Website Builders and ADA Compliance: Look for Out-of-the-Box Accessibility

Many people want to know if a particular website builder platform offers ADA-compliant websites. And so when I’m talking about the different website builders, I’m referring to platforms like GoDaddy, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and the like any platform that offers a website builder so that someone can create a website.

And so what you’re really asking for is, do you offer out-of-the-box accessibility?

So do you help me make my website as accessible as possible? Before I ever start customizing- before I ever start building my website, and so let me give you an example of out-of-the-box accessibility. Let’s say that we’re adding a signup form to your website, and that signup form has text input boxes of name, email address, and physical address.

If the website builder platform is offering out-of-the-box accessibility, there will automatically be labels associated with those text input fields. As you are creating the form, and if it’s not, then those labels won’t be present. And that’s just one example.

But it’s a good one to show that there are things that website builder platforms can do that can tremendously help you in building an accessible website so that you don’t have to do things. Go in and edit the code yourself.

And also, are they helping you where possible? So think about uploading an image, if you upload an image, it would be great if there’s a prompt to add an alt text value for marquee image decorative and that they take care of you know, based on your answer, then they take care of that code on the back end.

So what’s important to note is that these platforms cannot and will not guarantee ADA Compliance or ADA-compliant websites. And one obvious reason why not is because there’s not a- there’s no law or regulation that explicitly sets what an ADA-compliant website is and what considerations have been incorporated etc.

But a more practical aspect of this is that you can customize your website, so even if they offered a fully WCAG conformant website out-of-the-box, you can easily go in and, let’s say, change the color contrast to where it wouldn’t be WCAG conformant. Or you can upload the video with no closed captioning and then you would have an inaccessible video so there can be no guarantees of ADA Compliance.

But what we, again, what we really want to look for is how they incorporated accessibility to the fullest extent that they possibly can. And if they don’t- if the platform doesn’t have an accessibility statement. You can be sure that the answer is no.

And/or if they don’t highlight accessibility, if there‚Äôs not a page that really talks about what they have done, the efforts they have made, the significant investment they have made in accessibility. If there’s nothing like that- if all they have is a blog post that talks about tips on how to make your website more accessible.

If there’s no official documentation, then you can be confident that they haven’t put in that back-end work because if they had then why wouldn’t they be featuring that because that’d be such a monumental feature for them to have and to highlight.

So when it comes to ADA Compliance for platforms, none of them are going to say- there’s not going to be anything around, Hey, we can guarantee you our website is ADA compliant.

That’s not possible. But what they can do is they can highlight how they’ve incorporated the web content accessibility guidelines into helping you build an accessible website.