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City of San Diego Website Standards: What’s in it?
In the sunny city of San Diego, your website might need more modification than you think. There are government, ADA standards that your website needs to follow.
Some businesses have faced lawsuits for large amounts of money just because they didn’t comply with a few of these standards.
In this article we’ll talk about the different types of standards you’ll need to implement. You don’t want to have to worry about getting hit with a lawsuit. A quick way to check if you’re website is up to ADA standards is to use this link.
DISCLAIMER: This site tells you what’s wrong with your code, and not necessarily a holistic view of ADA compliance. To understand if your site is facing serious compliance issues, you should talk to a consultant who can manually review your site.
If your website isn’t up to ADA standards, you could face a fine up to $75,000. Don’t worry, though, it’s not that difficult to create a website that follows ADA regulations. You just need to make sure your website is accessible to people with disabilities, use descriptive links, and translate your content into forms anyone can easily digest. If you’re looking for a group of professionals to take care of this for you, contact our San Diego Digital Agency.
Usability and Accessibility
The first component to accessibility is ensuring your website can be navigated using just a keyboard. People with various forms of impairments don’t use computer mouses if they can’t see, so your website has to follow this protocol. One example would be allowing people to change tabs with Shift + Tab to move either forward or backward on a page.
Other common problems with accessibility include:
- Using a keyboard to click links and images
- Using a keyboard to select and unselect various drop-down menus
- Closing out dialogue boxes
- Simple page scrolling and navigation
- Adjusting widgets, sliders, and other HTML elements allows the keyboard to navigate them
Put yourself in their shoes. If you weren’t able to access a site easily and freely, wouldn’t that be frustrating? That’s why ADA compliance is important to follow. Inclusive design can be elusive to most businesses. User experience designers are supposed to take care of these issues, but it’s not always guaranteed. It’s paramount to include real people when you’re designing or updating your site. By real people, I mean people who understand ADA compliance or people who will actively use their keyboard to browse your site. A broad definition of usability and accessibility can be found here.
Whether you’re just developing a site currently or looking to give your current site a facelift, our San Diego Web Development Agency can help you follow ADA compliance, and give your site a reconstruction.
If someone isn’t able to see their screen, they’re going to need to be able to read an alternative description of an image. That’s where the alternative text comes into play. You’ll want to use proper contrast and color value for visually impaired users. In addition, your site should include alternate texts that describe the image.
Alternate texts should be descriptive, accurate representations of the image. A good rule of thumb to provide better alternate texts is to include the following: the focal point or highlights of the image, the setting of the image, and the details of the image. If one of these doesn’t apply to an image on your site, feel free to omit it. You should always try to be as descriptive as possible.
Links and Forms
Similar to images, links and forms also need their own set of descriptions and accessibility functions. For links, you’ll want to include a specific description of the link and the page it leads to. Instead of using “Click Here,” you could say “More information on…”
In addition, your text links shouldn’t directly target images. If you’re using an image link that links to a larger image, you’ll want to include a further description in the alt attribute section. You might be sitting there and thinking, “I don’t know what any of that means.” That’s perfectly fine, because if you’re not a software developer that might sound like a foreign language. Schedule a free consultation with our San Diego Software Development Agency to diagnose your problems and understand your ADA compliance further.
Another component to links is Mailto links. They must be coded so harvesting emails is limited. Also, the MailTo links should display the email address to allow for copy/pasting. Within HTML, your links need to display the descriptive text when hovered over. This allows people to see the description through various methods.
As for forms, they must be coded in a way that allows for people with assisted technology to fill them out. Your forms should include input validation and make other typical form functions available for those using assisted technology. Personal information collected in forms should be stored on a secure server. Crawlers looking to pick up information won’t be able to access names, email addresses, and other private information on the secure server.
Why You Should Care About ADA Compliance?
Lawsuits regarding ADA compliance have been steadily increasing over the past few years. In 2019, it was 2,900 companies, and in 2020, it was 3,500 companies who faced lawsuits for ADA compliance. Companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Nike have all been hit with fines for not following the most basic forms of ADA compliance. And it doesn’t stop with large corporations.
Small businesses, too, have been hit with lawsuits. Staying proactive on these issues has the potential to save you thousands in the long term. Not only is it the right thing to do, but you could potentially lose out on hundreds of customers if your site isn’t compliant. It’s imperative to take action now. Whether you’re looking for practical tips on how to fix your compliance issues, or just want to have it taken care of by experts, you’ll want to take a further look into how you can improve your site’s accessibility.