​​​​Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Title III of the law prohibits discrimination in “places of public accommodations,” which the Department of Justice (DOJ) has interpreted to include websites and web content. Courts have also ruled in favor of accessibility, making the DOJ’s stance and case law clear: websites that are not accessible are in violation of the ADA.

What is covered within the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The ADA exists to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Specifically, Title III of the ADA was written to ensure that “places of public accommodations” are accessible to people with disabilities. The law was established in 1990, before the widespread use of the internet, and originally focused on physical spaces. This could include everything from commercial spaces (stores) to public transportation (bus stops and train stations) or any space serving the public in some way.

However, now that the internet is mainstream and interaction takes place online, “places of public accommodations” has been interpreted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US federal court system to include websites. If you operate a website to sell products or otherwise provide services to the public, the DOJ and case law have made it clear: the ADA applies to your website, and it must be accessible.

What is ADA compliance for a website?

In order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), digital content must be free of barriers, making it usable for everyone, including people with disabilities. To accomplish this, the best practice is to follow the success criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG is a set of technical standards that, when applied, make online content accessible for users of all abilities. To read more about WCAG, visit our page on WCAG conformance.

How do I test my website and web content for ADA compliance?

Is your website ADA compliant? Visit webaccessibility.com, a free ADA website compliance checker, to test your site. Each URL entered will include over 200 automated tests run. You will instantly receive a Compliance Score and a list of accessibility issues that need remediation. These automated tests are a starting point to understand your level of compliance. They will reveal many—but not all—violations. Manual testing is required to ensure a site is truly accessible.