ADA Compliance for Websites

Creating an ADA Compliant Website

You’ve probably been hearing more and more about ADA compliance. It might have been on your to-do list this year to figure out what it means for your business and your website. And with the year soon drawing to a close, now’s as good a time as any to get to the bottom of it!

What is ADA compliance?

With regards to websites, ADA compliance generally means how accessible your website is to individuals with disabilities. There are legal implications of your website not being accessible, yet there is not one standard list of guidelines that, if followed, ensures total compliance. Sounds a little unfair, right?

We find it’s best to phrase the question differently. As opposed to asking “What do I need to do so I don’t get sued for having a non-compliant website” we think it’s more helpful to ask “How can I make my website more accessible for all my website visitors?”

Of course, we’re big fans of considering the user experience in all aspects of our work, so phrasing the question this way should come as no surprise. Whether we’re building a website, doing SEO, or running a marketing campaign, we always put ourselves in the user’s shoes when making decisions. If you put the user first, the rest usually follows rather easily.

How important is ADA compliance?

There have been cases where companies have been sued for non-compliance. Domino’s Pizza, for example, recently learned that lesson the hard way. You could be next. Or you could be safe.

Without clear and official rules, ADA compliance is tricky. It’s a bit of a moving target. But if you’re at least aiming somewhere near the target, you’ll be far better off than your competitors who aren’t even considering ADA compliance.

Again, if you think of your users—what you can do to make your site more accessible for everyone—you will probably be in good shape.

Examples of website accessibility

Here are a few examples to help demonstrate different aspects of accessibility:

Scenario 1
Someone with impaired vision might use a screen reader to dictate a website’s content to them. If your website has text in images, the screen reader won’t pick that up, and so this user won’t be able to access that content.


  • Don’t put text in images; instead display text as actual text on the website.
  • In cases where text in images can’t be avoided, use the “alt” tag on the image to specify what the text in the image says. (In fact, you should always use the “alt” tag to describe the image for screen readers, but it’s even more important when there is text in the image.)

Scenario 2
A person with color-blindness might not be able to see certain colors on your website. If there is not enough contrast between your text and background, this person might not be able to read it at all.


  • Ensure there is enough contrast between text and the background.
  • Use color-blind safe colors.

Scenario 3
Some people don’t use a mouse, and so certain elements of your website might be inaccessible to them.


  • Be sure that all elements of your website can be accessed via the keyboard, including tabbing/toggling between items.

In making your website more accessible for people with disabilities, you make your website more accessible for everyone. Some people simply prefer their keyboard to their mouse. Some people prefer to set their laptop screens darker to save battery power, and so increasing the contrast in colors on your site allows them to see better. Some people have a slower internet connection and images take longer to download; providing an alternate way to understand the images (via “alt” text) allows them to read even without images being displayed.

How to make your website ADA compliant

The examples above illustrate a handful of things you can do to improve your website’s accessibility. Additionally, while there isn’t one simple plugin that will automatically fix everything for you, there are a few plugins out there that review your site, point out potential issues, and provide recommendations for improvement. It’s still up to you (or your web developer) to resolve each issue, but the plugins can help identify weak points.

You can also review all the WCAG guidelines for more specifics.


While there are no hard and fast rules for ADA compliance, there are certainly things you can do to make your website more accessible. Doing so not only decreases your risk of getting in trouble for non-compliance, it (more importantly) is a great way to improve the experience for ALL users of your website.

If you’d like an ADA compliance assessment of your website, contact us! We’ve improved accessibility on many websites and would be happy to review yours.

Categories:Web Design

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