Around 15 percent of the total population has some form of disability – that’s hundreds of millions of people that may not be able to access your site if it isn’t ADA-compliant.
While a noncompliant site may be acceptable to someone without disabilities, the millions of users who rely on screen readers, color manipulation and other functionalities could miss out on experiencing the website entirely. And let’s face it: a great user experience for only some people isn’t really a great user experience.
ADA compliance testing helps companies ensure users of all abilities can access their website, improving the user experience across the board – not just for those without disabilities.
- Help Users Process and Interact with Content
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) help companies ensure their websites meet ADA standards. WCAG defines four guiding principles to determine a website’s accessibility: content should be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.
Let’s break each of those down.
- Perceivable: Can the user see, hear or otherwise identify and experience content?
- Operable: Can the user interact with the material, including scrolling, navigating to sub-pages and making selections?
- Understandable: Is the content clear? Are there alternate ways to interpret content, such as alt-text, captioning and other methods?
- Robust: Is the content comprehensive to a wide variety of users?
Falling short of even one of these components can damage the user experience, generating negative brand associations – not to mention putting the company in danger of a noncompliance lawsuit.
Fortunately, ADA compliance testing helps companies ensure their website meets these four criteria, forming the backbone of a positive experience for users of all abilities.
2. Make Websites Customizable
Web content accessibility standards require a certain level of user input and control to ensure wide-reaching accessibility. For example, users should be able to choose to use a keyboard instead of a mouse, zoom to the magnification most comfortable to them and select color settings that best fit their needs.
Note that capabilities like these rely on a foundation of strong development practices. Anything from incorrectly tagged elements to conveying meaning with color can hinder accessibility functionality. By contrast, a thoughtfully developed site makes implementing accessibility a breeze.
Once in place, ADA-compliant settings create a website environment tailored to each user. What’s more, the benefits of customizable experiences are two-fold: users appreciate when brands consider individual needs as well as the ability to experience websites precisely the way they’d like.
ADA compliance testing ensures websites give users the accessibility settings they need. Better yet, once users configure the site, their browser can remember those settings, making it easier for them to visit your website over and over.
3. Drive a Clear Brand Message
When websites are fully accessible to users, they’re able to communicate more clearly and consistently. ADA-compliant sites, therefore, can convey messaging and brand values to more users better than those with only one standard interface.
A website that falls short of ADA specifications might, for example, demonstrate product benefits with color-coded graphs or explain its company philosophy using only video. Users who process color, moving visuals or audio differently might not perceive or understand these messages, missing core components of the brand’s identity.
Brand identity is critical to cultivating a strong following. Companies who fail to communicate their core identity and messaging effectively miss significant opportunities to make a positive impression on potential customers.
Manual and automated ADA compliance testing can help ensure messaging and positioning come across correctly in web content for users of all abilities. Automated compliance testing can check the functionality of many accessibility settings, and manual checks provide a more thorough accessibility assessment, ensuring a coherent and consistent message.
4. User Feedback Drives Ongoing UX Improvements
WCAG 2.0 recommends websites include an easy means for users to submit feedback, flagging any non-compliant or inaccessible page elements. This helps sites continuously improve and stay ADA-compliant over time.
Direct user feedback helps developers identify usability issues they may not have noticed otherwise, driving more thorough compliance assurance. Further, an option to submit feedback demonstrates a company’s commitment to delivering a great experience and helps make websites more user-friendly over time.
Note: Companies should make sure someone monitors and addresses user feedback regularly. Submitting feedback with no response or evidence of a fix is about as frustrating as not having any option to submit feedback at all.
Grow Customer Base and Support Inclusion with ADA Compliance Testing
Consumers let their values guide their brand engagement and purchasing decisions. Demonstrating commitment to ADA compliance helps cultivate a loyal following of customers and opens the door to millions of users who rely on alternate functionality to experience websites.
Position your company as an advocate for inclusion! Start improving your website’s user experience for everyone with our free website accessibility checker.