The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed by the federal government in 1990 to protect people who require physical accommodations against discrimination; ADA compliance now extends to websites. Owners of websites that are not ADA compliant can face legal consequences.
Whether or not a store receives a complaint about their website, the primary goal of ADA compliance is inclusivity, and stores should keep this in mind when updating their websites to be more accessible. Accessible websites support people who may use assistive technology to navigate the internet, foster a more welcoming environment within the book community, and help to reach a greater population.
Overall, the best practice regarding ADA compliance is to be proactive. If you are contacted by someone suggesting you're not compliant, test your website and make efforts to improve it immediately. You may also contact ABA with questions by emailing email@example.com. Booksellers can use WebAccessibility.com to test their website. This resource is free, and users can check up to five websites without a membership.
Booksellers can read more about 2021 ADA website accessibility standards here. And this article from Business News Daily includes some simple tips for making a website more accessible.
Adapted from the Business News Daily article, here are some common ways to address website accessibility:
- Create alt text for all images, videos, and audio files
- Create text transcripts for video and audio content
- Identify the site’s language in the header code
- Offer alternatives and suggestions when users encounter input errors
- Create a consistent, organized layout
In 2018, the American Booksellers Association also held a webinar on ADA compliance. Find more information and watch it here.