Factors that need to be considered when creating a WordPress site include SEO compatibility, design, and more. One of the most important yet overlooked factors that need to be considered is ADA compliance. For your WordPress site to be optimized for a wider audience, it needs to comply with the ADA standards.
What Is ADA Compliance?
ADA is short for American with Disabilities Act. The act, passed in 1990, is a United States federal law aimed to protect individuals with all disabilities. The ADA provides protection from discrimination in many of the same ways as the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
However, what does ADA compliance have to do with your WordPress site? One of the goals of the ADA is to provide people with disabilities better accommodation and convenience. You can do this by eliminating barriers that may make it hard for people with disabilities to access your website.
The internet has become an essential utility for most people around the world. The essential nature of the internet has caused the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to reassess the ADA in regards to the internet. The DOJ now wants people to consider the virtual barriers that a website can have that may impede accessibility. This decision makes considering ADA compliance an important factor when creating and designing a WordPress site.
Why Website ADA Compliance Matters
An estimated one billion people across the globe deal with some form of disability. And like everyone else, people with disabilities interact and use the internet to do their daily tasks and meet their important needs. Website and content creators on the internet need to make sure that their sites accessible to all members of the community.
It is worth noting, however, that the ADA law does not specifically state whether it applies to all websites. However, due to issues that have surfaced, including the Winn-Dixie case, most website creators need to know how to make their content ADA compliant.
In the Winn-Dixie case, the judge stated his position was that the site was not able to accommodate and make it accessible to customers like Gil. Because of this, the site was deemed guilty of violating the ADA law.
It is because of this case and listening to the needs of the community that website creators find they need to make their content accessible to people with disabilities. Both small and large websites have heard the need for accessibility and are heading the call.
Benefits of Making Your WordPress Site ADA Compliant
Creating a compliant website isn’t a burden, there are also several benefits of making your WordPress ADA compliant.
Benefit 1. Improve SEO Ranking
By making your WordPress ADA compliant you can improve your website’s SEO ranking. When you make your website more accessible to others, you make your site more easily readable by web crawlers. Web crawlers will often read compliant behavior like ALT-text for images as making your website more accessible to readers and will help in your ranking.
Benefit 2. Avoiding Court
Another benefit of making your WordPress ADA compliant is that it costs less than having to deal with court trials that might come should your website be inaccessible to someone with a disability. These costs can be very large and avoiding them is simple.
Benefit 3. Reach a Wider Audience
You will also reach a larger audience by making your WordPress ADA compliant. You include everyone from all walks of life. Making your website accessible opens your business to many new and valuable customers.
Benefit 4. Help Your Community
Making your website ADA compliant benefits your community because it makes your site helpful to the members of your community that have disabilities. You allow them to interact with you on an approachable level which builds your standing as a helpful leader in your community.
Benefit 5. Show Leadership
By making your WordPress site ADA compliant, you will give your clients the idea that you care about the community and you are willing to help anyone access your content. This type of behavior is most commonly associated with leadership and people will look to you as a leader in the community because of taking action on your website.
How to Make Your WordPress ADA Compliant
Making your WordPress site ADA compliant doesn’t have to be hard. You can easily ensure that your site is compliant by taking the time to follow the following 10 easy tips to give every one of your visitors an engaging experience.
1. Install an ADA Compliance Plugin
One of the easiest yet most effective ways of making your WordPress site ADA compliant is to install an ADA compliance plugin. Making use of a WordPress accessibility plugin, like WP Accessibility, that allows you to make modifications to your website for compliance issues. These plugins can also incorporate other features such as skip links and embedding ALT elements onto images on the site.
Also, there are several other plugin add ons that will further improve ADA compliance. One useful add on is WCAG 2.0 which makes gravity forms from your site to be ADA compliant. Another useful add on is the Divi accessibility tool for the theme framework.
2. Create Readable Content
All WordPress sites should make readable content, but it is even more important for accessibility needs. To make your WordPress site more ADA compliant you should do a few things, including:
- Use shorter sentences
- Adjust column widths and font sizes
- Avoid background colors that blend with the text
- Improve contrast
Use Shorter Sentences
When writing, it is best to use shorter sentences that are between seven and 10 words. Not only does this help your content to be more readable for people with disabilities but it helps with keeping your text scannable.
Adjust Column Widths and Font Sizes
You can also make adjustments for the column width and font sizes this will help readers to be able to see the text easier. Furthermore, you can use media queries to customize the texts on your site to make it easier to read on mobile devices.
Avoid Background Colors that Blend with the Text
Make sure the texts on your site are not imposed on a background color that has alpha transparency. When this isn’t considered, it can cause an error to appear when running the site. Doing this will make your site more ADA compliant. Instead of using background colors with alpha transparency, we suggest using a more stable hexadecimal number code.
Another tip to making your website more accessible to people with disabilities is to improve the contrast of your pages to make them more readable. You do this by making the text and background colors so that the text is distinguishable from the background.
You can use the WP Accessibility plugin to test the contrast of your text against your background. The plugin will even allow you to test out a variety of font colors to match with other background colors to find a scheme that works well for you.
3. Add ALT Text to Images
When designing your WordPress site, make sure to add ALT tags to all the images you place on your blogs and posts. Not only does this help your site with Google, but it also helps your website become more ADA compliant.
Using the WP Accessibility plugin, you will be automatically reminded that you need to place ALT texts to the images on your site. Without ALT text, your images will be tagged as decorative and will not be considered as an added value to your site’s pages.
4. Reconsider Third-Party Integration
Whenever you integrate third-party features on your WordPress site, make sure that what you are including is compliant to ADA standards. Often, third-party features can diminish the complacency of your WordPress site in terms of ADA standards.
One example is embedding social media posts, like those from Facebook or Twitter, into your website. This feature, while nice, can cause a few problems. The most common problem is that it will have different links redirect to the same destination.
Another common issue is the fact that social media sites don’t usually have ALT tags on images and other types of media. Moreover, I-frame applications are very difficult to become ADA compliant because of the limited access to the codes.
If you must add videos from Vimeo or Youtube, you might want to consider adding transcriptions to them. Adding subtitles and captions on your videos will make the videos more accessible and helps with your WordPress’ ADA compliance.
If you are having trouble transcribing your videos, there are a few websites that you can visit that will help you for a fee. The most common website is, Rev. However, you can also make use of Youtube’s built-in closed captioning feature. It is important to remember that the computerized closed captioning will not work as well as professional transcription.
5. Use Clear, Unique Calls-to-Action
While this feature will make your WordPress more ADA compliant, it will also help all your customers to take action quickly. When you use a call to action link, try to give the link unique text.
Instead of writing “Learn More”, try to write something like “Learn More About Feature X.” Doing this will help people to understand exactly what they are clicking on and will not only make your WordPress ADA compliant but more engaging as well.
6. Check Your Site with the WAVE Browser Extension
To use WAVE, you download the extension and enable it on your browser. You then run the extension and it will show you a page with possible errors or areas of improvement. Do not panic when you see a lot of errors, this is a common situation. WAVE will help guide you to fix the problems on your site.
When you are attempting to make your WordPress ADA compliant, you need to aim for WCAG 2.0/Level AA. With this evaluation, you need to fix level A issues while also taking a look at Level AAA issues. To reach this level, you may need to make some improvements and changes to your site. Whatever you do, make sure to make the necessary changes before you launch your website.
7. Avoid Media Autoplay
Often when a website integrates media, they will set it to autoplay. When a site has autoplay enabled it will cause media, like videos, to autoplay when the site is loaded or when the reader scrolls past the media.
This can be annoying to all members of your audience but especially those with disabilities. Most people do not want a video to play suddenly as they are reading, so be sure to disable autoplay when you embed or add videos and other media into your website.
8. Make Your WordPress Site Keyboard Friendly
The contents on your WordPress site should be made to be conveniently accessible by using the keyboard. This can be done if you are sure to keep the texts easy to read and all the options accessible with a simple press of the enter button or a click of the mouse button.
Having a keyboard friendly website will allow your audience with low-visibility or motor skill impairments the ability to easily navigate your pages. This makes your website more useful to them and improves their quality of life.
9. Use Clear Labels for Form Fields
One of the most important key points you need to consider is to use clear labels for form fields. You can make use of the WordPress accessibility helper to evaluate all your forms. Moreover, all of the forms embedded on your website should be visibly labeled outside of the form field.
10. Use Header Tags To Structure Your Content Correctly
It is also important to consistently layout your content, this helps with the overall readability of your content and also the accessibility of your site. When you arrange your content, make sure that you place header tags to give the writing a clear and easy to read structure.
To make sure your website is ADA compliant, check your website and have it evaluated to see if it meets the standards and recommendations for the ADA law. The recommendations are stated and decided by the WCAG or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. You need to make it a habit to consider these guidelines in the long run.
To make your WordPress ADA compliant contact Ideamakr today.