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When you consider the various aspects of your website design, you likely think of your SEO, UX, and overall aesthetics or visuals. While these factors are critical to your site’s search performance and reputation among users, one additional and crucial component of your site is its accessibility, specifically its compliance with ADA standards.

Some people still think of ADA compliance as a trend to follow, but it’s really more of a requirement due to the website standards and guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These guidelines work to ensure websites, especially those that serve members of the public, follow ADA compliance.

Commercial websites or websites that serve as online representations for businesses or establishments open to the public must be ADA-compliant. These entities can include:

  • State government organizations
  • Local government organizations
  • Private businesses
  • Online-only businesses
  • Any entity that serves the public

What Does ADA Compliance Mean for My Site?

An ADA-compliant website means that your site enacts the standards for an accessible design, which you can do by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), specifically WCAG 2.1. (2.1 is the latest version of the WCAG released in 2018—there is also a draft for 2.2 that is slated to be released as early as 2023, but we’ll cover the specifics of the newer version when it is made official.)

There are four categories related to website accessibility:

  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust


In the most basic terms, the WCAG 2.1 requirements for perceivability include:

  • Text alternatives for visual elements like images or videos—this can mean providing written descriptions of images and transcriptions or captions for videos or audio recordings featured on your site.
  • Content that is compatible with assistive technology—this can mean ensuring your content can be accessed by a screen reader, screen magnifier, and alternative input devices.
  • Design elements that are easy to see and hear—this can mean ensuring good color contrasting between a block of text and its background or using easy-to-read fonts.


In the most basic terms, the WCAG 2.1 requirements for operability include:

  • Keyboard functionality—this means any action you can do with a mouse can also be achievable through controls on the keyboard.
  • Fair time allotments to perceive the page’s content—this could mean allowing the user control over slider transitions or avoiding designs that automatically transition. If a process on your site requires implementing a time limit (for example, a timer for purchasing concert tickets or a time limit for completing a quiz), then you need to make sure the user is aware of the limit and is not hindered design-wise to complete the process in time.
  • Physically safe content—this means leaving off animations or any other element that can initiate a seizure or other dangerous physical reaction.
  • Site navigability—this means that your UX design flows in such a way that makes navigation simple and easy to follow. Utilize clear headings, a sensical flow, and good internal linking.
  • Easy-to-use navigation—this can mean making buttons larger or easy to click for those with touch screens and those with motor control issues.


In the most basic terms, the WCAG 2.1 requirements for understandability include:

  • Readable and understandable text—this means ensuring your content is well written and easy to follow. It can also mean providing translation tools that allow users to switch between languages.
  • Content predictability—this can mean keeping the menu in the same location and order on every page or using a templated page format for similar pages (i.e., service pages, location pages, etc.)
  • Easy mistake avoidance or corrections—this can mean ensuring your online forms offer guidance if they are filled out incorrectly or providing clear, descriptive instructions for completing a process.


In the most basic terms, the WCAG 2.1 requirements for a robust web design means that it is compatible with various browsers, assistive technologies, and other systems a user may need to utilize to access your site.

ADA Compliance Serves Your Users AND You

The guidelines for ADA compliance aim to ensure online spaces remain accessible to those with disabilities like audial impairments, visual disabilities, or motor-skill issues. Companies that ignore compliance and fail to follow the standards and guidelines risk paying costly fees, losing site value, and even hurting their SEO performance.

The goal of the ADA is to make all public organizations inclusive and accessible to everyone regardless of their impairment, which means web accessibility and ADA compliance are crucial components of your website’s design now and in the future.

As a result, you will experience several benefits of designing an ADA-compliant website, such as:

Gaining Trust Among All Users

Anyone who lands on your site and can take in your content, complete processes, navigate and access your pages, and complete a call to action increases their trust in your company, which increases their likelihood of becoming one of your customers.

Expanding Your Target Audience

The more people you can serve through your online presence, the more chances you have to earn business from your increased audience. Roughly 54 million people suffer from disabilities in the US, which accounts for about 16% of the nation’s population. Within this 16% are people who likely need your company’s goods and services. Through an inclusive, universally accessible website, you can position yourself to reach more consumers and convert them into customers.

Improving Your SEO

When search engine crawlers scan your website, they evaluate your UX and take note of whether your site caters to the user or not. If your site scores well for accessibility and UX and appeals to search engines and users alike, it will likely rank better in search results over competitor sites that do not prioritize accessibility.

Avoiding Costly Penalties

Designing your site around ADA compliance not only serves all users who land on your website, but it can also protect you from the expense of ignoring accessibility. The government can issue non-compliance fees to businesses, and disabled users can file hefty lawsuits against a company if they cannot access the website adequately. Ensuring your site is ADA-compliant saves yourself and your company from possible costly repercussions.

M&R Marketing is ready to design your site, following accessibility guidelines and ensuring you provide visitors with an ADA-compliant website.

Our graphic designers, copywriters, and web developers create visually stunning and highly accessible websites for the benefit of all users, and we’re really to go ALL IN to create an ADA-compliant site for your company! Talk to one of our friendly account managers about your site needs today: 478-621-4491.

We’ve been covering several topics about website design in our latest design series. Check out some of our most recent articles here:

And stay tuned for upcoming topics, like:

  • Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? Why Mobile Web Design Is Crucial
  • A Web Baker’s Dozen: 13 Website Design Stats You Should Know
  • Helpful Tips for Improving Your Site’s UX