ADA Best Practices for Software Development

ADA Best Practices for Software Development

Creating Accessible Digital Experiences

In today’s digital landscape, it’s essential to develop software that is accessible and usable by all users, including those with disabilities. By adhering to ADA guidelines and implementing best practices for accessibility, you not only comply with legal requirements but also create a more inclusive and enjoyable user experience. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in relation to ADA compliance, highlight key areas to focus on for accessible software development, and share tips and tools to help streamline your accessibility efforts.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and ADA Compliance

While the ADA sets the overall standards for accessibility, it does not provide specific technical guidelines for software development. Instead, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) serve as the de facto technical standard for creating accessible digital content. Developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the WCAG offers a comprehensive framework to help developers build software that meets the needs of users with disabilities. By following the WCAG, you can ensure that your software is compliant with ADA requirements and provide a more inclusive experience for all users.

Key Areas to Focus on for Accessible Software Development

Navigation and Keyboard Accessibility

Ensure that your software is fully navigable using a keyboard alone, as many assistive technologies rely on keyboard input for navigation and control.

Alternative Text and Descriptions

Provide text alternatives for non-text content, such as images, audio, and video, so that screen readers and other text-based assistive technologies can convey the information to users.

Consistent and Clear Interface

Design a consistent and clear user interface with logical structure, making it easier for users with cognitive impairments or those who rely on assistive technologies to navigate and interact with your software

Color Contrast and Readability

Use sufficient color contrast and font size to ensure that text is easily readable by users with visual impairments.

Error Handling and Feedback

Offer clear and helpful error messages, along with guidance on how to correct mistakes, to assist users with cognitive impairments and those using assistive technologies

Tips and Tools to Streamline Your Accessibility Efforts

Use Accessibility Testing Tools

Employ automated testing tools, such as axe, Lighthouse, or WAVE, to identify and address potential accessibility issues in your software.

Implement ARIA Landmarks and Roles

Utilize ARIA landmarks and roles to provide additional context and structure for assistive technologies, helping them better understand and interact with your software.

Follow a Progressive Enhancement Approach

Develop your software using a progressive enhancement approach, which prioritizes the core functionality and usability of your application and ensures that it is accessible even when advanced features or technologies are not supported.

Engage with the Accessibility Community

Connect with accessibility experts, developers, and users with disabilities to gain insights, feedback, and guidance on creating accessible software.

Stay Up to Date with Accessibility Standards

Regularly review and update your knowledge of accessibility standards, best practices, and assistive technologies to ensure that your software remains compliant and accessible over time.


Developing accessible software that meets ADA standards is not only a legal requirement but also a vital component of creating inclusive and enjoyable digital experiences. By adhering to the WCAG, focusing on key accessibility areas, and employing tips and tools to streamline your efforts, you can ensure that your software is usable and accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities.