As the awareness of web accessibility has grown in the last few years, many have begun to realize that applications need to be as accessible. After all, they’re a prominent part of daily life, and thus they fall under ADA’s protected public places of accommodation. Of course, the different courts of various circuits will have mixed opinions on the matter, and there aren’t many cases to be referenced.
With a more sensitive administration to the disabled community, the DOJ is expected to make its standards more comprehensible. And experts expect them to closely follow the WCAG 2.1. With that said, we’ll cover everything that app developers must understand about ADA and WCAG compliance in this post.
Do applications have to comply with ADA or WCAG?
In a nutshell, applications must generally be ADA and WCAG compliant. However, it all depends on the law in which an organization functions. For example, the ADA Title 3 covers commercial businesses. Federally-funded organizations and educational institutions, municipalities, governments, and those who sell digital products and services to the aforementioned entities will fall under Section 508 & 504 of the Rehab Act, including ADA Title 2, which prohibits all discrimination based on the individual's ability. The Rehab Act's 2018 update addresses digital content and websites directly, enforcing compliance with WCAG 2.0.
ATs or assistive technologies are the tools that people with disabilities generally use when interacting with digital content. For web accessibility, a good example of this is the accessiBe's tech solutions which include an interface that presents users with customization options like size and shape modification of visual elements, and a selection of interface colors. If you want to learn more about this solution, read up on the accessiBe WordPress review.
For applications on mobile devices, ATs range from output to input tools, the majority of which are incorporated into their operating systems. For example, screen readers can read out element descriptions and content aloud. Some can even be integrated with external Bluetooth assistive technologies like a braille reader, which aids people with visual impairments navigate through their respective devices with ease.
Virtual assistants are also another feature that can enhance the experience for the differently-abled. Through voice commands alone, users can interact with their devices, and this is an incredible advantage for people whose conditions limit their senses, activities, or movements.
Developing apps for WCAG and ADA compliance
The key to avoiding launch delays and additional costs when developing applications is by making accessibility a core priority from the outset instead of an afterthought. Developers must bring in accessibility consultants early into the development cycle. It may sound like an extra expense, but it will help save a considerable amount of money and time down the line.
Accessibility is no longer an option; it's a rule. For any business to succeed, it must remain compliant with ADA guidelines and the WCAG, or they'll miss out on opportunities to capitalize on a huge market, and app developers are no exception. So make sure that you consider accessibility when you begin developing applications.