ADA website compliance is an important aspect that every business owner should understand and be aware of. It’s always been important to develop a website following the WCAG and ADA compliance guidelines, but most websites out there don’t. It’s now more important than ever with potential legal implications on the line. Unfortunately it can be very difficult to know whether or not your website is currently following accessibility best practices and is compliant with ADA requirements.
To see where you stack up I recommend that you start with a website scan using Google’s Lighthouse tool, which is now built-in to Google Chrome for developers. Although it’s meant for developers, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it too if you’re a business owner.
The Lighthouse tool will audit a webpage and provide helpful information to help you improve it, and this includes a full report on accessibility.
Steps to Audit Your Website
- Open Google Chrome and browse to the website you want to test
- Right click on the page and select the “Inspect” option
- This will open a developer toolbar at the bottom of the page
- At the top of the toolbar select the “Audits” tab/link
- Select “Desktop” and then check all of the audits you want to run. I generally suggest everything except for “Progressive Web App”
- Scroll to the bottom and click “Run audits”
- After about 60-70 secs you’ll see a full report on the page
Other Tools Worth Mentioning
I’ve done a number of audits with tools and external organizations to assess, correct and fix accessbility issues on business websites. Of all of the tools I’ve used I think Lighthouse is the best, but there are other tools worth mentioning.
- WAVE: Website Accessibility Evaluation Tool — This provides a report on accessibility for a given website. They also provide a site-wide scanner option as well.
- AXE: The Accessibility Engine — This is a premium service that will scan an entire website for accessibility compliance errors and issues
- 18F Accessibility Guide — This is a great document/source of all accessibility guidelines recommended by the US Gov
- Website Accessibility Checklist — A wonderful interactive checklist from the Khan Academy’s A11y Project
- W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 — Straight from the source, this is a great reference that will tell you the specific guidelines and requirements you need to follow to adhere to the WCAG 2.1 specification
- Printable Accessibility Cheatsheet’s — The dos and don’ts of designing for accessibility provided by the UK government. This posters are great resources for reminding you how to provide the best experience for specific user types.
About the Author
Kevin Leary is a freelance developer in Boston, MA with a strong portfolio of work, and over 13 years of experience as a programming consultant and digital strategy provider. Interested in working together? Hire me for your next project.