Around 20% of people suffer from some form of disability. The things that we seamlessly do every day, like browsing the web in search of our favorite TV show, often present an obstacle for millions of people worldwide. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance regulations require your website to be accessible to people that don’t have the luxury of performing everyday tasks as easily as many of us do. Besides potentially excluding nearly 61 million Americans that are living with some sort of disability, companies can also receive a $150,000 fine for every ADA compliance violation. Although WordPress provides a ton of options for creating accessible websites, there are still numerous items to check off your list to make sure that your navigation and content are accessible to people with disabilities. Luckily, the plugin development community did its best to provide us with a wide selection of tools so we can face the challenges that come with accessibility. Since our digital marketing agency is committed to making the internet accessible to everyone, here is our list of 5 WordPress plugins designed to help you achieve greater measures of ADA compliance.
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WordPress ADA Compliance Check Basic
As the name suggests, this plugin checks your WordPress websites for ADA compliance. It offers two modes for you to choose from. You can scan your entire website to find out if there are any WordPress ADA compliance issues as well as set the plugin to run each time you publish new content. The plugin will then identify and report on any issues found while also recommending possible solutions.
With regular updates to ensure full compliance with ADA standards, WordPress Accessibility addresses persistent accessibility challenges. Among a host of various options, it gives you the ability to:
- Add language and text direction with HTML attributes
- Toggle toolbar between high contrast, large print, and grayscale views to help users read your content more easily
- Add long descriptions to images
- Each of these features can be turned on or off in the settings section. WordPress Accessibility plugin also comes with a couple of built-in third-party tools that you can use to further enhance its performance, such as those for CSS diagnosis or tools to show the contrast between hexadecimal color values.
Accessible Poetry adds a floating button on your screen. When you click on this button, a toolbar appears that allows you to change the font as well as contrast. There is also an option for zooming in and out of the page, disabling animations and on screen flashes, and many more. You can also use Skiplinks to navigate the main areas of the page with your keyboard. Its most prominent feature is the ALT Platform area inside the WordPress Dashboard. This feature alerts you if there are any images uploaded to your website that don’t have an ALT tag assigned and provides an option to set a tag directly from the listing.
Accessibility Suite is a WordPress plugin that addresses Section 508 of the ADA compliance requirements. Section 508 is a federal accessibility law that applies to federal agencies and departments rather than organizations in the private sector. By adding this plugin to your WordPress website, you can:
- Schedule an automatic accessibility scan of your website
- Get shareable reports that summarize the plugin’s scan results
- Save previous accessibility scans so you can easily monitor progress and changes that you make
- View errors using various filters, such as by page or object
- Receive a list of steps that you can take in order to fix the accessibility of your website
Text-To-Speech PHP/JS Script Converter
Text-To-Speech PHP/JS Script Converter is a commercial plugin for converting text into spoken language. It is multilingual as it offers support for 44 languages as well as the option to choose from many different voices. Best of all, it doesn’t require any sort of additional framework to function properly. You should, however, keep in mind that this plugin is not fully automated and you will need to add some code to HTML wrapper elements for any items you wish to enable the text-to-speech option for.
A few things to check when adding WordPress ADA compliance plugins
While plugins usually make updating and managing your website easy, they can also cause issues and make your website unusable. This is where WP ADA Compliance Check Basic comes in handy. This easy-to-use tool answers some of the most important questions when it comes to adding a plugin to your WordPress website:
- Is the plugin up to date? – More often than not, installing an out of date plugin will cause issues to your website. This is why it is important to check the WordPress version of the plugin you intended to install on the right-hand side and compare it to yours.
- Does the plugin have any bugs or issues? – Under the Support and Reviews tab you can check the experience that other users have with the plugin. If you find that the plugin has a history of problems, you may want to reconsider your choice. It is better to be safe than sorry.
- Can a developer help if the plugin causes severe issues? – Although not that common, plugins can cause severe issues to websites and you may suddenly find yourself in need of a developer to fix them. This is why you need to make sure you have help available, in case anything out of ordinary should happen.
Asking the above questions before you add a plugin to your website will ensure that you install only the most reliable plugins that usually work like charms.
In this day and age, the internet has evolved to the point that it must meet or even exceed many laws and regulations we experience in the physical world. Much like in the real world, accessibility is the standard we should strive for in the digital world as well. Making your WordPress website ADA compliant takes time, effort, and a reliable web design, but it is more than worth your while. It all starts with the least we can do – giving our websites a bit of tweak – and continues with the opening of minds to a common mission – to provide the world with equal opportunity for all.