Designing an ADA-Compliant WordPress Site: Tips and Best Practices
When creating a WordPress site, it’s important to focus on aspects such as load speed, page layouts, navigation, and SEO elements. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is ADA compliance. ADA compliance refers to making your website accessible to users with disabilities. In this article, we’ll define ADA compliance, explain why it’s important, and provide tips and best practices for designing an ADA-compliant WordPress site.
Defining ADA Compliance
Website accessibility is the practice of improving website access for users with disabilities. ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, is a federal law that requires information and digital technology to be readily accessible to any U.S. citizen with a disability. While similar to Section 508 standards, the ADA applies broadly to organizations, both public and private.
Easy Tips for an ADA-Compliant WordPress Site
To design an ADA-compliant WordPress site, it’s important to keep accessibility standards in mind throughout the entire design and build process. Here are some tips to follow:
1. Pay attention to color contrast: Websites must maintain a color contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 if they’re using text under 18pt on their backgrounds and foregrounds. For any two colors on a site’s background and foreground using text that’s 18pt or greater, that contrast ratio must be 3:1.
2. Include fallback colors: Make sure to add fallback colors to your WordPress site’s panels and add alt text for images. Consider including descriptive text at the top of your images.
3. Create an intuitive menu design: Make sure your menu design has multiple options for navigation. Check all menus for accessibility and usability on desktop and mobile.
4. Include search functionality: Most themes will have a search icon already included as part of the header design. If not, add a search widget to your site’s sidebar or footer.
5. Include a feedback form: Include a feedback form from your site’s footer to accept accessibility feedback and create other forms for your site.
Cultivate Content that’s Readable
Readability is a big hurdle to overcome when it comes to ADA compliance. Aim for around seven to ten words per content line and make adjustments to font sizes and column widths. Use media queries to adjust text on mobile devices. Google’s “Material Design” is a standardized design that focuses heavily on readability.
Embrace Reliable Best Practices
To ensure ADA compliance, embrace proven best practices for accessibility. Take stock of the content on your WordPress site and decide whether you can create alternative outputs that can replace your existing media content, such as images and videos. Ensure that your text maintains a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 or higher and can be resized up to 200%. For physically impaired visitors and visitors using screen readers, ensure your website has a logical tab path and clear tab focus style to allow easy navigation.
Creating an ADA-compliant WordPress site is a big task, but it’s important for your brand. Being ADA-compliant can boost your site’s visibility among Google’s results pages, prevent costly ADA-related lawsuits, and increase the likelihood of cultivating a broader audience of customers. Invest in ADA compliance to do right by your visitors dealing with disabilities and invest in your brand for the long run.