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What Does the ADA Compliant Website Mean?

The ADA Compliance Standards require companies and businesses to have websites that are accessible and usable by people with disabilities. We’ll be going over the ADA Compliance Standards and Guidelines in this article; 
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Who Needs to Follow the ADA Standards

According to the standards released, there are three categories of organizations that need to follow the ADA standards, and they are;

  1. A business which operates for the advantage of the public
  2. Private employers that have 15 or more staff/employees
  3. State Government Agencies & Local Government Agencies.

It’s important to create sites that everyone can use, even if you don’t fall under any of these categories. The ADA Compliance Standards tend to apply to most if not all websites because the regulation covers electronics and information technology, i.e., the internet. Here are the three principles guiding the ADA Standards.

  1. The website should be easily operated and easy to navigate. Its tools should also be easy to access.
  2. The website should be easy to comprehend and understand.
  3. The website should offer the same quality of content to everyone, no matter the medium.
  4. Finally, the website should be easy to read and hear. If you have videos on your website, it should be clear enough, and the texts should be visible and clear as well.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provide a simple system that can be used to assess the accessibility of a website.

Level A – A website some users have access to.

Level AA – A website that almost all users have access to (8 or 9 out of 10 users).

Level AAA – A website that every user has access to.

The ADA Compliance Standards need websites to be a Level AA website at the very least.

Rules to become ADA Compliant

Contrast Ratio

The contrast ratio refers to the visibility of the text against the background. If the background is a solid color, then the ADA Standards will recommend a 4.5:1 ratio. This should be used for texts or pictures of text. There are a few exceptions to this, and they are as follows; large texts, pictures of large texts, accidental texts, and logotypes.

Resizing of Text

This goes hand-in-hand with the contrast ratio. The text on the website should be resizable without any third-party apps. They should be resizable by up to 200%. It is also important that when the text is resized, the content is not lost, and the site continues to function properly. The exception to this is caption and images of text which leads us to our next rule.

Pictures of Text

The website should have very minimal use of pictures of text as these cannot be resized. Of course, images can be used, but they should not be used to convey text if the image is unnecessary.


The first rule is to ensure all live videos have captions. This can be done with software that is available online. YouTube and Vimeo offer a captions option on their website. So, if you decided to host your video on YouTube or Vimeo, you’ll be able to add the captions yourself.


Most websites have a default language; however, a language attribute should be included so that people who speak other languages can view the website in their language.

Audio Descriptions

Audio descriptions are audio files of the pre-recorded content. The audio descriptions should also be linked near the content or product.

Labeling and Headings

For articles and sections, ensure all the titles have headings that are descriptive, concise, and direct. All sections and tabs should also be labeled.

Options for Navigation

Input a site map, a search tab, and a menu so that people have different ways to access pages on the website.

Focus Visibility

Keyboard users should easily see the keyboard focus indicator.


The navigation and identification should both be consistent. The menu should not have a new location each time the site is loaded, and the names of sections should be consistent so they are easy to identify.

Error Suggestion and Error Prevention

If there’s an error in the text being input into the website, offer a tab or notification that tells the users the format is incorrect. Also, ensure there are confirmation tabs and cancellations in specific time frames.

    Make your website ADA Compliant today with Circle City Digital. Circle City Digital is a web design company based in Indianapolis. We specialize in all things digital. We offer website design, branding, automation, SEO, and other digital-oriented services, all at affordable rates. Contact us today to get started!

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