What’s the Difference Between ADA Compliance and a WordPress Plugin?
Many companies and organizations take the accessibility of their websites seriously, and rightly so – more and more people are discovering the pleasures of online shopping, and corporate websites will lose out on business if they are not accessible to everyone. It’s great to see so much progress in this area.
Two areas of web development that are gaining popularity are ADA (American Disability Act) compliance and implementing a WordPress blog. The first represents ensuring that websites are “navigable”, or accessible to everyone, regardless of their limitations. The second represents using WordPress, a popular blogging platform, which is fully accessible to all users. Here’s a quick comparison between the two:
The American with Disabilities Act generally requires websites and online services to be accessible to people with disabilities. If you’re wondering, “What is ADA compliance?”, it’s the process of making sure that your website meets the requirements of the ADA,” explains Rick Herschman, a disability access consultant and author of Mastering WordPress accessibility. “Ensure that text size is large enough for people with vision impairments, that images are high-contrast with text, and that content is clearly and understandably presented.”
Herschman goes on to note that the ADA doesn’t require a specific website plugin or module, though many developers opt to integrate their products with WordPress to make things easy for their clients.
WordPress plugins are tools that allow you to extend the functionality of WordPress itself. They can add features to your WordPress site such as integrating with third-party services or marketing tools, improving security, or automating routine tasks. Some plugins are even able to modify the behavior of WordPress itself. For example, the All-in-One SEO Pack plugin allows you to rewire the way WordPress handles links so they point to the content you want instead of to a blank space (called a 404 – not found).
WordPress plugins make it easy to set up an accessible blog. The size of the text on your blog’s posts can be adjusted using the WordPress Content Screen plugin, which allows you to set a maximum and minimum font size for all posts. And you can use plugins to ensure that your blog has the appropriate alt tags – alternative texts used to describe images – and is otherwise compliant with accessibility standards. For more information on WordPress accessibility, check out the WordPress website’s Accessibility Help Center.
It is worth noting that although WordPress is an extremely accessible and usable blogging platform, it is not a free platform. Costs range from $5 a month to as much as $30,000 a year. But if your budget allows, it is highly recommended.
Ada Versus WordPress
So, which is better, ADA compliance or a WordPress blog? That depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a simple, cost-effective solution that will get the job done, go with WordPress. But if you want an accessible website with all the bells and whistles, go with ADA compliance.
WordPress offers a basic version for free, which you can use to set up your blog. It also offers premium versions that add additional features and integrate with third-party services. Most hosting accounts come with a free WordPress account, so you won’t incur any additional fees if you use that.
What About The Future Of Web Design?
As mentioned, the ADA does not require a specific design for accessible websites. However, many designers have chosen to follow suit and use accessible design practices for their work. Some cite usability as their primary focus, while others aim for practical integration with third-party services.
In a perfect world, everyone would have access to the same quality websites and online services. But until then, it’s up to us – as designers and developers – to create accessible designs that make surfing the web a pleasant experience for everyone.