Maintaining ADA compliance
IT teams must maintain school websites that users with visual or hearing impairments, or other disabilities, can access consistently. This requires constant monitoring to ensure that adaptive technology is in place and that the software can handle any content posted on a school’s site.
“Every website is one post away from being out of compliance,” says Matt Garrepy, chief digital officer for Solodev, a website development company.
Accessibility problems can arise when:
- Video transcriptions are missing.
- Syntax does not adequately describe a photo.
- Code is not structured for the reader.
- PDF files are not uploaded with scanning software that is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
- Inadequate metadata or descriptions prevent the screen reader from describing an image, file or video.
Districts should invest in certified online training courses to help staff remediate issues and stay abreast of new regulations, says Garrepy.
Scanning software can maintain a website’s front-facing layer and identify code—such as alt tags or plug-ins—that has failed. Still, aging websites can be particularly vulnerable. “For a 5-year-old website, the underlying code may have issues that users don’t see,” Garrepy says. “The school may just need a new, modernized website.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on a disability. The number of federal website-access lawsuits jumped threefold from 814 in 2017 to 2,250 in 2018.