Website Accessibility Checklist: Make Your Small Business Website ADA Compliant


In case your website isn’t easy to make use of, you’re not only frustrating your potential and current customers. Google and other engines like google are more likely to use it as a strike against you when determining search engine rankings in your content. 

You would like your website to be easy to navigate and find information regardless of the flexibility of your visitors. Google’s complex algorithms can pick up on certain website accessibility features (which we’ll discuss in this text). If these features contribute to a positive user experience, they’ll aid you rank higher in search results. 

In this text, we’ll talk concerning the importance of website accessibility because it pertains to being ADA and WCAG-compliant. Then we’ll offer you the checklist we use for our website design clients to assist them boost their website accessibility. 

What’s website accessibility?

Website accessibility is about how user-friendly your website is in your visitors. It means ensuring there aren’t any barriers in your web site design, content, or navigation that may prevent someone with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, or socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed, from having a positive experience in your website. 

Foremost, it’s to make sure your website is straightforward to make use of. Secondly, it’s considered one of the aspects that Google uses to find out where to rank pages in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). The goal of Google’s algorithm is to search out the very best website matches for a given user search. Along with over 200 aspects Google uses in scoring and rating your site, features related to ease of use and accessibility are included and highly favoured. 

Listed here are 7 ways you may improve the usability of your website at once

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that “prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all private and non-private places which might be open to most of the people.” It was established to make sure equal opportunity for all, no matter ability.

The ADA law requires that some web sites, including US-based state and native governments and businesses open to the general public, be accessible to everyone, including anyone with a disability. 

C-81 Accessibility Act (Canada)

The Government of Canada introduced Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier free Canada. Their goal is to make Canada barrier-free by 2040 in several priority areas, including communications and web sites digital content in Canada.  

Currently, the bill applies to government and federally regulated organizations, but they act pretty much as good guidelines and goals for any Canadian website. 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

More globally-recognized website accessibility standards are set within the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). They apply to web sites globally, including the US, European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Israel. 

WCAG breaks website accessibility into 4 focus areas: 

  1. Perceivable: Regarding the convenience of finding and reading content in your site.  
  2. Operable: Regarding navigating and using your website. 
  3. Comprehensible: Regarding the user’s ability to know the content in your site. 
  4. Robust: Support and compatibility with current and future user and accessibility tools. 

WCAG also breaks down each accessibility into three categories:

  • Level A: Most urgent to repair. These issues can severely limit a disabled visitor’s ability to make use of your website.
  • Level AA: Issues rooted within the functionality of your website (this can be a goal standard for many industrial web sites).
  • Level AAA: Maximized accessibility. This is commonly difficult for many web sites to realize. 

Checklist: The right way to make your website ADA Compliant

Creating an ADA-compliant website isn’t a posh task. The more you may do, the higher your visitors’ website experiences can be, no matter their ability. Your goal is to be as accommodating as possible for those with visual, auditory, cognitive, physical and speech impairments.

If you happen to’re embarking on a project to extend ADA compliance in your website, follow this checklist:

  • Enable keyboard navigation: Users who can’t use a mouse can still jump between elements and links in your page. 
  • Ensure adequate contrast for legibility: Make sure you’re using a color palette with maximum contrast between colors (i.e., don’t use yellow text for hyperlinks on a white background because it may be difficult to tell apart between the colors). Do this Color Contrast Checker to see in case your brand colors have enough contrast. 
  • Select colors which might be legible to individuals with color blindness or low vision: Or include written color names next to colors (equivalent to in a web-based store where customers select a shirt color from a swatch list). 
  • Use easy-to-read fonts: These standard fonts include Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana. 
  • Test forms for accessibility, use labels and inline messaging: Ensure your forms may be filled out by users on various devices (smartphones, computers, tablets), keyboard-only, on smartphones, and people using dictation technology.
  • Make alternative formats available for video and audio content: You should utilize a web-based service like to transcribe audio files to create transcriptions. Also, embed subtitles in your videos. 
  • Write descriptive alt text for images: Screen readers will read this text to the visitor, so be sure that the content clearly describes the image or adds value to the page. 
  • Use heading tags to prepare content hierarchically: Use heading styles to interrupt up your page, and don’t use them for other text styling or textual emphasis. Use CSS Styles for character styles beyond headers. 
  • Hyperlinks must have descriptive anchor text: Avoid hyperlinking phrases like “click here.” As a substitute, hyperlink sentence parts that accurately describe where the visitor will go when clicking the link (equivalent to the page name, file name, or website name).
  • Use row and column headers in tables: Use identifiers for rows, columns, and cells for clarity for screen reader devices. 
  • Include Website accessibility page: Write a brief page letting people find out about your commitment to ADA accessibility in your website. 
  • Use lists and bullets: Breaking up lists of three or more items into bulleted or numbered lists may also help with readability and makes for easier scanning. 
  • Accessibility for other file types: Consider accessibility and readability for other files and content in your web sites, equivalent to PDFs, videos, forms, audio files, and other interactive elements.
  • Call-to-action buttons are accessible: Within the code, ensure each call-to-action button has an accessible name and text on the button itself. 

Does your website NEED to be ADA Compliant?

While it’s helpful to be as ADA-compliant as possible, it’s not a legal requirement for all businesses. Some state and provincial guidelines do require it, though. All the time check together with your local jurisdiction regarding the laws that apply to you, or air on the side of caution and make your website accessible anyway.  

Whether mandatory for your online business or not, a non-compliant website may suffer in search engine rankings. So, it’s to your profit to make your website as friendly and accessible as possible. 

Out-Smarts helped make the Vancouver International Children’s Festival website more friendly and inclusive. In 2020, we worked with the Patient Voices Network to modernize their website and improve accessibility for people of diverse abilities.

When’s the very best time to make your website compliant? 

Compliance needs to be considered when designing your brand and website initially (as it may affect your brand colors and design selections). Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean you may apply accessibility updates later. 

If you happen to’d like your website to be updated to fulfill ADA or WCAG website accessibility guidelines, the net team at Out-Smarts Marketing may also help. Not only can we do the geeky-technical stuff within the back end of your existing website, but our team of copywriters and marketing experts can ensure your website content is easy-to-scan and straightforward to know. 

Call us today, and we’ll aid you make your website accessible to everyone, whether or not they have a disability or not. 


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