December 6, 2023

6 Steps to Make Your E-Learning Course ADA Compliant

What is ADA compliance? Simply put, the Americans with Disabilities Act [1] requires that all electronic information and technology be accessible to people with disabilities. And it makes sense because more than 54 million Americans have a disability [2]and we all use the internet almost daily. Because your online course or eLearning program qualifies as a digital product, it needs to be made available. So today we’re going to share some tips on how to make your online courses ADA compliant. If you’d also prefer to watch a video on how to make your course ADA compliant, you can watch the video we created to make this article available.

How to make an online course or e-learning program ADA compliant

1. Simplify the course structure

Start by keeping your course structure simple. It shouldn’t be overly complicated, especially when it comes to navigation and sorting. Keep the structure as simple as going from A to Z. In addition to being an ADA compliant method for creating online courses, your course is user-friendly as a bonus. After all, no one likes complicated processes, especially when they are trying to solve their problem or learn something new.

2. Keep navigation and keyboard simple

Simplicity should also extend to the navigation and keyboard shortcuts you use for your program. So choose keys that are relatively close to each other. Also, make sure that different keys cannot be confused with each other. This will ensure that people can use your program as intended and use keyboard shortcuts when needed.

3. Offer closed captions

A simple but important part of making online courses ADA compliant is to add closed captioning to video and audio. Alternatively, you can offer transcripts; this text version should be easy to pull out in the course. There are several ways to close caption your course, and there are many online guides on the subject to help you get started. Ideally, you want to create closed captions for both videos and transcripts.

As a side note, you should do this for every video and audio you upload, including your YouTube channel if you have one. In the US alone, one in eight people has a hearing impairment [3]. It is also useful for people whose first language is not English, which is a huge part of the population on the planet.

4. Choose easily distinguishable colors

When choosing the colors to use in your course, stick to just a few colors and choose ones that students can easily tell apart from each other. Importantly, some students may be color blind. Others may have difficulty reading when colors lack sufficient contrast. Have you ever had to read white text on a black background? After all, it’s not a pleasant experience. A good strategy is to use a very light color and contrast it with a darker color. Or you can simply stick with black and white.

5. Include graphics

Every online course should have graphics because visuals and images make the course more ADA compliant as well as more engaging. Graphics also help you appeal to a wider range of learning styles. Remember that some people learn visually instead of reading. And some people just prefer not to have to read so much text. An important note is to add alt text or image description for people who can’t see it to make it more accessible.

6. Select A Large Font Size

To ensure that your content is readable, you need to be sure to choose a large enough font for your online course. Do not use a small font that is hard to see. Remember that even people with average vision can benefit from larger fonts, while smaller fonts can be very hard to see for some people.

Bottom Line

With the above tips in mind, you should know how to make online courses ADA compliant. This will prevent potential legal issues while making your course more engaging and appealing to a wider audience. This should help expand the reach of your course if you are selling it, or increase training results for internal courses.


[1] The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

[2] How many people in the United States have a disability?

[3] Quick stats on hearing

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