Law since 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was implemented to ensure accessibility for all. With significant technological advancements being made since the law’s introduction, it now applies as much to public places like websites as it does to parking spaces.
In fact, Standards of Accessible Design – to ensure the formatting of digital information to accommodate people with disabilities – were issued by the US Department of Justice in 2010.
The ADA law applies to all state and local government agencies, and to any organisation with 15+ employees.
What can be done to ensure ADA compliance?
Internationally recognised, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (also known as WCAG 2.1) are a useful starting point to ensure ADA compliance. The guidelines are a blueprint for improving the accessibility of online elements including text, images, and navigation. The aim of WCAG 2.1 is to make digital services accessible regardless of the user’s ability around vision, hearing, mobility, thinking, and understanding.
Gov.uk highlights the need for companies to think about the different ways that people interact with content. For example, users might:
- use a keyboard instead of a mouse
- change browser settings to make content easier to read
- use a screen reader to ‘read’ (speak) content out loud
- use a screen magnifier to enlarge part or all of a screen
- use voice commands to navigate a website
The challenge of creating digital magazines with ADA compliance
Flipbooks are an excellent tool for showcasing printed publications by creating an exact replication of them, online. But, in order to do this, all of the publication’s pages must be converted into images. To retain the integrity of the design, text is converted to SVG (scalable vector graphics) which are not indexable by search bots or accessibility readers. Thus, Flipbooks are not automatically ADA compliant.
So how can you create accessibility-compliant online magazines?
To produce online publications that are compliant while retaining that appealing magazine “feel”, port your content into a framework that outputs pure HTML text that can be accessed by search bots and accessibility readers.
Check out these two samples showing the same publication made on two different platforms.
The DIGITAL FLIPBOOK was converted from a PDF.
The second sample is a RESPONSIVE PUBLICATION FROM EXPERIOS. The content is built into a responsive framework, making the page layouts accessible regardless of the device they are viewed on. Some features, such as the page flip animation, are lost. But the much-loved magazine experience can be retained while accessibility is ensured .
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