ADA compliance is a crucial element of web design and functionality that is greatly overlooked in the multifamily industry. ADA Standards for Accessible Design pertain not only to multifamily apartment structures but also to their websites and online applications. When curating your apartment community's digital user experience (UX), it is extremely important to keep ADA standards in mind in order to ensure compliance and minimize your company's legal risk.
Although implementing certain elements of ADA standards may require additional time and resources, taking the following proactive measures benefits both your website visitors as well as your own organic SEO. Discover 6 points of ADA best practices below that will benefit your website viewers and your multifamily organization!
1. Color Contrast Levels
Poor color contrast. People with limited vision or color blindness cannot read text if there is not enough contrast between the text and background (for example, light gray text on a light-colored background). -ADA.gov
Providing the text on your website or online application with sufficient contrast from its background color (or image) is imperative in ensuring that those with limited vision or color blindness can clearly read what is on your site.
Pro tip: Userway is a fantastic application to install on your website that checks the amount of contrast between your text and backgrounds. Userway allows you to make adjustments as needed throughout your entire web development process. Furthermore, it checks and adjusts text sizes to make certain that your text is neither too large nor too small.
2. Color to Give Information
Use of color alone to give information. People who are color-blind may not have access to information when that information is conveyed using only color cues because they cannot distinguish certain colors from others. Also, screen readers do not tell the user the color of text on a screen, so a person who is blind would not be able to know that color is meant to convey certain information (for example, using red text alone to show which fields are required on a form). -ADA.gov
Color blind individuals cannot rely on colors to denote underlying meaning within text. Drawing from the example above provided by ADA.org, try using an asterisk or other symbol to signify a required field in an online form rather than using color to denote information.
3. Text Alternatives ("Alt Text")
Lack of text alternatives (“alt text”) on images. People who are blind will not be able to understand the content and purpose of images, such as pictures, illustrations, and charts, when no text alternative is provided. Text alternatives convey the purpose of an image, including pictures, illustrations, charts, etc. -ADA.gov
This is a best practice that we've observed as WIDELY overlooked and neglected in the multifamily industry. Adding alt text to images uploaded to your website is crucial in ensuring that individuals who are blind will understand the content displayed on your webpages.
Pro tip: Add alt text to images on your website IMMEDIATELY upon upload so that it is not overlooked. Bonus: Adding a title, description, AND alt text to your images will actually improve your own organic SEO! This is a best practice that is certainly a win-win and can give your website a competitive edge in the industry.
Need help writing alt text for your property images? Contact us for assistance!
4. Video Captions
No captions on videos. People with hearing disabilities may not be able to understand information communicated in a video if the video does not have captions. -ADA.gov
Have videos uploaded on your property website? ADA standards require captions on videos in order to assist individuals with hearing disabilities in understanding the information being communicated. Thankfully, there are plenty of applications out there that will help autogenerate video captions!
5. Online Forms
Inaccessible online forms. People with disabilities may not be able to fill out, understand, and accurately submit forms without certain elements. -ADA.gov
The following elements should be included on online forms in order to meet ADA compliance:
Labels that screen readers can convey to their users (such as text that reads “credit card number” where that number should be entered)
Error indicators (such as alerts telling the user a form field is missing or incorrect)
6. Keyboard Navigation
Mouse-only navigation (lack of keyboard navigation). People with disabilities who cannot use a mouse or trackpad will not be able to access web content if they cannot navigate a website using a keyboard. -ADA.gov
Enabling keyboard navigation on your website or application ensures that those who cannot utilize a mouse or trackpad will be able to explore your site and fill out any necessary information.
ADA compliance isn't an option; it should be a priority in multifamily digital experience. ADA standards and best practices allow websites and applications to be widely accessible to users on a variety of platforms. Moreover, certain best practices can gives your website a competitive edge by enhancing your own organic SEO!
Interested in a website health and ADA compliance analysis? J&J Creative specializes in providing multifamily and real estate companies with high-converting websites, copywriting, SEO, website analytics, and ongoing maintenance. We are passionate about leveling up the digital presence of our clients to help them attract better leads and increase their digital footprints. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation!