By Erica Statly
ADA stands for the American Disabilities Act, which was published under the Standards for Accessible Design in 1990. The purpose of the law is to protect people with disabilities. While this law was created with physical barriers in mind, as the world continues to evolve, accessibility for disabled people is now a topic for internet users.
Several companies have experienced lawsuits in the past few years due to lack of accessibility. People with disabilities are suing based on the premise that they are unable to use these websites, because they do not accommodate their specific disability. By using this checklist, you can avoid many issues surrounding web accessibility and your website.
The ADA Compliance Website Checklist
The following 26 checklist items were taken from the official Chapter 5 Title II ADA Compliance Checklist.
Accessibility Checklist For Current Web Pages & Content
- Does the top of each page with navigation links have a “skip navigation” link?
- Do all links have a text description that can be read by a screen reader (not just a graphic or “click here”)?
- Do all of the photographs, maps, graphics and other images on the website currently have HTML tags (such as an “alt” tag or a long description tag) with text equivalents of the material being visually conveyed?
- Are all of the documents posted on your website available in HTML or another text-based format (for example, rich text format (RTF) or word processing format), even if you are also providing them in another format, such as Portable Document Format (PDF)?
- If your website has online forms, do HTML tags describe all of the controls (including all text fields, check boxes, drop-down lists, and buttons) that people can use in order to complete and submit the forms?
- If your website has online forms, does the default setting in drop-down lists describe the information being requested instead of displaying a response option (e.g., “your age” instead of “18 – 21”)?
- If a web page has data charts or tables, is HTML used to associate all data cells with column and row identifiers?
- Do all video files on your website have audio descriptions of what is being displayed to provide access to visually convey information for people who are blind or have low vision?
- Do all video files on your website have written captions of spoken communication synchronized with the action to provide access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing?
- Do all audio files on your website have written captions of spoken communication synchronized with the action to provide access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing?
- Have all webpages been designed so they can be viewed using visitors’ web browser and operating system settings for color and font?
Check these items off your list
Accessibility Checklist for Policies & Procedures
- Do you have a written policy on website accessibility?
- Is the website accessibility policy posted on your website in a place where it can be easily located?
- Have procedures been developed to ensure that content is not added to your website until it has been made accessible?
- Does the website manager check the HTML of all new webpages to confirm accessibility before the pages are posted?
- When documents are added to your website in PDF format, are text-based versions of the documents (e.g., HTML, RTF, or word processing format) added at the same time as the PDF versions?
- Have in-house staff and contractors received information about the website accessibility policy and procedures to ensure website accessibility?
- Have in-house and contractor staff received appropriate training on how to ensure the accessibility of your website?
- Have in-house and contractor staff who create web content or post it on your website received copies of the Department of Justice’s technical assistance document “Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities”?
- If your website contains inaccessible content, is a specific written plan including timeframes in place now to make all of your existing web content accessible?
- Have you posted on your website a plan to improve website accessibility and invited suggestions for improvements?
- Does your website home page include easily locatable information, including a telephone number and email address, for use in reporting website accessibility problems and requesting accessible services and information?
- Do you have procedures in place to assure a quick response to website visitors with disabilities who are having difficulty accessing information or services available via the website?
- Have you asked disability groups representing people with a wide variety of disabilities to provide feedback on the accessibility of your website?
- Have you tested your website using one of the products available on the Internet to test website accessibility?
- Are alternative ways of accessing web-based information, programs, activities, and services available for people with disabilities who cannot use computers?
Take the time to ensure your website fully accessible to internet publics by using our checklist. Use Accessible Metrics to automatically scan your website monthly for ADA compliance.