The internet has become an integral part of everyday life. We rely on it for everything from shopping and banking to entertainment and education. But what if parts of the online world were inaccessible to you due to a disability?
For the over 1 billion people worldwide living with disabilities, inaccessible websites can create barriers to accessing information, services, and opportunities. That’s why website accessibility matters – it’s essential for creating an inclusive online space where everyone can participate fully.
The good news is, there are steps WordPress website owners can take to ensure their sites are accessible and compliant with regulations like the ADA. While meeting compliance is crucial, true accessibility requires going beyond technical checks. It means embracing accessibility as an ongoing commitment, not a one-time fix.
In this guide, we’ll explore tools and strategies WordPress users can leverage to create truly accessible, user-friendly websites. You’ll learn:
- Why ADA compliance matters
- How to check if your site meets accessibility standards
- Top plugins that can automate and enhance accessibility
- Additional ways to improve site accessibility
Meeting compliance thresholds is just the beginning. Are you ready to make your WordPress site a beacon of inclusion? Let’s get started!
Why ADA Compliance Matters for Your Website
ADA compliance isn’t just something to check off a list – it represents a commitment to inclusion and equal access online. Here are three big reasons why ADA compliance should be a top priority for your website.
- First, it’s the right thing to do. The internet is so integrated into daily life now, providing information and opportunities. Making your site accessible helps create a more inclusive digital world where everyone can fully participate, no matter their abilities.
- Second, accessibility is good business. By making your site accessible, you open it up to a wider audience. Over one billion people worldwide live with disabilities, according to the WHO. If your site isn’t accessible, you could miss out on a lot of potential customers. An accessible site also often leads to a better user experience, which means higher satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, accessible sites often convert better, so be sure to double check your landing pages as well.
- Finally, ADA compliance is legally required. The Americans with Disabilities Act says all public and commercial sites need to be accessible for people with disabilities. Not complying can lead to lawsuits and costly penalties. Ensuring compliance helps avoid legal issues and shows your commitment to equal access.
In short, ADA compliance is about more than just following regulations – it’s embracing diversity, expanding your reach, and building a culture of inclusion. Making your site accessible benefits everyone.
How to Know if You’re In Compliance
Wondering if your website follows accessibility standards? We get it – it can seem tricky to figure out. But don’t worry, there are some great resources out there to help guide you.
One of the most well-known standards is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), these guidelines break down recommendations for making web content more accessible for people with disabilities like blindness, hearing loss, cognitive disabilities, and more.
Another important one to know is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While it doesn’t have specific web guidelines, the U.S. Department of Justice has made it clear that the ADA applies to websites. So if you’re a business operating in the U.S., your website legally needs to be accessible.
There’s also Section 508, a federal law that requires accessible electronic and information technology for the government. Many states and organizations follow Section 508 too, even if they aren’t legally required to.
By getting familiar with these standards and putting their recommendations into practice, you can make your website compliant and accessible. Just remember accessibility isn’t a one-and-done thing – it needs regular review and updating to keep your site inclusive. But taking these steps helps ensure equal access for all users.
3 Pugins to Help Boost Accessibility
Chances are, you’re probably familiar with plugins that help manage things like WordPress performance or SEO. Fortunately, there are also plenty of plugins designed to help you get started and improve your website accessibility with just a few clicks. These handy tools can simplify bringing your site up to compliance standards and make it more user-friendly for all visitors. Whether it’s improving readability, navigation, or color contrast, plugins can tackle different aspects of accessibility.
Below, we’ll explore three awesome plugins that can significantly improve the accessibility of your WordPress site.
With over 100,000 downloads and a 4.6-star rating, the One-Click Accessibility plugin is a super handy (and free!) tool for making your WordPress site more accessible. It works with all themes and doesn’t require any coding knowledge.
This plugin adds an easy-to-use toolbar with tons of great features to improve accessibility. You can add links to your Sitemap, Help, and Feedback pages to make navigation easier. Visitors can also easily contact you about any accessibility issues.
Some key features include:
- Customizable toolbar – Show/hide on desktop, tablets, phones. Rename the title.
- Font resizing and readable fonts – Users can change font size. Also a button to transform stylized fonts into more readable ones.
- High and negative contrast modes – Creates stark contrast between content and background. Helps people who are colorblind or have poor vision.
- “Skip to content” link – Lets screen readers/keyboard users bypass menus and go straight to main content.
- Outline focus – Adds outline to interactive elements so keyboard users can clearly see where they are.
- Link target remover – Removes target attributes from links so they don’t automatically open new tabs. Can be disorienting.
- Link role adder – Adds role=”link” to all links so screen readers know they are links.
With all these great features, One-Click Accessibility can really boost the accessibility of your WordPress site for all users. Definitely worth checking out!
WP ADA Compliance Check Basic
The WP ADA Compliance Check Basic plugin is a great tool for helping WordPress sites comply with accessibility standards like the ADA, Section 508, and WCAG 2.1.
The free version lets you scan up to 15 posts/pages for 52 different accessibility issues. For more extensive scanning, the premium version removes post limits, adds over 75 checks, and can even scan theme files.
Some key features:
- Detailed error reports – Get full reports on accessibility issues with easy instructions on how to fix them. You can search, filter, email, or print the reports too.
- Contrast ratio checker – Check foreground and background colors to ensure they meet contrast ratio standards for accessibility.
- Landmark checker – Checks if you’ve incorporated HTML5 landmark regions to enhance screen reader navigability.
- Language attribute checker – Ensures you have the primary language attribute for better assistive tool interpretation.
- Heading order checker – Checks heading hierarchy to aid screen reader and keyboard navigation.
- Missing alt text checker – Finds images missing alt text descriptions crucial for screen readers. Can also check for meaningless filler text.
By leveraging this tool, you can identify and resolve accessibility issues, creating a more inclusive experience for all your visitors. Whether you choose the free or premium version, this plugin is a great way to check that your site complies with essential web accessibility guidelines.
Equalize Digital Accessibility Checker
The Equalize Digital Accessibility Checker plugin was created by accessibility experts to help WordPress sites comply with regulations like the ADA and WCAG 2.1.
One great feature is the real-time feedback – it scans new/updated posts against 40+ rules and shows errors right in the editor. Super helpful!
Some key features include:
- Unlimited page scanning, regardless of plan
- Readability analysis via Flesch-Kincaid test and ability to add summaries
- Ignore feature to close irrelevant errors after manual checks
- Accessibility statement generator
- Detailed docs to help you learn about and fix issues
With robust scanning, real-time feedback, and helpful learning resources, the Equalize Digital Accessibility Checker is a great option for improving and maintaining WCAG compliance. The free plan makes it easy to get started too. Definitely check this one out!
Other Ways to Improve Accessibility on Your WordPress Website
While plugins are super helpful, there are additional things you can do to go above and beyond minimum accessibility requirements.
Here are some tips:
- Use clear, simple language. Avoid complex jargon when possible. This makes your content easier to understand for everyone.
- Add transcripts/captions for multimedia. This ensures deaf or hard-of-hearing users can access the info too.
- Make sure keyboard navigation works. Some users navigate sites this way instead of using a mouse.
- Use descriptive link text, not just “click here.” Helps screen reader users understand context.
- Be mindful with color choices. Ensure enough contrast between text and background colors. Don’t rely solely on color to convey info.
- Regularly test your site using tools and real-world user feedback. This is key for ongoing accessibility.
Remember, accessibility is an ongoing commitment, not a one-time thing. By continually working to improve, you can make your site truly welcoming and usable for all visitors.
Creating an accessible WordPress website takes awareness, effort, and commitment – but it’s absolutely worth it. By embracing inclusivity and equal access as core values, you can transform your site into a welcoming space for all.
While ADA compliance is crucial from a legal standpoint, true accessibility requires going beyond the minimum checkpoints. Leverage the plugins and strategies we’ve covered to identify issues, enhance user experiences, and regularly evaluate your site’s accessibility.
Most importantly, remember that accessibility work is never “complete.” Treat it as an ongoing journey rather than a one-time fix. Be proactive by regularly testing your site, seeking feedback from disabled users, and staying current with evolving web standards.
Creating an accessible site provides benefits for everyone: opening you up to new audiences, improving overall user experience, and upholding your brand’s commitment to inclusion. By taking the steps outlined in this guide, you can do your part in making the web a little more accessible for all.
Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan Gould brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. As the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing, he skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs. He strongly believes in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively align sales and marketing teams within organizations.