ADA compliance among transit authorities is no longer optional– it is a regulation; however, it is important to remember that the purpose of the law is to provide those with disabilities greater independence as they use online services (read about the law).
So, what level of compliance is right for transit authorities? The answer is not how stringent you want/need the website to be, but how friendly and welcoming you want the user experience to be. I truly believe ADA compliance is a reflection of who you are as a transit authority, and how you work to accommodate needs. With that in mind, the WCGA AA standards (view standards) are the best reference for developers and technical experts.
As a start, here are a few of my top tips for marketing and management teams:
- Simplify your content. I consider this the most important, unwritten aspect of ADA compliance. Many transit authorities suffer as a result of letting their website become a “melting pot” of content within the organization; therefore, I suggest that marketing officers need to be extremely careful not to let other departments exercise authority on website content. In other words, focus on the end user while supporting your decisions with analytics.
- Keep the design simple. Do not excessively use multiple backgrounds and images, instead be selective on the website’s overall feel and purpose. Pictures and video are great, but be sure to always provide alternative text (i.e. transcripts, close captions, etc.).
- Keep your navigation clear and compact. Your navigation labels should be easy for users to understand. Be wary of using jargon when labeling website items. My best suggestion is to conduct usability testing with actual consumers, not the people within your agency.
- Do audits as often as possible. The best way to stay compliant is to keep your pulse on the ever-changing nuances of technologies. At a minimum, conduct testing once a year.
For specific questions or help with ADA website compliance, consider enlisting a professional transit website development firm.