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Plain Text Mirror Image Sites for ADA

Ardan Michael Blum

There are a lot of things on the plate for a webmaster in 2019! GDPR, ADA, California laws, Swiss laws, cookie pop-ups, and more. For some people, the full scope of realizing "what is needed" has led to urgent hiring of 960 dollars an hour lawyers. For others, the excuse: "Well xxxx is not doing anything about GDPR, and ADA so why should I?" approach has many just sticking their heads into the sand. Hence, this post.

But first a Disclaimer: This post by Ardan Michael Blum - CEO at A. Blum Localization Services in Palo Alto is meant for informational purposes only and views are not aimed in any way at providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

Now, we turn to a (possible) solution for one of these issues! Namely: A dedicated MIRROR version of the main site which will provide all users with a simplified navigation and screen reader compatible content. This dedicated ADA friendly site will contain audio files to describe images (not just ALT tags on images but actual "click for an audio description of the image").

Now, it is important to realize that the ADA requirements cover TWO MAIN aspects and there are some problems that have to be tackled:

  1. The core site has to be ADA friendly in order for people to find and use the navigation to the ADA text-only version! So, there is a clear need to use alternate text on links, alternate image descriptions, and an ADA compatible use of CSS/JavaScript on the core/main site!
  2. Then there is often the temptation to make a video to show, in the case of a hotel, rooms, and access to rooms which are, per example, weel-chair accessible. But ironically the video that many sites use is not the best means to be ADA friendly.

To protect one's brand from drive-by attorneys who look for even small, obscure violations that they can prey on the matter of having a transcription in English for a video can still lead to a legal case in which the lawyer would claim that their client did not speak English! Hence ...

  1. Have your navigation on your core site and the basic structure of your core site validated for ADA requirements.
  2. Have a translation option on your ADA text-only version site.
  3. Offer a phone support to reading and navigating your core site and the ADA version.
  4. Make your pop-ups (the cookie pop-up) ADA friendly as someone could come along and say that they did not get the GDPR / cookie use related warning and opt-out options as they are blind and the pop-up was not read by their screen-reader.
    4b. Make a "no script" version of the message in your pop-up.
  5. Place careful attention to the description of the ADA friendly access information (rooms and other locations that are accessible friendly) by making a text only (no videos or screenshots or pictures) actual step by step description of leaving the (in the case of a hotel) lobby and going to a room and what to expect within that room.
  6. Check with your lawyer.
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