A woman and her daughter look at a computer screen.

Header: Foolproof ADA Compliance Tips for Your School's Website

When crafting a school webpage, it’s critical to consider how all users will interact with the site. It’s valuable for schools to be proactive when considering how the site will function for users with disabilities. Here are 5 simple fixes for common accessibility problems on the web.

A woman and her daughter look at a computer screen.


Problem #1: Media Accessibility

Users are unable to view or listen to images, videos, and audio files.

Fix: Create alt tags for all multimedia files on the site. These provide a description of the content that users can read or hear. Learn about how to create descriptive alt tags here. Create text transcripts for video and audio content.


Problem #2: Time Constraints

Users lose data after a site’s time limit expires or they are forced to reauthenticate. This is an issue for parents who are enrolling their children or registering to volunteer.

Fix: Make sure data entered in forms is automatically saved as a user progresses through the site.


Problem #3: Navigation

Navigation should be consistent and logical. All navigation can be performed with a keyboard.

Fix: Ensure that pages have a coherent layout and position on the site. Provide multiple pathways by which users can navigate the site. “Skip navigation” functionality will let users seamlessly access information.


Problem #4: Documents

Most schools use their website to post and share documents with pupils, parents, and the community. Many are uploaded in PDF form, and there is no way for visually impaired users to access a description.

Fix: Provide text from all documents in another text-based form, such as HTML or RTF.


Problem #5: Visual Design Elements

Color and contrast ratios are important to the aesthetic appeal of your website but can make it hard for users to view information. Additionally, many sites feature small text. Often, it is impossible for users to change the site’s settings for color and font size.


Fix: Ensure that users are able to view the site using the operating system or browser preferences for color and font size.


Feel like compliance is a lot to manage on your own?

iClassCMS provides website and app solutions for schools that are fully compliant and well designed. Learn more here.


All American commercial and public entities that use websites to advertise or provide a service are required by law to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.

Specifically, the law affects:

  • Americans with disabilities and their friends, families, and caregivers
  • Private employers with 15 or more employees
  • Businesses operating for the benefit of the public
  • All state and local government agencies

The purpose of the ADA is to ensure that people with disabilities can avail of equal opportunities, and in regards to websites the ADA aims to:

“Establish requirements for making the goods, services, facilities, privileges, accommodations, or advantages offered by public accommodations via the Internet, specifically at sites on the World Wide Web (Web), accessible to individuals with disabilities.”

The Department of Justice refers website owners and operators to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3G) for guidance as to what a website must feature in order for it to be ADA compliant.

The very latest edition of the WCAG (version 2.0) includes 12 guidelines for the four main tenants of the ADA:

A full breakdown of the 12 guidelines can be found here, which we’ve summarized below for your convenience.

  1. Perceivable

This section deals with information and user interface components, which must always be presented to users in ways they can perceive.

  • Guideline 1.1 Text Alternatives: Websites must provide text alternatives for all non-text content.
  • Guideline 1.2 Time-Based Media: Websites must provide alternatives for time-based media (audio, video etc.).
  • Guideline 1.3 Adaptable: Content must be created in such a way that it can be presented in different forms e.g. a simpler layout, without losing structure or information.
  • Guideline 1.4 Distinguishable: Users must be able to easily see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
  1. Operable

This section refers to user interface components and navigation, both of which must be operable by the user.

  • Guideline 2.1 Keyboard Accessible: All functionality must be available to access from a keyboard.
  • Guideline 2.2 Enough Time: Enough time must be provided for users to read and use content.
  • Guideline 2.3 Seizures: Websites must not design or host content in ways that are known to cause seizures.
  • Guideline 2.4 Navigable: Websites must provide users with ways that can help them navigate, find content and determine where they are.
  1. Understandable

This section relates to information and the operation of user interfaces and the fact that they must be understandable by all users.

  • Guideline 3.1 Readable: Text content must be readable and understandable.
  • Guideline 3.2 Predictable: Web pages must appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Guideline 3.3 Input Assistance: Help must be provided to ensure users can avoid and correct mistakes.
  1. Robust

This section concerns content and how it must be robust enough so that it can easily and reliably be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents including those that utilize assistive technologies.

  • Guidelines 4.1 Compatible: Websites must facilitate maximum compatibility with current and future user agents, including those that utilize assistive technologies.

Please keep in mind that the above are simply summarized versions of the provided guidelines; you can view an in-depth breakdown of each guideline on the webpage for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

It’s vital that your school website complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, as failure to do so can result in penalties and fines, which is obviously something you want to avoid.

The iClassCMS platform fully complies with the standards set in the ADA and the guidelines laid out by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, ensuring your school website is always in compliance and fit for purpose.

The iClassCMS platform also provides an annual ADA compliance report so you can get up to speed with new guidelines and maintain a best in class school website.

For more information, please get in touch with us here.