What is ADA and What Does it Mean for My Website?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) came about in 1990 due to the discrimination of disabled individuals in places of public accommodation. Over time as technology has evolved, we now find that websites are essential places to shop, learn, share, and connect, and are thus considered "places of public accommodation" as well and are also covered by the ADA. 

Adhering to the ADA is tricky though – as recently as 2017 the U.S. Department of Justice withdrew their plans to implement any official laws relating to websites, so there remain only Standards and Guidelines. Thus, a website cannot have true compliance in this area. It can, however, meet the guidelines to the greatest extent that is commercially reasonable. At FIS we build all websites following the WCAG 2.1/AA guidelines using various development, scanning, and screen reader tools.**

Read FIS' ADA Compliance Statement  PDF

How We Can Help (And What You Can Do)

Scan Website for ADA Accessibility

  • We use SortSite, an automated ADA accessibility checker and validator tool.*
  • Your website will be scanned at go-live and you will be provided with a copy of the scan, showing that the website is clear of issues.
  • You are entitled to one free scan per year, and may request more at any time for a small fee.

Laptop showing website scan

Check Your Images and Graphics

  • Every image, video file, audio file, etc. should have an "alt" tag describing the image to non-sighted visitors.
  • Images should not have large amounts of embedded text – screen readers cannot read them!
  • If an image is also used as a link, make sure the alt tag describes the graphic and the link destination
  • Decorative graphics with no other function have empty alt descriptions (alt="")
  • The page should not contain repeatedly flashing images or scrolling text that cannot be paused.

Woman in a wheelchair at a desk

Text and Content

  • Pay attention to color contrast. Light colors or white on top of other light colors may not be visible to all your users.
  • Use a legible font size. If text is too small, it can be hard to see.
  • Make sure links are obvious by using more than just color (for example, underlines).
  • Ensure link text makes sense on its own. Ambiguous links like "Click Here" need a title that describes why the user is clicking there.

Woman working on text

General Best Practices

  • Format tables appropriately with headings and captions.
  • Ensure all files (including Acrobat PDF files) and the content within them are accessible to assistive technologies, or else an alternative means of accessing equivalent content is provided.
  • Include a method of skipping website navigation to assist those using screen readers.

Man talking to a blind lady

Helpful Links for More Information

*Since there are no official laws in place, no automated scanning tool will ever be 100% accurate. FIS makes no claim to the accuracy or completeness of these scans and assumes no liability for accessibility compliance.

**Clients are finally responsible for determining compliance with all regulatory requirements specific to their website. The FIS Web Services team will gladly cooperate with clients to make any changes requested to their websites under the terms of the agreements with those clients.

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