How to Build an ADA and WCAG-Compliant Application?

abril 4, 2024

In today’s digital age, creating accessible web applications is not just a legal requirement but also a moral obligation. Ensuring that your application is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is crucial for providing equal access to all users, regardless of their abilities. In this blog post, we’ll explore the steps involved in building an ADA and WCAG-compliant application to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for everyone.

What is ADA Compliance?

ADA compliance refers to adherence to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law enacted in 1990 in the United States. The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including employment, education, transportation, and public accommodations. When applied to digital environments such as sitios web, mobile apps, and electronic documents, ADA compliance ensures that these platforms are accessible to people with disabilities.

For digital accessibility, ADA compliance typically involves adhering to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines provide a set of standards and best practices for creating web content that is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for all users, including those with disabilities.

What is Mobile App Accessibility?

Mobile app accessibility refers to the design and development practices aimed at making mobile applications usable and accessible to individuals with disabilities. Accessibility ensures that people with diverse abilities, including those with visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments, can effectively navigate, interact with, and benefit from mobile apps. Mobile app accessibility involves following standards, guidelines, and best practices to ensure that the app is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for all users, regardless of their abilities.

Key aspects of mobile app accessibility include:

Perceivable: Users should be able to perceive and access all information and functionality provided by the app. This includes ensuring that content is presented in multiple formats, such as text, images, and audio, to accommodate users with different sensory capabilities. Providing alternative text for images, captions for videos, and audio descriptions for multimedia content enhances perceivability.

Operable: Users should be able to interact with the app and navigate its interface using a variety of input methods, including touch gestures, voice commands, and keyboard inputs. The app should be operable by individuals with limited dexterity, mobility, or coordination. Features such as adjustable font sizes, customizable color contrasts, and simplified navigation pathways improve operability.

Understandable: The app should be designed in a way that is easy to understand and use for users of all abilities. This includes providing clear and concise instructions, using familiar interface conventions, and minimizing complexity. Avoiding jargon, providing helpful error messages, and offering user assistance features, such as tooltips and contextual help, enhance understandability.

Robust: The app should be robust and compatible with a variety of assistive technologies and devices used by individuals with disabilities. This involves adhering to technical standards and specifications, such as accessibility APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), platform accessibility features, and web accessibility guidelines. Ensuring compatibility with screen readers, braille displays, and other assistive technologies improves robustness.

Why Should Business Invest in an ADA-Compliant App Development?

Investing in ADA-compliant app development is not only a legal requirement for many businesses but also a strategic decision that can bring numerous benefits. First and foremost, creating an app that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that your business is accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities. This inclusivity not only enhances your brand reputation but also opens up your products or services to a larger audience, potentially increasing customer loyalty and revenue.

Moreover, ADA compliance can help safeguard your business against potential lawsuits and legal issues related to accessibility violations. By proactively adhering to ADA guidelines, you mitigate the risk of facing costly litigation and fines, thus protecting your bottom line.

Furthermore, an ADA-compliant app demonstrates your commitment to corporate social responsibility and ethical business practices. It showcases your dedication to serving all customers equitably and respectfully, which can foster trust and goodwill among consumers and stakeholders.

Principles to Know When Building a WCAG-Compliant App 

When building a WCAG-compliant app, it’s crucial to adhere to certain principles to ensure accessibility for users with disabilities. Here are key principles to keep in mind:

Perceivable: Ensure that all information and user interface elements are perceivable to users, regardless of their abilities. This includes providing text alternatives for non-text content, such as images and videos, and ensuring that content is presented in a clear and understandable manner.

Operable: Make sure that the app is operable for all users, including those with physical or mobility impairments. This involves providing keyboard accessibility, allowing users to navigate and interact with the app using only a keyboard, and ensuring that all interactive elements are easily accessible and usable.

Understandable: Ensure that the app is understandable to users of all abilities. This includes using clear and simple language, providing helpful instructions and cues, and ensuring that the app’s layout and navigation are intuitive and easy to follow.

Robust: Build the app using robust and compatible technologies that ensure compatibility with a wide range of assistive technologies and devices. This involves following web standards and best practices for coding and design, and testing the app across different platforms and devices to ensure compatibility.

Checklist for WCAG & ADA Compliance Mobile App 

Creating a WCAG and ADA-compliant mobile app requires careful attention to detail across various design, development, and testing aspects. Here’s a checklist to help ensure compliance:

  • Perceivable:

    • Provide alternative text for all non-text content (images, icons, buttons).

    • Ensure all multimedia content (audio, video) has text alternatives or captions.

    • Use clear and distinguishable colors with sufficient contrast for text and background elements.

    • Ensure content can be resized up to 200% without losing content or functionality.

  • Operable:

    • Ensure all functionality is accessible via keyboard navigation.

    • Provide visible focus indicators for interactive elements.

    • Implement skip navigation links to allow users to bypass repetitive content.

    • Avoid using content that flashes more than three times per second.

  • Understandable:

    • Use clear and concise language throughout the app.

    • Provide consistent navigation and layout across all screens.

    • Ensure error messages are clear, and descriptive, and offer solutions.

    • Provide instructions and guidance for completing tasks within the app.

  • Robust:

    • Use semantic HTML markup and follow best coding practices.

    • Ensure compatibility with a range of assistive technologies (screen readers, voice commands, etc.).

    • Test the app across multiple devices, platforms, and browsers to ensure consistent performance.

  • Accessibility Features:

    • Include accessibility features such as voice commands, screen magnification, and high contrast modes.

    • Provide options for adjusting text size, font, and spacing.

    • Allow users to customize settings for accessibility preferences.

  • Pruebas:

    • Conduct thorough accessibility testing using automated tools and manual testing by users with disabilities.

    • Test with a variety of assistive technologies and devices to identify and address any accessibility issues.

    • Regularly review and update the app to maintain compliance with evolving accessibility standards.

  • Documentation and Training:

    • Document accessibility features and guidelines for developers, designers, and content creators.

    • Provide training and resources for team members to ensure awareness and understanding of accessibility requirements.

How Can AI and Automation Help in WCAG & ADA Compliance App Testing?

AI and automation can play a significant role in streamlining and enhancing WCAG and ADA compliance app testing processes. Here’s how AI and automation can help:

Automated Accessibility Testing: AI-powered tools can automatically scan mobile apps for accessibility issues by analyzing the app’s code, design, and content. These tools can identify common accessibility violations and provide detailed reports on areas that need improvement.

Efficient Testing Process: Automation allows for quick and comprehensive testing of various app components, including user interface elements, navigation, and content. This saves time and effort compared to manual testing, enabling developers to identify and address accessibility issues more efficiently.

Escalabilidad: AI and automation tools can handle large-scale testing across different platforms, devices, and screen sizes, ensuring consistent accessibility across all versions of the app. This scalability is particularly beneficial for complex mobile apps with frequent updates and releases.

Accessibility Insights: AI-powered analytics can provide valuable insights into user interactions and behaviors, helping developers understand how users with disabilities interact with the app. This information can inform design decisions and prioritize accessibility enhancements.

Continuous Monitoring: AI-driven monitoring tools can continuously monitor the app for accessibility issues in real-time, allowing developers to detect and address issues as they arise. This proactive approach ensures that the app remains compliant with accessibility standards over time.

Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP technology can assist in evaluating the accessibility of app content, such as text alternatives for images and multimedia. NLP algorithms can analyze content for clarity, readability, and inclusivity, helping developers create more accessible content.

Análisis predictivo: AI algorithms can analyze historical data and trends to predict potential accessibility issues before they occur. By identifying patterns and anomalies in user behavior and app performance, developers can proactively address accessibility challenges and prevent future issues.


Building an ADA and WCAG-compliant application requires a concerted effort across design, development, testing, and documentation. By prioritizing accessibility and following best practices outlined in the ADA and WCAG guidelines, you can create digital experiences that are inclusive, accessible, and usable by all users. Embracing accessibility not only ensures legal compliance but also reflects a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the digital realm.