How to Create Accessible PDFs for Your Website

In today’s digital age, accessibility is a crucial aspect of any website. As more businesses recognize the importance of inclusivity, ensuring that everyone can access and navigate their online content has become a top priority. When it comes to sharing information in a portable and universally compatible format, PDFs are a popular choice. However, creating accessible PDFs that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be a challenge, and many websites are being sued for having inaccessible PDFs. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of creating accessible PDFs for your website, helping you reach a wider audience and ensure compliance with accessibility standards.

Use Clear and Descriptive File Names:

When creating a PDF, start by giving it a clear and descriptive file name. This helps individuals who use screen readers or assistive technologies to understand the content of the file before opening it. By using keywords that accurately describe the PDF’s contents, you enhance its accessibility and make it easier for users to find and comprehend.

Ensure Proper Document Structure:

To make your PDF accessible, it’s essential to establish a logical and well-structured document hierarchy. Use headings, subheadings, and paragraphs appropriately to organize your content. These structural elements enable users to navigate through the document using assistive technologies such as screen readers, providing them with a seamless reading experience.

Add Alternative Text (Alt Text) to Images:

Images play an important role in conveying information, but they can be inaccessible to people with visual impairments. By adding alternative text (alt text) to images in your PDF, you provide a textual description that can be read by screen readers. Alt text should be concise, descriptive, and convey the purpose or meaning of the image accurately.

Choose Accessible Fonts and Colors:

Font selection and color contrast are crucial aspects of PDF accessibility. Use fonts that are easy to read and understand, avoiding decorative or script fonts that may hinder legibility. Additionally, ensure that the text has sufficient contrast with the background color to enhance readability for users with visual impairments.

Include Descriptive Hyperlinks:

If your PDF contains hyperlinks, it’s essential to make them descriptive and meaningful. Instead of using generic phrases like “click here,” provide specific and informative link text that accurately describes the linked content. This enables users with screen readers to understand the purpose of the link without relying on surrounding context.

Use Proper Table Markup:

When presenting tabular information in a PDF, it’s crucial to use proper table markup to maintain accessibility. Structure your tables using table headers (th) and table data (td) elements. This allows assistive technologies to interpret the table’s content accurately and present it to users in a meaningful way.

Ensure Readability with Proper Formatting:

Consider the readability of your PDF by using appropriate formatting techniques. Utilize headings, bullet points, and numbered lists to organize information and improve scannability. These formatting elements make it easier for users to navigate and comprehend the content, especially when using assistive technologies.

Run Accessibility Checks:

After creating your PDF, it’s essential to run accessibility checks using tools like Adobe Acrobat Pro or other PDF accessibility validators. These tools can identify any accessibility issues within your document and provide suggestions for improvement. By fixing these issues, you enhance the accessibility and usability of your PDFs. Typical tests include Adobe Accessibility and PAC 2021/ PAC 3 report showing PDF/UA-1 compliance. PDFs need to be downloaded instead of using a web browser for proper text-to-speed or screen reader functionality using Adobe Acrobat Reader DC with Voiceover and Adobe Acrobat Reader DC with NVDA.

Provide Text Versions of Non-Text Content:

In some cases, your PDF may include non-text content such as charts, graphs, or diagrams. To ensure accessibility, it’s important to provide text versions or descriptions of this content. You can include a summary or a detailed explanation of the visual elements in the PDF, allowing individuals who cannot see the images to understand the information they convey.

Consider Language and Reading Order:

If your PDF contains multiple languages or complex reading orders, take extra care to maintain accessibility. Clearly indicate the language of each section and ensure that the reading order follows a logical flow. This helps individuals who use screen readers or other assistive technologies to understand and navigate the content correctly.

Include Accessible Forms:

If your PDF contains forms, make sure they are accessible to all users. Use proper form fields and labels, allowing individuals using assistive technologies to understand the purpose of each field and provide the necessary information accurately. Additionally, consider providing an accessible alternative, such as an HTML form on your website, for users who may have difficulty interacting with PDF forms.

Provide Contact Information and Support:

Even with accessible PDFs, some users may still encounter challenges or have specific accessibility requirements. It’s important to provide contact information or support options where users can reach out for assistance. This demonstrates your commitment to accessibility and helps users feel supported and valued.

It’s crucial to remember that accessibility is an ongoing process. Regularly reviewing and updating your PDFs is essential to ensure they comply with the latest accessibility standards and guidelines. Seeking feedback from users, especially those with disabilities, can provide valuable insights into their experiences and help you make further improvements.

By creating accessible PDFs for your website, you not only meet ADA regulations but also foster inclusivity and expand your audience reach. Accessible content benefits individuals with disabilities, enhances user experience, and showcases your commitment to creating an inclusive online environment.

Here at EcomBack, we fully understand the significance of accessibility in the digital world. Our expertise lies in developing websites and PDFs that adhere to ADA guidelines and prioritize accessibility. Our team of experts is ready to assist you in optimizing your PDFs for accessibility, ensuring that your valuable content reaches all users, regardless of their abilities.

If you’re seeking professional guidance in creating accessible PDFs for your website and enhancing your online presence, we invite you to contact us at EcomBack. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services and discover how we can help you create accessible PDFs that empower inclusivity and elevate your online brand.

Overcoming Common ADA Compliance Challenges in Web Design

Overcoming Common ADA Compliance Challenges in Web Design

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all aspects of public life. In the digital era, this includes website accessibility. An ADA accessible website ensures that individuals with disabilities can access the same information and services as anyone else, embodying the spirit of inclusivity. However, ADA Website Design presents its own unique set of challenges.

Here at EcomBack, we’re committed to creating an accessible online environment for everyone. We are experts in website development that is not just visually appealing but also ADA compliant.

Understanding the Importance of an ADA Accessible Website

An ADA accessible website is more than just a requirement; it’s a commitment to inclusivity. Websites that do not comply with ADA guidelines risk potential legal implications and lose out on a significant audience who may not be able to access their site’s content. By integrating ADA Website Compliance Services into your website development process, you demonstrate your commitment to accessibility and inclusivity.

Challenges in ADA Website Design and How to Overcome Them

ADA Website Design comes with its own set of unique challenges. Let’s delve into the most common obstacles and how to effectively overcome them.

Navigational Difficulties

One of the most common challenges in ADA website design is ensuring that all site elements are easily navigable for people with disabilities. To overcome this, web developers need to create clear, simple navigation options and include descriptive tags for all visual content.

Inadequate Keyboard Functionality

For users who can’t use a mouse, keyboard functionality becomes critical. Websites should be developed in such a way that users can navigate through all sections using only the keyboard.

Compatibility with Assistive Technologies

Many individuals with disabilities rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers to browse the internet. Ensuring your website is compatible with these technologies is integral to making your site ADA compliant.

EcomBack’s ADA Website Compliance Services

At EcomBack, we offer expert ADA Website Compliance Services that ensure your website meets all ADA guidelines. Our team is skilled in developing sites that are not just compliant but also offer an engaging and seamless user experience for everyone.

Our Approach to ADA Accessible Website Design

We ensure that your site is accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities. We do this by ensuring keyboard functionality, assistive technology compatibility, and easy navigation options in our website development process.

Using Technology to Ensure Compliance

Our team uses state-of-the-art technology and regular audits to ensure that your website remains compliant with the ever-evolving ADA guidelines.

Continuous Support and Updates

We don’t just deliver a website and leave; we provide ongoing support and updates to ensure your website stays up-to-date with the latest ADA guidelines.

The Ever-Evolving Nature of ADA Website Compliance

Just like the rapid changes in technology and design trends, ADA guidelines too, are continually evolving. EcomBack’s team stays abreast of the latest changes and ensures your website’s continued compliance. Regular audits form an integral part of our ADA Website Compliance Services, giving you peace of mind.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in ADA Website Design

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be instrumental in making an ADA accessible website. AI can automate the accessibility testing process and identify potential issues more accurately than manual methods. At EcomBack, we use cutting-edge AI technology to evaluate your site for potential accessibility issues and fix them promptly.

Accessibility Beyond Compliance:

The Benefits of an ADA Accessible Website

An ADA-accessible website isn’t just about avoiding lawsuits; it has real, tangible benefits for your business. Here are some of the benefits of investing in ADA Website Design:

Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Accessibility and SEO often go hand in hand. For example, alt text for images, a requirement for accessibility, also benefit SEO. Likewise, clear navigation and well-structured content also improve your site’s accessibility and its SEO performance.

Increased Audience Reach

By making your website accessible, you open up your business to a larger audience. This includes not just individuals with disabilities, but also older individuals who may benefit from more accessible design features.

Enhanced Brand Perception

Companies that emphasize accessibility are often seen as more inclusive and socially responsible. This can significantly enhance your brand’s reputation and attract a wider range of customers.

EcomBack’s Commitment to Inclusive Website Development

At EcomBack, our goal is to ensure that all users can interact with your website seamlessly. We see ADA Website Design as an opportunity to bridge the digital divide and make the internet a more inclusive space. Our team combines expertise in website development with a deep understanding of ADA compliance to deliver a site that is not only visually stunning but also universally accessible.

Building a Better Web with ADA Website Design

Creating an ADA accessible website is a worthwhile investment that can enhance user experience, broaden your audience, and improve your SEO. With EcomBack’s ADA Website Compliance Services, you’ll be able to navigate the complexities of ADA compliance with ease. Remember, accessibility is more than just a box to check; it’s an opportunity to create a more inclusive digital world. Choose EcomBack, and let’s embark on this journey toward inclusivity together.

How to Fight an ADA Website e-Commerce Lawsuit | EcomBack

What You Need to Know About Fighting ADA Website Lawsuits as an eCommerce Business Owner

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice. Please contact an experienced ADA attorney for any legal advice you may need. We can refer you to some reputed lawyers if you would like.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits claiming that company websites, as well as mobile phone apps, are not fully accessible. These claims make the following two assertions: Private company websites qualify as places of public accommodation under the ADA, and websites with access barriers (such as a lack of compatible screen-reading software) deprive individuals of their right to equal access.

In 2016, 262 of these cases were filed nationwide. By 2021, that number had risen to over 4500 just in Federal Courts, not including State Courts, and demand letters prior to filing of lawsuits.

For an insightful article on how these law firms operate, click here to read this article in Business Insider titled: A single law firm is behind hundreds of website accessibility cases. One client says they ‘beefed up’ her blindness in more than a dozen lawsuits.

Number ADA lawsuits Picture by year

The ADA is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires businesses to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

If you are an eCommerce business owner, then you need to be aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the potential for ADA lawsuits. This article will provide an overview of what you need to do to comply with the ADA, and how to defend an ADA lawsuit.

EcomBack has the services you need to help you get compliant to defend or settle a digital website accessibility lawsuit. Keep reading to learn more.

What do Online Businesses and Websites need to do to comply with the ADA?

Businesses need to take steps to ensure that their websites and other online content are accessible to individuals with disabilities. This generally means making sure that all content is accessible through screen readers and that all forms are accessible through keyboard navigation. In addition, businesses should provide alternative means of communication for customers who cannot access website content or use a computer. For example, businesses could provide a phone number or mailing address for customers who need to communicate with customer service, however that may not be sufficient as some legal cases have been fought on similar grounds.

computer image with guy and ADA Accessibility icons

How to Fight an ADA Lawsuit

If you are sued for violating the ADA, you can argue that your business complied with the ADA and took reasonable steps to accommodate the plaintiff’s disability. It’s important to document what work you have done to make your website accessible. You can leverage a solution to show that you are doing the work.

When you’re impacted with an ADA lawsuit, you need to consider the following:

  • Which experienced ADA lawyer to hire?
  • What issues on your website caused the lawsuit?
  • What will it cost to settle and fix your website?
  • What is the cost of fighting and losing?
  • How do the options weigh against each other?
  • Will business insurance cover this claim? Most do not.

It would help if you also considered the expenses:

  • Costs of defense
  • Potential remediation costs
  • Business disruption
  • Risk of adverse outcome
  • Cost of settlements

One of the most significant issues is the lack of absurd clarity in defining what constitutes compliance by courts and the Department of Justice. The plaintiff has already done some legwork in these matters most of the time. It’s typical for plaintiffs to have a set of boilerplate complaints briefly mentioning accessibility errors on your website or app.

Does Having Insurance Help with ADA Lawsuits?

If you are an eCommerce business owner with insurance, see if the policy covers ADA website claims. Some will exclude all ADA claims, while others will evaluate claims differently depending on whether the claim involves damage. Keep in mind that regardless of what insurance policy you carry, remediation is frequently not covered.

The IRS offers tax breaks for remediating websites to be compliant with ADA.

Up to $5000 ADA Tax Credit

The government gives small to mid-size businesses up to $5000 back via the ADA tax credit and deduction in a taxable year. Take advantage of this tax benefit if you want access for everyone. https://www.ada.gov/taxcred.htm

Which is Better: Settling vs. Fighting

There is a point where the expense of a rightful defense may equal or even exceed that of settlement. This all depends on whether you have valid arguments.

Settlements are private, whereas judgments are public and may affect a business’s reputation. If your website is accessible and strong regarding WCAG ADA compliance, you’ll have a better chance of winning. It’s the finest defense if you comply with the law.

If you are aware that the plaintiff cannot offer a condition of the website that constituted a barrier due to their disability, you may have a defense. In some jurisdictions, plaintiffs are obligated to provide an actual intention to be a customer of the business.

What to Consider When Settling

  • What amount do you have to pay to make the plaintiff and their attorney go away?
  • What is your tolerance for the uncertainties of litigation?
  • Will settling encourage copycat lawsuits? According to some lawyers who specialize in this area of law, certain law firms sit and watch for settlements, and then pounce for their share by making claims of inaccessibility.
  • Does your settlement agreement have a court-mandated compliance clause?

Settlement or Litigation

If you reach a settlement, it’s important that you ensure full compliance and undergo an audit for verification of that compliance. Should you decide to fight, thorough preparation is essential. You’ll need expert witnesses, detailed documentation of all compliance efforts, and a rock-solid legal team. However, since courts have been split on whether websites need to be compliant with the ADA, judges are often creating the law by precedent.

There’s always the risk that if you fight an ADA lawsuit, the court can decide that the website or mobile app just isn’t “good enough.”

It’s also important to note that settling will not make the need to comply with accessibility requirements vanish, and settlement-related compliance fines may be extremely high because Plaintiff’s law firms want their experts to be hired to monitor your compliance. Sounds like how the (legal) mafia operates, doesn’t it?

Digital Accessibility is the Most-Effective Defense Against Lawsuits

Whether you decide to settle or fight, you always want to make sure your website and apps are accessible and compliant. Accessibility is the best defense against lawsuits, and more importantly, it ensures that your customers keep coming back.

EcomBack can help you with this via our top-of-the-line ADA WCAG Compliance Services. Our team of remediation experts, auditors, ADA consultants, visually impaired testers, and expert developers can follow the correct steps to ensure your website is accessible.

Our ADA Website Consultants and team will share some tips and processes that will improve your website’s accessibility and decrease the chances of litigation.

Full Accessibility 3 Factor Audit

  • Identify and explain WCAG issues failures
  • Identify accessibility barriers and eliminate auto-scan false results
  • In-depth audit report
  • Remediation and repair checklist

Accessibility Repair

  • Full remediation process of code checking, manual fixes, and 3rd party apps errors.
  • Check and fix color contrast errors.
  • Set up Alt-Text auto-scheduler app installed for product, collection, home page images.
  • Review of video content for captions or set up disclaimers.
  • Manual testing by experts and team members with visual impairments

Launch Revised Website Theme/Code

We’ll start with a backup theme to repair your website’s code. We will then evaluate and launch it once the cleaned-up website code/theme is approved.

Website Training

  • Help your employees understand what ADA and accessibility is
  • ARIA & Style training and explanation
  • How to audit your website monthly or quarterly and show you the tools you need
  • Long term monitoring and fixes can be provided for more extensive sites

Accessibility Overlays

We do not recommend using overlays that promise to fix your website with one line of code. While some overlays offer good features, there are those in the disabled rights community that reject overlays for reasons they have put in this fact sheet. Click here to read it.

Accessibility Statement

We will provide you with a lawyer-drafted Accessibility Statement template to place prominently on your website. Placing an accessibility statement shows your visitors that you’re committed to being inclusive.

Monitor and Maintain

Website accessibility is not a won and done. Every time you update your website, you must ensure it is accessible.

How to Respond to a Demand Letter on Website ADA Compliance

While some demand letters will have more validity to them than others, no matter what, it’s crucial that you address a demand letter on website accessibility.

Legal Counsel

If you receive an ADA demand letter, an experienced defense attorney with comprehensive knowledge of ADA cases can guide you through your options. If you need an ADA attorney, we can offer some recommendations. Please contact us.

Put succinctly, it is better to be proactive than reactive. Legal notification comes in the form of a demand letter, and it serves as notice that you have been sued. However, it also gives you time to prepare your response and stake out your position for any legal action. The lawyer will look to slow down and extend the procedure by requesting more information and detailed proof of the claim. This will allow your team additional time to improve its negotiating position and prepare for future defending.

Plan Your Defense

Take notice of where you are now, what you’ve done so far, and the plans in place. This will assist you in developing and keeping an internal strategy. Your “Accessibility Policy” will be defined by this.

Remember, always be transparent and communicative.

Prevention

The best way to defend against an ADA lawsuit is to have a website that is accessible from the start. The business model for so-called plaintiff’s law firms is to go after low-hanging fruit because they are in it for the sue-settle cash-grab of your hard-earned money.

ADA compliance will require a change in mindset and some proactive policies. You will need to educate your team, create an internal policy, design, and test with accessibility in mind, and be prepared to monitor and maintain compliance on an ongoing basis.

Using EcomBack’s ADA compliance services are the first steps in fighting a digital accessibility lawsuit.

Contact us for a free quote!