In July 2023, the Justice Department sent the Federal Register a notice of a proposed rule to improve the usability of websites and mobile apps for those with disabilities. According to the Justice Department, "This marks the first time in the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act that the Justice Department has issued a proposed rule on website accessibility," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "This proposed rule seeks to ensure that Americans with disabilities have equal access to the websites and apps that connect them to essential services provided by state and local governments."
What does it mean for your website and mobile app?
The implications for your website and mobile app are significant. Despite the attention and regulations surrounding Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many businesses still aren’t adhering to the guidelines. The primary goal of any website or mobile application is to be inclusive and provide information about your business, organization or institution to all users. However, if your platforms are not designed and developed to accommodate individuals with disabilities, you are effectively excluding approximately 27% of the U.S. population from accessing and utilizing your platforms.
Making your website and mobile app accessible for people with disabilities
Designing a website and mobile app for accessibility requires knowledge of best practices and a commitment to following all guidelines closely. It requires intentional preparation, construction, and assessment. Here are a few points to consider when making your website and mobile apps accessible to all users.
Meta title (the browser title for the page; not the main content heading or <h1>) describes the topic or purpose of the page.
Heading (h tag) levels are chosen to convey their correct hierarchical order in the content, not for their visual styling.
The content's reading and focus order, determined by the code order, is logical and intuitive.
Alternative text for informative images provides the same information as the image.
Link text clearly describes the purpose or destination of the link.
Link text is distinguishable from non-link text by more than just color.
Actionable elements have clear, visible focus when non-mouse users Tab or Arrow to them.
User is able to use the website with their device in their preferred orientation (landscape/portrait).
All form labels are adequately descriptive and instructive.
Keyboard-only and touchscreen interactions follow expected patterns, so users know how to interact with all widgets on the page.
Following these points will set you on the right path to making a website and mobile app accessible. However, remember that compliance alone does not guarantee a positive user experience. The key to making your website and mobile app accessible to all users lies in your creativity and commitment to accessibility. Neglecting to make a website and mobile app accessible has tangible repercussions for real people, stripping them of their freedom and quality of life by hindering their ability to perform daily tasks.
Let us contribute to creating a more inclusive and welcoming experience for all our users. Contact us to learn more about our accessibility services for mobile apps and websites.
Sr. QA & Certified Accessibility Analyst
ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings