When you hear or see “ADA Compliance,” you might think of safety products like ramps instead of stairs going up to a building or wider doorways and lower sinks for people in wheelchairs. But did you know that ADA Compliance, as opposed to ADA Standards, applies to websites? As a builder (with an important website!) the following information is good to know.
What’s ADA Web Compliance?
Let’s start at the beginning: if you aren’t sure, ADA Compliance is part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, which was published by the Department of Justice in September 2010. While ADA Standards refer to the design and construction of buildings to accommodate those with physical disabilities, ADA Compliance refers to websites to accommodate those with visual impairment.
What’s It All About?
Specific software reads the words on a webpage out loud to visually impaired people. But when that software comes across an image or graphic on your website, it cannot “describe” the image without text — therefore, the person is left not knowing what the image or graphic is all about. This is where alt text comes in. Essentially, alt text puts words to a picture, and tells Google and any other type of software what that picture is and represents.
Here’s What You Can Do…
Alt text has two great advantages: 1. It allows a visually impaired person to have any image or graphic described to them. 2. It can positively impact your SEO results.
When you add the proper alt text to all of your images, your visually impaired audience can hear what’s “going on” in them. As you upload a graphic, all you have to do is go into the alt tag and type whatever represents the picture (i.e. “kitchen of the Juniper floor plan,” “$10,000 in closing costs”). Essentially, alt text explains an image so that anyone can be aware of it.
Not to mention, Google is now “rewarding” websites for having proper alt text by ranking them higher in search results. Therefore, going over your website and ensuring that images are set up the right way should be a standard part of your SEO strategy. This not only benefits you — it benefits your audience.