Compliance with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requires a guarantee of equal access to public services, accommodations, and commercial facilities - both in their physical spaces and their online domains.
ADA compliance improves the reputation of an organisation or a business, drastically increases the pool of potential customers, and also lowers the risk of lawsuits. What’s more, having an accessible website ensures a better user experience for everyone, both for people with disabilities and people without disabilities (more on that in the next section).
Here is a list of free and paid tools and resources that can help you assess and improve ADA compliance. But first, let’s address some of the most essential elements of ADA compliance.
Key Elements of ADA Compliance
To comply with the ADA, web content creators should follow specific guidelines set by WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) versions 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2 with conformance Level AA (where Level AAA is the most advanced and Level A the basic).
WCAG guidelines require the inclusion of the following main elements:
Remember that these are only some of the most critical accessibility functions that web content creators should have in mind. You can find more information on other accessibility functions on the official WCAG 2.0 overview page.
Tools and Resources for ADA Compliance
Here are some of the most popular and useful tools and resources that can help you ensure ADA compliance.
Subly is the #1 media accessibility solution for WCAG and ADA compliance and an ideal solution for organisations that want to create inclusive, accessible, and compliant media efficiently.
You can use Subly to create highly accurate subtitles or captions in over 30 languages and dialects, transcriptions, audio descriptions, as well as to improve colour contrasts that boost the accessibility of your video files, and so much more. And all this in a matter of minutes that will save your hours of content creation work.
Choose between personal (for individuals or a one-off project), business (for a team or recurrent needs), or enterprise plans (for large teams or high volume). You also have an option for a free 7-day trial of the business plan, so you can fully test out Subly before subscribing.
Siteimprove is the go-to solution for organisations that strive to improve their website performance and create an effortless user experience that will help capture, retain and convert users into customers.
The great thing about Siteimprove is its free website checker that gives you a quick insight into your website’s accessibility, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), overall performance, and on-page optimisation that you can use to identify ways to improve your brand’s overall digital experience. All you need to do is simply enter your page’s URL and you will receive an instant overview of your performance in each area.
There are also several paid package options: Inclusivity (used to create accessible, immersive digital content), Content Experience (used to produce relevant content that drives results), and Marketing Performance (used for unparalleled, actionable insights at your fingertips).
The main goal of Accessibe is to make the internet accessible and create an enjoyable experience for everyone, regardless of their ability. When a business features an accessible website, it can dramatically increase its potential customer size, while at the same time ensuring that people with disabilities can enjoy its benefits.
You can use Accessibe to run a free, professional web accessibility audit to find out if your website is ADA and WCAG compliant. Then you can choose between two types of plans: accessWidget and accessFlow.
AccessWidget can help you simplify and streamline the process of web accessibility using AI, machine learning, and computer vision. AccessFlow is all-in-one web accessibility platform for developers to test, monitor, and remediate the accessibility of websites and web applications with source code remediation. The plans start at $49 a month and there is also a free 7-day trial option offered.
Colour Contrast Checker is a popular free tool that you can use to check the contrast between different colour combinations to make sure it conforms to WCAG 2.0 standards (as noted earlier in the Key Elements of ADA Compliance section).
You can use this tool to compare the contrast ratio of two colours and background and foreground within a webpage - for example, to ensure that the text in the captions is clearly visible and legible against the video background. You can also go to the Chrome Web Store and add Colour Contrast Checker as a free Chrome extension.
And although this tool is completely free, there is an option to donate to its creator, if you find the website and/or the extension useful.
WAVE is a suite of evaluation tools that helps educate content creators on how to make their web content more accessible to individuals with disabilities. It does so by focusing on issues that impact end users, identifying WCAG errors, and facilitating human evaluation of web content.
You can use the free WAVE Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browser extensions to test accessibility directly within your web browser; WAVE subscription API (application programming interface) and testing engine to easily collect accessibility test data on many pages; or an Accessibility Impact assessment report that provides detailed expert manual test results to give you insights into the accessibility of your web site for users with disabilities.
Subscription options are charged in credits, whose price ranges from $.04 to $.025 per credit (depending on the number of purchased credits). There is a $10 minimum purchase required, and all new accounts get 100 free credits. Basic analysis of one web page costs 1 credit, while more advanced features cost 2 or 3 credits.
These are only some of the tools and resources that can help your organisation assess and improve ADA compliance. We recommend first using free options to check your web content for accessibility, then determining which of these tools best suits your needs. Paid options are only a small investment that can ultimately pay off tremendously with an increased customer base and a largely improved user experience.