What is ADA and what does it mean for my website?

The Americans with Disabilities Act came about in 1990 because of incidental discrimination to individuals in places of public accommodation. Perhaps you’ve encountered handicap-accessible parking spaces, wheelchair ramps, and ATMs with TTY and Braille access that are results from the Act. But in 2010, the Department of Justice stated that it would amend the language of ADA to ensure accessibility to websites, as well. You may have clients with sight disabilities, cognitive disabilities, or motor disabilities who bank with your institution, but together we can create a site accessible to everyone.

Review and Remediation

pages of a sample report

First, we'll review the site to determine what needs to be updated (if anything). There are typically three types of changes that must be implemented: skin changes, content changes, and document updates. Skin changes are done at the skin level, so one update will hit every page - these types of updates usually only need to be done once.

The second type is a content change. Because we use a content management system, this fact means that keeping your content accessible is an ongoing and mutual effort. These updates may be in multiple places on each web page, and each time the content is edited, the guidelines should be followed. Adding a new picture without the appropriate alt text is a good example. It's something everyone should become used to when editing content so that it is always kept as accessible as possible.

Lastly, document updates refer to any documents on your site for clients to download. PDFs must be tagged for them to be accessible. Since most PDFs are generated in other applications, it is typically the responsibility of the author to create accessible documents. That person or team will have the supporting files in the native format, and can start from there. Fortunately, an updated PDF can just be loaded to the site with the same file name in the same folder, and the update is complete.

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