Hackernoon logoHow to Make Your Website ADA Compliant Using WordPress Plugins by@briandordevic

How to Make Your Website ADA Compliant Using WordPress Plugins

Brian Dordevic Hacker Noon profile picture

@briandordevicBrian Dordevic

10 years of Strategic planning for Search Engine Marketing and Technical Lead for web apps.

How to Be Sure whether Your WordPress Website is ADA Compliant

Web and digital accessibility is a must-have option in the contemporary online environment. The principles of accessibility, usability, and interactive design have become indispensable elements of any website or app, the moment ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance regulations supported them. In short, ADA requires every website must be accessible to everyone. Especially to those people with disabilities.

Inclusive design is all about pondering the wide range of human abilities. And when we say this, we should take into account all the vulnerable groups of people who face different physical or mental constraints or adverse situations. For this reason, creating an accessible and welcoming environment for the users of websites or apps is of utmost importance. So, whenever you start designing a new website or app, always have in mind that aside from strict legal norms regulating this part of the website's functionalities, there is so much greater cause to follow.

And that cause is accessibility for all

Accessibility enables the constrained users to use all the benefits of websites and the internet overall. It allows them to operate the websites and apps interactively, understanding the product and services, and navigate all the features seamlessly on the particular website.

So, How Accessibility & Usability Work in a Practical Example?

Let's focus on the alternative text feature.

WordPress users most commonly find this feature within the Yoast SEO plugin. Although it affects your SEO rankings, it also has great usability and accessibility potential since it could be more than a handy feature for persons who are blind and can not see the screen. In this case, the alternative text feature could work as an audible explanation and description of the presented image through the alternative text feature.

How to Know Whether Your Website is Compliant With ADA or Not?

The best and most secure way to know whether your website is compliant with ADA or not is by using different platforms and tools. They automatically scan and analyze websites, confirming or not if the specific website is fully compliant with ADA, WCAG 2.1, Section 508, and EN 301 549 standards.

One of the highly recommended tools by WordPress is the Wave Tool, a trusted service that successfully tests website accessibility. Wave Tool is pretty simple to use. By typing your website's URL in an empty field, and the results will be ready in a while.

It could be done manually, too, by following all the regulations of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, but since it is a time-consuming practice, we rather advise using the automated platforms.

In order to attain full ADA compliance on your WordPress website, we present you with the list of ultimate plugins for scanning and improving your content, themes, and code that will empower your users and your website, too.

WordPress ADA Compliance Check Basic

The WordPress ADA Compliance Check Basic is a plugin that operates on WordPress websites and scans whether the specific website is ADA compliant.

This plugin will help you to check the web accessibility and adjust the content to the standards, according to regulations of Section 508, WCAG 2.1, and LEVEL A/AA.

By scanning the content across the entire website, it reveals all the issues and provides its users with an Accessibility report that marks all the issues and instructions on how to perform the corrections. Yet, the scan run by this plugin is not limited to content checks. It pushes the scan all throughout the themes, widgets, iframes, shortcodes, excerpts, archives, CSS files, custom fields, terms, menus, and even linked pages.

It's compatible with few page builders such as:

  • Gutenberg,
  • Elementor,
  • Beaver Builder,
  • ClassicPress.

Meaning you can be entirely sure it will work seamlessly and attain a great user experience for your website visitors.

WordPress Accessibility

WordPress Accessibility is another WordPress plugin that ensures full compliance with ADA regulations. The plugin fixes issues in the core of WordPress themes which is the greatest advantage it provides. Furthermore, there are some advanced tools supporting all those who lack HTML knowledge.

The plugin provides its users with:

  • Skip links are a great add-on for screen readers who cannot list through the content with ease. Skip links actually provide the screen readers to skip from the top of the page to a particular part of that page.
  • Setting the language and text direction with HTML attributes. This tool provides the screen readers to have a better experience with pronunciation rules when reading the content. In cases when language is defined or is set on default, it means that the screen reader will use the users' installation language on a certain device and try to guess how to pronounce the words of specific content.
  • The toggle toolbar feature provides its users to read the content easier, with the help of high contrast, large print, and grayscale views.
  • Long image descriptions through the longdesc attribute create a description field for images and support its users with in-detail information.
  • Testing the color contrast of the two provided hexadecimal color values.
  • Detects the CSS problems in the visual editor or on the front-end, running a CSS diagnosis.

Nevertheless, although it can fix the majority of problems and is one of the advanced plugins of this kind, it can not resolve every problem. Remember that there is no proper substitute for good web accessibility practices.

Accessible Poetry

By installing the Accessible Poetry plugin, your WordPress website will be provided with a floating button on the screen, enabling multiple options for users who need accessible web navigation.

A click on the button within a toolbar allows the users a wide range of adjustments, such as:

  • Changing the size of the font or contrast.
  • Zooming in or zooming out of the page,
  • Disabling animations or on-screen flashes.
  • Using Skip links to navigate specific parts of the page, using the keyboard only.
  • ALT Platform area inside the WordPress Dashboard. This feature sends alerts every time it detects any image uploaded to the website without an ALT tag description and allows the possibility to set a tag directly from the listing.

Text-To-Speech PHP/JS Script Converter

Text-To-Speech PHP/JS Script Converter is an add-on that provides its users to convert the text into speech. This plugin is providing multilingual features since it supports 44 different languages and voices to be chosen.

From the technical perspective, it is an HTML5 and Google’s TTS script-based plugin, entirely independent from any other frameworks. However, it is not a fully automated plugin. Hence, it needs some code enhancements to HTML wrapper elements in order to attain the text-to-speech feature.

Don't Miss to Check the Functionalities When Installing WordPress ADA Compliance Plugins.

Just like you would check any other plugin before installing it to your website, you should do the same with ADA compliance plugins. Although the primary purpose of adding plugins to your WordPress site is to manage the site easier, if you miss resolving some of the issues listed below, it could affect your webpage loading time and the users' experience overall.

Is the plugin up to date?

Plugin updates should be performed on a regular basis. Since plugins provide the website with enhanced functionalities and features, it is tremendously important to update it when the developer releases a new version. New versions mean new features, improved code quality, and enhanced security. Whenever you use an out-dated plugin, you are missing to use its full potential.

Always check:

  • How often is the plugin updated? (Because this means that the developer is active on this project).
  • When is the plugin last updated?
  • Is the version compatible with your WordPress version?
  • How many active installations it has?

Are there any bugs or issues?

Don't miss checking reviews and experiences of other users before you decide to install a specific plugin. If you see that plugin has some history of problems, it would be better to skip it.

Is there any support for the user?

Although the support is only needed if the plugin causes some serious issue on the website, which is rarely happening, you should be assured of having the developers’ support in fixing bugs.

Websites Accessible to All.

No matter if users are visually impaired, hearing impaired, or navigating by voice, accessibility and equal opportunities for all can be created in various ways.

Whether you'll create alt descriptions for all images and videos on your website or dedicate to creating text transcripts for videos or audio content, whether you'll insist on setting the site's language in the header code, or you will try to hear what users say and how you can improve a users experience overall, making ADA compliant website is a matter of understanding, empathy, and respecting their rights.

Brian Dordevic Hacker Noon profile picture
by Brian Dordevic @briandordevic. 10 years of Strategic planning for Search Engine Marketing and Technical Lead for web apps. Make It.


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