The ondemand video site created by CU*Answers has been updated with a new, modern site design. The design is a flat and simple design that focuses visitors on the videos without other distractions or content. The color scheme is a mix of strong and comfortable colors that imbue a sense of place. The home page displays videos in four groups – featured, most recent, popular and by category. The category section can be updated by selecting another category and then applying the filter to retrieve videos from the new category without leaving the home page. Strong, simple, focused. Take a look at the new ondemand site: https://ondemand.cuanswers.com/
The CU*Answers Web Services team has updated the CU*Secure website. CU*Secure is a resource for our credit union clients and therefore has generic branding. The security articles posted on the site can be used as a feed for credit union clients. Individual articles can also be referenced from a credit union website.
The refresh included a cleaner, less cluttered design which is a main focus of modern website design. The new theme is an all-American red, white and blue color scheme. A search box in the upper-right helps visitors find articles quickly. For the leisurely visitor, page navigation is available at the bottom of the page. The new site design is responsive so any device can be used to view it. The site was validated for basic ADA/WCAG compliance and HTML structure compliance.
Does your website need to be updated? Contact Web Services.
What is ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. The law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
The law applies to state and local governments, as well as businesses that meet the ADA definition of “public accommodations.” Public accommodations would include businesses like restaurants, hotels, movie theaters and doctor’s offices. Also covered are commercial facilities, meaning buildings, factories, warehouses and many private employers.
The law does not apply just to physical access to a government office or private business. It is broader and asks whether there are other limiting factors like policies or procedures that limit access. An example of a limiting policy might be a policy stating no dogs allowed which would limit access to someone who needs a service dog.
The ADA defines a disability as, “A mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” This isn’t the complete definition of all defined disabilities, but covers the primary definition. Also, the impairment must be a substantial limit on one or more major life activities. The impairment must be long-term as well.
The ADA expects governments and private businesses to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Accommodations aren’t required if the accommodations would fundamentally alter the service.
The preceding description is a summary of course. Full details can be found here: https://www.ada.gov/. Now that we have a basic understanding of the ADA, consider how it applies to websites.
How Does It Apply to Websites?
The goal of the ADA is to make day-to-day activities available to people with disabilities. A worthy goal no doubt. The internet has become ubiquitous and essential to everyday life. So making the internet and websites usable by all is logical.
People with disabilities often need help operating a computer. There are a number of software and hardware products used by individuals. These include screen readers, text enlargement software and control by voice commands. These tools are sometimes less effective on a website that isn’t designed to accommodate people with disabilities. When the tools are less effective, the person using them is frustrated and unable to use the website. Accessible design takes this into consideration and allows people to use the website without the ability to see, to hear or to use a computer mouse.
Take a moment to look at an example. People with limited or no vision would often use a screen reader. A screen reader speaks the text of a website out loud, starting in the upper-left of the website. It can’t determine what’s in a photo, which to the sighted is easy to determine.
Are There Alternatives to Making a Website Compliant?
The answer is yes. Well, maybe. Court rulings can be unpredictable and a smart attorney may cause you grief. But, the ADA does allow alternatives to a website that isn’t compliant. For example, a staffed customer service phone number would allow a visually impaired member to take advantage of the services of a credit union.
Here’s the catch on websites, they’re available 24 hours a day. Typically, you won’t staff your customer service line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So an argument can be made that any alternative should be available 24/7. Telephone banking that’s available 24/7 may be a good alternative to a website if it provides the same capabilities for making transactions.
The guidelines for ADA website compliance aren’t complete. They aren’t absolute. The best solution is to add accessible features to your website. And then provide alternative means that allow people with disabilities to use your services.
What is CU*Answers Web Services Doing?
CU*Answers Web Services is happy to let you know that we develop our sites with modern coding. Much of ADA compliance is based on correctly designed and implemented code. Web Services will verify that the HTML for our websites passes the W3C validator. W3C is the worldwide developer of standards for HTML. Passing the validator assures our clients that the structure of their website is compatible with ADA goals. The W3C validator is located here: https://validator.w3.org/
We will also validate websites for accessibility using the AChecker. This tool checks a website for specific features that assist those with disabilities to use a website more easily. Using the tool, we will correct any “Known Problems” identified using the guidelines for WCAG 2.0 (Level AAA)). Note that the Department of Justice has not ruled on a specific set of guidelines as of this writing, but we feel the WCAG 2.0 is a step in the right direction. The AChecker is located here: https://achecker.ca/checker/index.php
Validating with the W3C and AChecker tools provides a baseline for accessibility. We use them to make sure our sites meet a minimum standard. Because the ADA guidelines aren’t finished, there’s no guarantee that a website launched today will meet the final guidelines or even a court’s interpretation of the current guidelines. This also means that if your website is older, it may be time for a redesign.
What Can You Do?
Your website is probably updated frequently. If you make those updates to your site, you should understand the basics of website compliance. For example, when you upload an image always add what is called “alternate text.” The text should describe the purpose of the image. This text is used by screen readers to announce or speak to the person using the screen. Therefore, this text should be descriptive of what you are conveying with the image.
When adding a new page, assign an appropriate title that describes the content on the page. If you added a page that defines your checking accounts an appropriate title would be “Checking Accounts.” Adding a featured article about an upcoming annual meeting might be titled, “2017 Success Credit Union Annual Meeting.”
Want to find out more about making your site ADA compliant? This article provides a list of basic requirements for the elements on your web page: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/web-designer/creating-an-ada-compliant-website/
As a final note, when you contract for website services make sure the person or company is aware of what makes a site more usable for everyone.
MEMBERS1st Community Credit Union launched their new website today! The design is a modern design by CU*Answers Web Services. It includes home page sections for rotating banners, featured products, featured rates & a section that provides links to join the credit union and current news featured by the credit union. Internal pages can be customized by the credit union using unique features for products and product listings. The custom internal pages make the site highly customizable by the credit union. The design is responsive which means it displays nicely on all devices from a phone up to a desktop computer. Take a look at this very nice site: MEMBERS1st Community Credit Union
The team at Safe Harbor Credit Union is excited to have a new website today! The design and implementation by CU*Answers Web Services team incorporates modern design and web standards. The home page includes numerous custom sections and features. At the top of the page are quick links to It’s Me 247 Online Banking, a link to apply for a loan and a link to open an account. Large banners are displayed prominently with the ability to customize the text and link displayed on top of a banner. Below the banners is a section for ATM and shared branch locators. This section also includes three options to direct members or potential members to open an account, apply for a loan or to review the Member Advantage program. Last, but not least, is a carousel displaying team member photos, names and their role at Safe Harbor Credit Union. The new design is responsive so it displays well on all devices including mobile phones. Their new site will be a great tool for Safe Harbor Credit Union to increase membership and to provide more services to existing members. Check out their new website!
Congratulations are in order for Union Pacific CAE Federal Credit Union on their new website. As indicated by the title, the new website is responsive and displays nicely on phones, tablets, laptop and desktop computers. The design is clean and uncluttered in keeping with modern web design. The home page includes quick access to online banking, large banners for advertising, a featured rates section, a credit union news section and a section for locating ATMs, calculators and also links to member and loan applications. Overall, it’s a great design and moves Union Pacific to a much better online presence. The new site will serve members and staff better. Take a look at their new website here: Union Pacific CAE FCU