Website Accessibility Guidelines: Complying with ADA (American Disabilities Act)

“The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.” –

Public entities that choose to provide services through web-based applications (e.g., renewing library books) or that provide information through the Internet must ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to such services or information.

Below are several website standards to ensure compliance with the American Disabilities Act.

  • Provide alternative text for images on websites. Because screen readers only read text, they cannot interpret photographs, charts, color-coded information, or other graphic elements on a webpage.
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  • Font sizes on the Web should never be less than 12 pixels and should always consist of easily readable fonts.
  • Videos need to incorporate features that make them accessible to everyone. Provide audio descriptions of images (including changes in setting, gestures, and other details) to make videos accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. Provide text captions synchronized with the video images to make videos and audio tracks accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Avoid using blinking, flashing, or other distracting features; if they must be included, ensure that moving, blinking, or auto-updating objects or pages may be paused or stopped.
  • Include a “skip navigation” link at the top of webpages that allows people who use screen readers to ignore navigation links and skip directly to webpage content; or provide correct headings in order for screen readers to read from topic to topic, rather than the whole page. Most website templates and content management systems automatically come with heading capabilities.
  • Include visual notification and transcripts if sounds automatically play.
  • Many people are color-blind, especially in the areas of blue, green, and red. Do not use color to convey meaning. For example, a website warning in red should properly read, “Warning: The library will be closed due to inclement weather rather than The library will be closed due to inclement weather”.
  • Make certain that you have a good contrast on your website. Contrast is the difference in color or density between the background and foreground. Black on white is an example of good contrast, while purple on dark blue is an example of poor contrast.
  • Bulleted and numbered lists are a good way to present list content and set points apart.
  • Have only a few font types on your website.