ADA Compliant Web Design

The web is for everyone.

Web Accessibility Tutorials Guidance WCAG Logo

What is ADA compliance?

ADA compliance means your website can be read and understood by people with both permanent and temporary disabilities.

Keeping track of double-A (AA) compliance for ADA Compliant Web Design is challenging. It takes considerable time and careful attention to detail, especially in the midst of changes to technology and politics.

However, an ADA-compliant website ensures all your customers can access your services and saves you thousands of dollars in potential lawsuits.


ADA Compliant Design Elements

ADA compliance for the web is not just for those with disabilities like blindness and deafness. Compliance also includes accommodations for color blindness, hearing or vision impairments, and even those who are temporarily disabled.

Our descriptions here barely scratch the surface of what you need to be considering, but here’s a light introduction.

There must exist a minimum contrast of 4.5:1 among design elements. Heading tags (h1, h2, h3) are to be in proper order and included organically throughout your content.

  • H1
    • H2
      • H3

Additionally, when an interactable element is present, it must receive a focus state when tabbing to access. This is important for people who are using screen readers.

Lastly, familiar features on your website, such as buttons and form fields are to have a unified web design.


Compliant Content: Colors, Images, and Documents

A WordPress plugin or Shopify app will not solve the ADA issues on your website. And even some attorneys chasing ADA cases are targeting sites that have ADA plugins activated.

ADA Accessible Website Design requires continuous testing and website content audits. It calls for ongoing monthly remediation for PDFs, documents, images, forms, and content. That can be spread over time, allowing you to absorb the costs.

The point is your site, technology, and ADA policies are not static, so your ADA solution can’t be either.

Pantone color swatches for brand standards and brandguide.

Common Questions About ADA

What is ADA compliance for websites?

The short answer is yes, your website is considered a public accommodation by some. Therefore, it is required to meet some standards of ADA compliance.

ADA lawsuits concerning web accessibility have increased 177% since 2018 as more and more businesses land in civil court. However, the question remains and is debated, “do all websites have to be ADA compliant?”

The answer is not legally clear, but the issue should not be ignored as civil courts are not ignoring it. ADA laws were written in 1990 and did not concern websites. For emphasis, email did not exist until 1994.

Imagine you are visually impaired or hard of hearing and can’t use a website to book a doctor appointment or apply to a university. It’s important to note, ADA compliance is not just for those with permanent disabilities. For example, someone who has had surgery, rendering them temporarily disabled throughout recovery, must also be reasonably accommodated.

What elements on my website need to be ADA compliant?

1) Color contrast for backgrounds, buttons, links, and text.
2) Documents (PDFs, for example).
3) Forms.
4) Navigation or menu items.
5) Create alt tags for all images, videos, and audio files.
6) Create text transcripts for video and audio content.
7) Identify the site’s language in the header code.
8) Offer alternatives and suggestions when users encounter input errors.
9) Create a consistent, organized layout that supports screen readers.

How do I check if I’m ADA compliant?

We use online tools and our experience in web development to determine your level of compliance. Contact NerdBrand at hello@nerdbrandagency.com for an ADA audit.

We will check for:

1) Web accessibility: WCAG 2.1 guidelines, which are used for ADA and 508 compliance.
2) On-page SEO: Improve coverage by Google and other search engines. 
3) Spelling and grammar: Ensure quality content in every language your site serves.
4) Brand and legal compliance: Use custom rules to help consistency across your websites.

Our team will audit and find ways to avoid tempting fate with a lawsuit. This is especially critical if you are a public institution, like a university or college, or if your business specifically serves people with disabilities.


Jason Davis, NerdBrand's co-founder and CEO

Meet Jason Davis

CEO and Co-founder

At NerdBrand, I lead the team in business development, web development, and branding strategies. I’ve been a WordPress developer creating custom themes for over 10 years, and love helping business grow their reach online.