Maintaining website accessibility and ADA compliance is not a one and done procedure. It’s an ongoing process and one that should be built into the daily/weekly/monthly checks and balances for your organization’s website.
Thankfully, there are many free tools you can use to help assess your website and show where the adjustments need to be made. Often times, with short explanations. One of the tools we use here in Web Services is called AChecker. You can input your URL, click the “Check It” Button and it will give you a list of Known Problems to address. If there are no known problems, congratulations! That means, your website passes current compliance standards.
This tool also allows you to export a report, which is handy if you need to keep documentation.
The Most Common Website Accessibility Issue
Did you know that the most common website accessibility issue is missing alt tags? Alt tags are used to help identify the images on your website for screen readers.
When you have an image on your website, typically the code will look something like this:
As you can see in the example above, the alt tag is missing for that image.
How to Add a Missing Alt Tag
You can update the code to add the alt tag, like this:
In the example above, I used the most basic description for the banner image’s alt tag.
If your site is built in WordPress, you can add the alt tags to images in your Media Library or when you are adding content to your site, if you click the “Text” tab in the editor, you can modify the image’s HTML.
Adding an Alt Tag to an Image in the Media Library
In the WordPress Admin area, you will want to click on “Media” from the menu. Then, click the image you want to add an alt tag to. As you will see, a window opens up with the attachment details. To the right of the image are the details. The Alt Text field is located just below the caption field. You can then close the image, as the alt tag is automatically saved. So then, next time you use that image in a post, the alt tag will show.
Adding the Alt Tag to an Image in Your Post or Page
Let’s say the website accessibility tool identified a missing alt tag in the content of one of your pages or posts.
In the admin area of your website, when you edit the page or post with the image that has the missing alt tag, you can click the “Text” tab to display the html and then make that change.
Offer Assistance if All Else Fails
Assistive technology tools aren’t perfect. Website accessibility checkers aren’t perfect. Human beings aren’t perfect. There is bound to be hiccups in the technology. The best way to handle the hiccups is to offer your assistance. Let them know they can contact someone if their assistive technology is having issues using the website.
To make this offer of assistance known, you can post the following to your website:
If you are using a screen reader or other auxiliary aid and are having problems using this website, please call [Your Credit Union’s Telephone Number] for assistance.All products and services available on this website are available at all [Your Credit Union’s Name] full-service locations.
This statement lets them know that you care about accessibility, you’d like to assist them and welcome their feedback.
Keeping your website compliant and accessible to everyone is an ongoing process that is made easier by using the free tools provided and when in doubt, let your website users know that you are always available to assist them.