ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, is a set of guidelines protecting those with disabilities and designed to ensure that those individuals have proper access to all materials, including content on the web. No doubt this can have an important impact on web design, but what does ADA compliance on the web really entail?
When constructing a site with customers in mind, you must consider all potential customers. As important as it is to make your hotel facilities ADA-accessible, it is equally important to make your website accessible as well. Fortunately, most websites will already meet the majority of accessibility standards laid out by the ADA. However, there are some common infringements that in most cases can be easily fixed on any website:
- Images without Alt Tags
In simple terms, an “alt” tag is a text equivalent of an image. For blind or limited-vision users, this tag describes the image that most users see. Because the tag is plain text, it is compatible with text-to-speech devices and electronic Braille readers. All of your images should have a clear and unique alt tag. If they do not, contact your web developer to implement them right away.
- Documents not in Accessible Formats
The most common format for important documents such as privacy policies, hotel fact sheets and sales collateral is the PDF, which is easy to share, download and protect. However, for users who rely on text-recognition programs to navigate the web, PDFs are not very friendly at all. For these users, be sure to offer a more accessible format – such as HTML or Rich Text – in addition to the PDF for your important documents.
- Online Forms without Descriptions
Similar to images and their alt tags, online forms need descriptive HTML tags which help the user to complete the form correctly. Every line item in an online form should have an appropriate HTML tag which states what is to be entered on that line. Common web forms for hotels include Contact forms and RFP forms.
And of course, it’s important to list your hotel’s ADA and accessibility features on your website, which allows your guests to book with confidence knowing that you have taken their individual needs into consideration. It’s not just the law – it’s good business!
For more best practices to ensure that your website is designed for accessibility, visit the ADA Website.