ADA Website Compliance Checklist

Sharing the split screen with me is a document with the heading ADA Compliance Checklist for 2023. And there are really two best practices for ADA website compliance.

These best practices come from the Department of Justice and the private enforcement actions that they’ve taken, which have basically resulted in settlements with these different organizations.

When you look at the settlements, what it basically comes down to is the Department of Justice wants you to have an accessibility statement posted, and that accessibility statement should state a commitment to accessibility and provide at least one method for feedback and support. And then the Department of Justice has also required conformance with these technical standards called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, and the Department of Justice, as the WCAG has updated with different versions, has required conformance with the updated version, Conformance Level AA.

So the current version is WCAG 2.1 AA, and that has 50 success criteria or requirements for your website to be accessible. Now, this isn’t the law, but it would be considered best practice because these are technical standards. They’re recognized around the world and they are quite robust and referred to universally as these standards for web accessibility.

So being in conformance with these standards is definitely a best practice. It’s not the law, but it is best practice. And so the two best practices, again, it comes down to having an accessibility statement posted and conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. But conformance is going to take much more time than posting an accessibility statement because the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines incorporate many different accessibility measures.

Specifically, in WCAG 2.1, it incorporates 50 things to do to make your website more accessible. Now, it is extremely likely that you are conformance with at least several success criteria already. What you need to do is you need to work towards full conformance.

But there’s a way to work towards full conformance that is best because some accessibility issues are more critical to access than others. Moreover, some accessibility issues are more commonly claimed in litigation than other accessibility issues.

And you need to focus in on those accessibility issues that find their way into litigation. So those accessibility issues that plaintiff’s law firms are looking for and claiming in actual litigation. And so in this document, I have a few bullet points. All text is one area of concern. Form field labels, specifically programmatic form field labels, keyboard navigability, headings, and closed captions. Those are five different accessibility issues that you should be concerned with because those do those are critical to access.

And they do they are accessibility issues that are claimed in litigation. But on a whole, there are about roughly 15 accessibility issues that come into play with litigation. And those encompass more than 15 success criteria. But they involve accessibility issues that are generally of the same of the same kind.

So, for example, with keyboard navigability, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines have two success criteria. They have that your website should be keyboard navigable and that there should be no keyboard traps. But that’s really one accessibility issue. And so when I say 15 issues, it doesn’t necessarily mean one to one. But that’s really getting beside the point.

The point is, is that there are 15 about 15 issues, 15 plus issues that are commonly claimed in litigation. And then I would focus in on those and then work towards full conformance. After I have I have addressed all of those different accessibility issues.

But this this checklist really comes down to two things, WCAG conformance and an accessibility statement. But you do need to be strategic in how you approach accessibility and finding the issues and then fixing them, because some issues are much, much more likely to be to be the to be the source or to be the contributor.

Or I’m trying to think of the best word here. They’re much more likely to give rise to litigation than others. So you need to focus in and be specific, because making your website fully conformant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines does take time. But you can reduce your risk of litigation as you are working through accessibility if you go through certain accessibility issues first.

And my course, the ADA Compliance Course, details exactly what these issues are and then how to find these issues and how to fix these issues. But this is the ADA Compliance Checklist for 2023. These are the two best practices.