A recent Twitter conversation between Google’s John Mueller and an SEO expert stated something which most of us know. It reaffirmed the fact that a lot of good accessibility website development best practices are also good SEO best practices. Mr. Muller was asked “Is ADA Compliance a Google ranking factor?” to which Muller responded that it was a general requirement.
The SEO expert future clarified that his question was in regards to the information he received that says “a website experienced a ranking boost after the site was made compliant with ADA”. Muller responded, “A lot of good accessibility best practices are also good SEO best practices, and just generally, making a site better for users often results in indirect, overall positive effects too.”
So what is ADA Compliance?
ADA Compliance is the abbreviated form of Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. Accordingly, the electronic information and technology that includes your website must be accessible to those with disabilities. As such there are no clear rules for websites with respect to ADA however, the websites must accommodate users with disabilities.
One way to get ADA compliant is to follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that require your websites to be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. There are 14 guidelines to WCAG and are divided into three priority levels.
Priority 1 – the most basic level of web accessibility
Priority 2 – addressed the biggest barriers for users with disabilities
Priority 3 – significant improvements to web accessibility
WCAG 2.0 is the current guidelines and it has three level of conformance:
Level A – Your website is only accessible by some users
Level AA – Your website is accessible by almost all users
Level AAA – Your website is accessible by all users
Ideally, your website should be Level AAA but considering the challenges faced in website development, Level AA is reasonably acceptable.
Website Development Checklist for ADA Compliant:
1. Users of your website must be able to perceive all information including text, images, and videos.
2. Users must be able to navigate easily through your website. This could be implemented using proper navigation menu structure, primary and secondary menu, hot links, breadcrumbs, and back-to-top buttons
3. Along with the view and navigation features offered on your website, your website should be able to communicate with users effectively. They should be able to understand what they are reading, listening, and viewing. This can be achieved with proper formatting of text, font style, character spacing, video, and audio subtitles, etc.
4. Finally, the information being shared with your users must be robust, offering the same experience to all users. UI and UX play an important role in achieving this aspect of ADA Compliance.
Need help becoming complaint?
Some websites can quickly achieve this compliance by a quick overhaul of the website while some may need a rework from scratch. If you need help in getting started contact us today. We specialize in building responsive and modern clean websites that are perceivable, operable, understandable and robust in nature.