Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements for web sites were supposed to take effect in 2018, but thanks to a recent Florida ruling covered in our earlier post they are now for all intents and purposes in effect. I can personally testify to that, as in July alone we started work on multiple compliance requests from new clients who were being sued by enterprising legal professionals that got a whiff of this new requirement.
What ADA accessibility for web sites means in plain language is that any web site that can be remotely classified as selling goods or services to the public has to conform to ADA standards such as content readability, keyboard navigation and image contrast. While this imposes additional set of requirements on all aspects of web development, from UX to design and development, it also creates opportunities to take everyone’s work to the next level in terms of overall quality and thoroughness.
In addition, for those working in frameworks such as WordPress and Drupal and others, there are ADA-compliant themes available that are supposed to meet all legal requirement if used with minimal modifications, usually restricted to branding with client’s logo, images, colors and fonts. For custom web development, ADA compliance usually adds 20% to front end work on projects done from the start, or starting at 30-40 hours (for small informational sites) and up when applied to existing custom builds .
Most of the larger web sites we’ve worked in the last few years already has to meet compliance requirements, but now ADA is required of smaller online destinations as well. The two alternatives - increase in cost for custom builds and ADA complaint themes - will continue the trend of the last few years, increasingly driving new smaller web site projects toward frameworks and themes, while more complex web sites will continue as custom builds.