle, we offer an amazingly comprehensive one that can streamline your ADA process.
We Offer an Awesome Time-Saving ADA Compliance Checklist
With our checklist, making your website optimized, accessible, and legally compliant, has never been easier. Better yet, we include a BONUS ADA accessibility statement.
We make it easy to make your blogs accessible to everyone, no matter their abilities!
Plus, it comes with an Accessibility Statement Template. This plug-and-play Accessibility Statement Template alone is worth $100+!
You can read more about what we offer at the bottom of this post.
Can’t I just use a plugin?
Although our WCAG & ADA Compliance Checklist comes with a bonus list of tools and resources you can use to make your compliance easier, we recommend against using plugins, widgets, overlays, and toolbars.
While overlays and toolbars may seem like a great solution at first, they’re just a band-aid solution that doesn’t solve the real issue.
Members of our blogging community who use screen readers and other assistive technology have expressed their dissatisfaction with these plugins/overlays and have explained how they may, in reality, make it more difficult to access your content for those who have a disability or use assistive technology, defeating the purpose of providing accessibility and leaving you even more exposed to legal complications.
Although it may be a bit more time-consuming, our recommendation, therefore, is to work on your compliance manually or to outsource it to a good developer. Our checklist will make this process super easy.
BUT, this doesn’t mean that it will take you forever to make your website accessible. There are several tools that can help you speed up your compliance.
For example, we use Wave Video to add subtitles to all our videos. It literally takes a few seconds to autogenerate the subtitles and the AI is so accurate that the adjustments you will need to make are minimal.
Click here to check Wave Video out. It comes with so many other features that will make your marketing, social media, and content creation strategies so much easier.
And if you would like to use a comprehensive tool for your accessibility compliance, Userway is an amazing tool that comes with several benefits, including
- AI-Powered ADA Compliance
- Website Fraud Detection
- Alt Text Management in one place
- Broken Link Detection
- PDF Remediation Detection
- User Triggered Accessibility Buttons
- Industry Leading Support
- SEO Impact
You can get a completely free widget or you can start a free trial for the premium version.
Click here to get the FREE widget. Make sure you locate the “Looking for the free widget?” mention on the page.
What is a Website Accessibility Statement?
A website accessibility statement communicates key ADA information to the visitors of your site or blog. This statement shows that you have created your website in an accessibility-friendly way. It will also prove that you comply with ADA standards.
These statements exist for other reasons as well. They can be used to show users that you are committed to accessibility and a diverse online presence. Additionally, these statements further enhance your site’s accessibility and showcase various areas of opportunity to visitors.
By providing specific information on the website accessibility standards that your site adheres to, users will have an easier time navigating blogs, pages, images, videos, audio files, and more.
Get a Free ADA Accessibility Statement Template On Us
Although these statements can be time-consuming to create, we offer a free accessibility statement template with our ADA compliance checklist!
So, you can save time and make sure to cover all of the most important areas in your accessibility statement.
This done-for-you statement template is a value of $100!
By using our free, time-saving template tool, you can create a customized accessibility statement to further enhance your ADA compliance and communicate with visitors comprehensively.
Check Out The Best ADA Compliance Checklist and Complimentary Blog Accessibility Statement
Are you ready to make your website or pages of a blog ADA compliant? We can help! You can say goodbye to confusion and forget that overwhelmed feeling. Instead, welcome simplicity and peace of mind with our comprehensive time-saving ADA compliance tools!
No need to go down the Google rabbit hole or to spend hours deciphering complex and boring legalese. You can make your website optimized, accessible, and legally compliant easily! Just use our detailed checklist which covers it all.
We have done all the groundwork so that you don’t have to! In fact, over 30,000 podcasters, bloggers, life coaches, course creators, and online entrepreneurs from all over the world have found our online blogging and legal courses to be extraordinarily beneficial! Indeed, our legal templates let you create a range of policies, contracts, and pages for businesses. Many have benefited from the resources offered here!
What you will get:
• A Complete ADA Checklist
• A Done-for-you Accessibility Statement Template (value $100+),
• Various Tools & Resources to Make Compliance Easy (value $47)
• Priority Access to Private FB Group (36K+ members)
• Assistance with a Range of Other Key Services and Blog Classes
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