ADA Compliance and Site Images

January 15, 2021
man on laptop

Under the American Disabilities Act (ADA), images on a website should be relevant to the content and purpose of the page, and it should aid the user in understanding the page. When the images (and the description of those site images) are clear and relevant, it helps readers who may be visually impaired use assistive technology and screen readers. 

Different types of images

There are multiple images that may appear on your website. Here are some categories, according to W3C:

  • Informative: Site images that represent information, such as illustrations or pictures. 
  • Decorative: Site images that are purely for aesthetic purposes, and not for information purposes. 
  • Functional: Typically a button that completes a task, perhaps with an icon. W3C gives the example of a printer icon for the printing function. 
  • Text: An image or illustration that contains text (apart from a company logo
  • Complex: A complex image is just what it sounds like, as it’s an image that’s a bit more complicated such as a diagram or graph
  • Groups: More than one image that adds together to inform of one thing or concept
  • Maps: This is an image that is clickable, where there are multiple links within the image (a clickable area).

What is alt text?

An “alternative text” (or alt text), is a short description of an image on your attorney websites. These descriptions are typically a couple of words or a short phrase. This happens on the backend of your website and isn’t always seen. There are a few principles that we adhere to when creating alt texts on Websites for Law Firms:

  • If images have text in them, the alt text should be the same 
  • There shouldn’t be any duplicate alt texts on the same page
  • The text should be a concise description
  • There should not be any words such as icon, picture, or image in the text

We also make sure to change our approach to alt texts depending on the type of image. For example, we approach informative images (where we would describe the image) differently than a decorative image (where we indicate the image is purely decorative, instead of putting a description). 

Other ways to improve user experience with images

While correctly using alt texts are a bulk of ADA compliance, there are also other ways you can improve user experience for everyone.

  • Smush images in the back end to help them load faster
  • For any scrolling image feature on your Law Firm Website Designs, provide options to stop on an image or skip forward or backward
  • Don’t create too many flashing site images
  • Set up your website in a way that skips background image descriptions or watermark descriptions (this is especially important with screen readers and other third-party technologies).

How Law Firm Sites Can Help

Not only will these tips and guidelines help your user experience with your website, but it will also help increase your SEO, as Google likes to see these accommodations. 

We understand that ADA compliance in your site images can be overwhelming and even a bit daunting. As a company that specializes in SEO websites for Attorneys, we can help you check through your images on all pages of your website to ensure that everything is clear, user friendly, and beneficial for all.