Janet Peischel’s The Internet Marketer: How ADA-compliant is your website? | Business

Would it surprise you to know that some big brands have been sued over website accessibility? Think Amazon, Burger King and Hulu.

Janet Peischel

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Public- and private-sector construction projects must meet ADA Title II and III requirements to make them accessible to those with disabilities. While the Americans with Disabilities Act does not clearly address the question of online accessibility, our websites are often considered as part of our businesses.

Some 25% of US adults live with disabilities

Many websites lack accessibility features. That means millions of Americans are struggling to use the web — that’s a lot of missed opportunities. ADA-based web accessibility lawsuits are steadily increasing; There were more than 2,000 filed in federal courts in 2019.

Things you can do now to optimize your website

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I recently worked on a client’s website to optimize it for accessibility. There’s a lot that you can do yourself — you don’t need to be a techie.

1. Add alt text to all of your images

Images and other graphic elements can be an accessibility barrier to blind users and those with impaired vision who often have to rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers.

Alt text fields are where you can key in detailed descriptions of images

With alt text, those with limited vision may not be able to see the image, but they will be able to see the description and understand what this image is contributing to the story.

Alt tags are important for everyone — we’ve all pulled up content on our phones or other devices where the image doesn’t show up — but the alt tag still communicates with us.

One more thing: Be sure to label your image file with more descriptive data.

A word about infographics

Some of these are very detailed, with tiny text that’s nearly impossible to read. Think about your audience as you create these.

People with low vision often can’t read small text sizes, and they have to use specific font settings when browsing your website.

Offering an alternate style sheet with the ability to enlarge the font size without breaking your page layout makes it easier for them to read your content. Make sure your call-to-action buttons have a larger font size and are clearly visible to people with impaired vision.

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3. Color contrasts become important

Color and contrast become important elements for those with impaired vision. Create a high contrast between the foreground and background.

• Thin fonts—they’re hard for everyone to read, not just those with impaired vision.

• JavaScript features that prevent visually impaired users from increasing the contrast.

• Reverse type—white text on dark background.

• Italics, which are very difficult to read.

• Combinations like green text on a red background and vice versa.

4. Focus on keyboard navigation

Those who are visually impaired can’t use a mouse, so focus on keyboard navigation. HTML links, buttons, and form fields have to be deployed to make your website keyboard-accessible.

Call me to talk about making your website more ADA-accessible. Contact Janet at 510-292-1843 or jpeischel@top-mindmarketing.com.


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