Beyoncé Knowles is an international superstar, known for her singing, dancing, and otherwise can-do-no-wrongness, according to her fans (All you have to do is a quick Google search to figure that out).
If you visit beyonce.com, you’ll see a clean, modern website that’s filled with beautiful, glamorous images of Queen B herself, along with other models and featured celebs. As a designer, I really appreciate their focus on big, bold imagery.
However, there’s a whole other layer to her website that most don’t notice. The only way you would notice or become aware of it would be if you couldn’t see websites at all.
The alt-text coded into website images is translated and spoken by screen readers to people who are visually impaired. Instead of seeing all of Beyonce’s featured Adidas merch, they listen to a description of each image and interpret it for themselves.
It wasn’t always like this, though. It started in January 2019, when a blind woman filed a lawsuit claiming that the images on beyonce.com lacked appropriate alt-text for screen readers, leaving her and millions of others out of the loop on what the site was showing off. There were also issues with markup on the navigation links, making the process of purchasing difficult for visually impaired customers.
Since then, changes have been made, but the lawsuit is ongoing. It’s not the first high-profile website to come under fire, either. Inclusivity is a hot topic in our current cultural climate, and it’s extending to all reaches of the internet. Now that compliant websites are becoming a bigger issue, companies need to take notice or risk being in the hot seat, right along with Beyoncé.
So, at the end of the day, even Beyoncé can get sued. And if Beyoncé can get sued, then you can, too, unless you follow website ADA compliance.
If you’re not sure whether your website meets the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance standards, then now is the time to check.
ADA Features You Should Know
- Tags and Alt Text
- If there’s no text associated with an image, then it might as well not exist to someone who is visually impaired. If that graphic contains an offer for customers or a link to helpful resources, users with disabilities may never be able to effectively access key content. Your alt text should always be clear and descriptive.
- Forms and Buttons
- Everyone uses forms and buttons to complete actions on websites, whether they have a disability or not. Clearly defined form field boxes and labels for each field can make a huge impact on usability. For those using screen readers, undefined forms can be a particular headache since screen readers tend to skip over low contrast placeholder text.
- Colors and Background Imagery
- Not all visually impaired users are completely blind. Some can still see your website, but may need to adjust screen settings, like color contrast, to help them. That’s because those impaired with low vision or color blindness may have a hard time discerning text on a background color or image.
Is Your Website ADA Compliant?
These are just a few of the things the ADA looks for in compliant websites. If you’re wondering how to make your website fully accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, our team can help. We have qualified experts who can take a look at all aspects of your website and make it ADA compliant in no time.