Common ADA Compliance Mistakes to Avoid

July 23, 2021
website designer

Law firm websites must be designed with features that are accessible to people with a disability or other severe impairment that restricts their ability to type on a computer keyboard, move a mouse, view a computer screen, or listen to an audio message.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a limiting impairment may include physical, auditory, visual, cognitive, or neurological challenges.

It is best to partner with a law firm website design service provider that adheres to the latest version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published in June 2018.

This will save your law firm costly fees for website redesign and/or the legal costs of lawsuits brought by people with disabilities who are unable to use your website.

Avoid these common ADA Compliance mistakes

When your law firm’s web design is accessible for those with disabilities, your company can connect with over 40 million American people with disabilities.

Consider how much online business is lost daily when someone who is physically challenged cannot navigate the company’s website.

ADA compliance is the law. A proper web design not only makes your law firm web design compliant, but it also sheds a positive light on your brand and offers a better user experience for both disabled and non-disabled clients. 

Here are 3 mistakes that are common for law firm website design. 

Mistakes regarding color contrasting

Low-contrast text and background color is a common problem for people with visual challenges. Insufficient color contrast makes it difficult for older adults, those with eye disease, and anyone who may be temporarily suffering from eye strain to decipher words from graphics and backgrounds.

Always incorporate ADA-compliant colors during the initial phases of your law firm website design by using an ADA-compliant color palette. WCAG 2.0 level guidelines dictate a minimum contrast of 4.5:1 with a solid colored background. But, for an enhanced visual presentation, that ratio could be as high as 7:1, depending on the graphic images used and text sizes.

Non-ADA compliant keyboard access

For individuals that are unable to use a computer keyboard and mouse, and for those unable to see the mouse cursor on the screen, an ADA compliance web design should incorporate a way for individuals to access and move between links, buttons, forms, and other controls using other keystrokes.

Your law firm web designer may incorporate native HTML controls wherever possible. This may be necessary for form elements, buttons, and links.  Also, you will likely need some custom-made controls, scripts, and CSS styles to control the user interface.

A common ADA website keyboard mistake is having an illogical tab ordering for navigating around website content. The right design ensures that the website is fully functional and operable without individual keystrokes with specific timings.

Mistakes regarding images and alt text

Images are critical to a visually exciting law firm web design. But, when it comes to ADA compliance, issues arise when screen reading technology is not usable. Alt text is used to provide context to an image or an image description for those that are visually impaired.

An image is considered broken if the alt text is missing. And for websites with multiple images, each graphic image should have a different alt text to avoid redundancy for screen readers, and it should adequately describe an image.

If your existing website is not legally ADA-compliant, contact us at Law Firm Sites. Or, if you are considering a new law firm web design, we can guarantee you a stunning website that attracts clients, is easy to navigate, and is fully ADA-compliant.

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Jo Stephens