What is ADA Compliance Testing?

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What Is ADA Compliance Testing?

Posted January 09, 2024


Posted January 09, 2024

A website being checked for ADA compliance
A website being checked for ADA compliance

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ADA compliance testing helps ensure your website provides an accessible experience for people with disabilities.

How can you maintain an accessible website — and demonstrate compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other non-discrimination laws? 

The simple answer is to commit to regular ADA compliance testing. However, developing an effective approach requires an understanding of the principles of digital accessibility. Below, we’ll explain the basic ADA requirements and provide essential information on how accessibility testing works.

ADA Compliance Testing Explained

ADA compliance testing involves conducting tests on your website to determine whether it meets the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)— the accessibility standard referenced by the ADA and other non-discrimination laws. Tests help to identify potential accessibility issues on your site and what changes need to be made to meet accessibility best practices. 

Compliance tests also measure against WCAG, which is a principle-based framework with success criteria that identify common accessibility failures. These guidelines also provide tactics for accessibility remediation.

Most ADA compliance tests audit content against WCAG Level AA standards, which ensures major website accessibility barriers have been removed and improves accessibility for users relying on screen readers or other assistive technologies. The Department of Justice has indicated that WCAG Level AA conformance demonstrates reasonable effort to comply with ADA standards.

WCAG conformance levels: A, AA, AAA

How Do You Know if Your Website Needs to be ADA Tested?

If your business operates in the United States, you probably have a legal obligation to provide accessible web content. According to both Title II and Title III of the ADA, companies that fall under the following categories must comply with ADA accessibility guidelines:

  • State and local government agencies
  • Private employers with 15 or more employees
  • Businesses that operate for the public’s benefit

Even if your business does not fall into one of these categories, it’s still recommended to follow ADA guidelines as it ensures everyone — regardless of whether they have a disability or not — can use your website.

Additionally, finding and fixing any accessibility issues decreases the chances of being sued by customers for lack of accessibility. This can result in hefty fines and other serious consequences for your company, so it’s always better to be ADA compliant and avoid potential setbacks.

Scan your site banner, with a form box to fill in your website URL to begin the scan.

How to Test Websites for ADA Compliance

There are several testing tools and services available that can help you audit your digital content. We’ll review some of those tools below.

Automated ADA Compliance Testing

Automated testing tools like an ADA compliance checker can effectively evaluate many of the most common accessibility issues. Most software can identify about half of potential WCAG failures, including missing alternative text (alt text), missing video captions, improperly ordered HTML header tags, and certain keyboard accessibility issues. 

Manual ADA Compliance Testing

While automation can lower the cost of your accessibility initiative, it’s important to recognize that some accessibility barriers require human analysis — specifically around more severe accessibility issues. For example, an automated tool can tell you whether your images are missing alt text but can’t tell whether your alt text accurately describes an image.

Manual compliance testing helps to fill in the gaps. Accessibility experts can check web pages for common WCAG failures that don’t fall into simple “pass or fail” rulesets and provide recommendations for remediation.

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Best Practices for Keeping Your Website ADA Compliant

While ADA guidelines are extensive and ever-evolving, there are best practices you can follow to build ADA-compliant websites.

Maintain Appropriate Color Contrasts

Ensure color contrast across your website has sufficient enough contrast that it can be read or seen by someone with color blindness or low vision. WCAG Level AA requires text to have a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1. You can use a color contrast checker to test ratio levels.

Include Alt Text for Images

All images and videos on your site should include clear and accurate alt text. Alt text is used in HTML to describe images and videos so individuals using assistive technologies can understand the image.

Include Transcripts and Captions for Video Content

Similarly to using alt text to describe images, ensure multimedia content includes captions and transcripts. This ensures those using assistive technologies or individuals with hearing impairments or disabilities can understand content.

Make Text Size Variable

Enabling users to change text size plays a critical role in accessibility. For example, individuals with visual impairments or learning disabilities such as dyslexia can change text size to improve readability and comprehension.

Include Headings

When building your website, ensure you use a number of headings and subheadings. This ensures that users who are blind or are relying on assistive technology devices can navigate and understand the page.

Support Keyboard Navigation

Keyboard navigation ensures users who are unable to use a computer mouse can navigate your site using the tab key or other keyboard commands or shortcuts.

Keep Your Website ADA Compliant with AudioEye

Interested in testing your website for ADA compliance? AudioEye has you covered.

AudioEye’s expert testing and remediation services, coupled with our automated tools and accessibility testing services, help you create an ADA-compliant website that works for a greater number of users. Our accessibility testers review content using screen readers and keyboard-only navigation to determine if they meet ADA and WCAG guidelines. Additionally, our four-step remediation process, which includes an initial scan, human test, remediation, and “last pass”, ensures that all changes work as expected, enabling you to deliver an excellent and accessible user experience.

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