SEO best practices support ADA compliance for digital accessibility

In September 2010, the Department of Justice released the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. This became the standard for accessibility of goods and services offered on the web by entities. Website owners who did not comply positioned themselves to not have great user experience for people with disabilities. Some have even faced lawsuits as a result of not complying with the ADA standards.

Recently, Domino’s Pizza was hit with a lawsuit from a blind man who alleged that the company’s website and mobile app were not accessible to people with disabilities. Specifically, the man cited that the site did not have alt text for the images required and was unable to place an order because his reading software was not able to communicate the information to him. Domino’s appealed but the Supreme Court rejected the appeal, allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

Now, it behooves site owners to abide by ADA standards, not just because of the risk of lawsuits, but most importantly to be more accessible to people with disabilities. If you’re actively managing your website SEO, then you are in good shape from an ADA compliance standpoint as many elements of SEO overlap with ADA standards. By following SEO best practices, you are also optimizing your site’s and mobile app’s accessibility.
SEO tactics that support ADA compliance

Image Alt Tags and Captions

As highlighted above with the Domino’s Pizza lawsuit, images on the page should have clear descriptions of the content of the image. This way a screen reader can identify and read the image appropriately as well as give search bots an indicator about the image and if it’s being used to point to a link.
To check if images across your website have alt texts you can leverage a crawl tool such as Screaming Frog which allows you to see individual files and their respective alt text. You can bulk export reports on images that are missing alt text.



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