The internet is a constantly evolving gateway to new opportunities for consumers to access information and organizations to communicate with intended audiences. Recent news and industry discussions have brought heightened awareness to ensure company websites are accessible to people with disabilities.
The American Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that guarantees people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life. This law includes the use of technology and websites, with a set of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines created to determine if a website is ADA-compliant and what level of conformance it meets. There are three levels of compliance in the guidelines: A, AA and AAA. The accepted standard for compliance is level AA.
The ultimate goal of the ADA is to offer an online experience that is user-friendly and accessible to all. Some of the key focus areas for the ADA to achieve this include:
- Visually impaired — blind to very poor eyesight
- Color blindness — red/green
- Motor skill issues — mouse not usable
- Hearing impaired — need closed captioning
Why should you care?
Making your websites ADA-compliant will not only benefit your customers, it will also benefit your community. The experience of an enhanced website can expand your audience, provide a more positive user experience, and attract future residents to your community.
What is GlynnDevins doing to stay on top of this for clients?
GlynnDevins has a team of associates focused on user experience and user interface design. Our associates monitor user interaction and online behavior patterns using a combination of diagnostic tools to determine what is, and what isn’t, working. This allows us to effectively assess your website and remove or mitigate barriers to provide the best and most accessible user experience possible.
We’ve identified a list of common accessibility standards that will also improve usability for a specific audience’s needs. This is based on a hierarchy of importance related to the user experience and best practices for audiences visiting senior living community websites.
Some key areas that GlynnDevins is focused on for enhanced compliance include:
- Building clear and consistent navigation
- Using easy-to-read fonts
- Ensuring PDF files are saved as OCR-ready (Optical Character Recognition).
- We’ll take measures to convert a PDF to searchable (real) text that can be navigated by assistive technology.
- Including a site map
- Using color and contrast for optimal visibility
- Validating pages and stylesheets
- Using HTML markup to provide semantic information
- Including alt text for images and graphics that convey information
- Providing transcripts and captions for video and time-based media
- Making it easy to click on items within the websites
GlynnDevins has also worked with an outside expert to assist with accessibility standards, necessary policies and general best practices around ADA compliance related to websites.
The goal is to continue to find ways to better serve the entire senior living market and offer an optimal online experience. Achieving ADA compliance is an important element in accomplishing this goal.