Four Ways to Make Your Website More Accessible to Disabled Users

As more and more business is conducted online, meeting the needs of disabled clients goes well beyond installing ramps or rails. Courts and regulators are engaged in a debate about which website features should be required under the Americans with Disabilities Act. No matter the outcome, following best practices not only guards against legal liability, but also ensures that your firm can communicate with the largest possible audience. In most cases, assistive technology already exists to give disabled users full access to websites — but sites must be built to accommodate those features.

To ensure your website is accessible by people with disabilities, you should be able to answer yes to the following questions:

  • Is your text readable to people with visual limitations? — Many people have difficulty reading website text that is small or presented with insufficient color contrast. A user with a capable browser should be able to adjust text size, and site color schemes should meet readability standards.
  • Can a screen reader find your links? — Whether they are inserted in text, contained in images or shown as buttons, hyperlinks should be detectable to visually impaired people employing their screen readers. Usually, this means that the screen reader’s synthesized voice says “link” when one is available.
  • Can people navigate the site using speech recognition? — For people who cannot use a keyboard or mouse, speech recognition software enables them to get to and navigate within a site by using voice commands. This type of accessibility should exist for smartphone users and be available throughout the site, including interactive areas such as “contact us” forms. Software is available to aid in this, as well.
  • Does your site eject slower responders? — Websites sometimes include timeout provisions when required user action is not completed within a desired timeframe. These can present real problems for individuals with several types of disabilities who might require extra time to perform the required task. If your site has timeout features, finding a simple way to extend the time limit is important.

At Martindale-Hubbell, we build our websites to meet these standards and present law firm credentials to the widest possible range of clients and prospects. To learn more about establishing a marketing presence that is accessible to people with disabilities — and to see examples of how the technology works — contact one of our legal marketing specialists.

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