ADA Compliance and Your GovOffice Website

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Website Compliance Practices

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits states and local governments from discriminating on the basis of disability in “all services, programs, and activities provided to the public.” While ADA website accessibility standards evolve over time with changes in technology, the US Department of Justice has cited Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 level AA as a key standard for ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities.

Web Accessibility Keyboard
Website accessibility generally deals with how individuals with varying disabilities interact with information found on webpages. Those individuals must utilize assistive technology to enable them to navigate websites or access information contained on those sites. For example, a blind person would need to rely on a screen reader to convert the visual information on a webpage into audio.

GovOffice works to keep up with these evolving requirements and our newest design framework (LT4) was specifically developed to address accessibility of our sites. However, older custom designs eventually fall behind on ADA compliance. New designs are tested and utilize the latest standards, so updating your design every few years will help ensure your website meets the latest standards.

Additionally, as our clients manage their own content, we have several recommendations that will help comply with ADA best practices for state and local governments, including the following:
  • Rely on your built-in, default design elements - e.g. font type, size, and color - to display your content. These are specifically designed and programmed with accessibility standards in mind.
  • Make sure each section/page has a title. These along with lists, and other structural elements provide meaning and structure to web pages. They can also facilitate keyboard navigation within the page and improve search engine optimization.
  • Avoid using tables for layout. Tables should be used for data only and should include column headers. Data cells should be associated with their appropriate headers, making it easier for screen reader users to navigate and understand the data table.
  • Never use flashing features or objects on a page. Also avoid using Adobe Flash or other content that requires plugins that may not work with screen readers or mobile devices.
  • Write meaningful descriptive links. Avoid using "click here" to link to an item. Links should describe the actual contents (where the link is taking you) of the link whenever possible, e.g. Contact GovOffice Training & Technical Support. Every link should make sense if the link text is read by itself.
  • Make sure content is clearly written and easy to read. Write clearly, use clear fonts, and use headings and lists appropriately.
  • Add descriptive alt text (image descriptions) on images to describe the image for visually impaired visitors. In the "Title" field, use descriptive text for the screen reader. Note that the screen reader will say "Image" so inserting the word "image" or "photo" before the description isn't necessary.
  • Ensure that every form element (text field, checkbox, dropdown list, etc.) has a label. Also make sure the user can submit the form and recover from any errors, such as the failure to fill in all required fields.

More questions about website ADA compliance? Let us know!