The Americans With Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 to help ensure disabled people would have access to employment, public accommodations, transportation, and commercial businesses. It was amended in 2009 to broaden the number of people protected from discrimination.There is no complete list of disabilities recognized by ADA legislation. Still, several common health conditions can make it harder to consume content online. Some of your users are no doubt affected by concerns like these:
- Visual impairments, including blindness
- Hearing difficulties, including deafness
- Fine motor control impairment
- Attention and focus issues
When you’re building a WordPress website, ADA compliance might not be the first thing on your mind. Aside from being the right thing to do, it’s also a wise move for your business: When you make your website more accessible, you grow your potential audience by millions of people. Consider these simple ADA compliance changes:
1. Visual Impairment: People with profound visual impairment use screen readers to navigate the internet, so be sure your site is compatible with them. Always use meta tags to describe images in detail. Users with some remaining eyesight can benefit from a high-contrast viewing mode.
2. Hearing Impairment: Hearing impairment affects a user’s ability to enjoy video content. All content should have full subtitles. Consider making the subtitles accessible in a separate file, too – some people prefer to read the subtitles and then look at the visual content.
3. Epilepsy: Epileptic seizures can be caused by flashing lights and strobe effects. Design your videos to minimize or eliminate these. If you must use flashing lights, include a clear warning on the page near the video and in the first few seconds of footage. Disable auto-play for videos.
4. Fine Motor Impairment: Many people with fine motor impairment have special input devices they use to navigate interfaces. Following Web design best practices makes it easier for them to get around. A responsive website that adjusts to the user’s display and input device is best.
5. Attention and Focus: Be mindful of the effects of ads and auto-playing multimedia on user experience. Try to avoid video ads that suddenly “burst” out of the text the user is reading or follow around the page. Simple, motion-free ads at the end of blog posts are usually best.