ADA Compliance standards are not fully defined, but ThinkReservations achieves substantial conformance with the recommended guidelines. Continuing to improve and remain accessible is important to us. The booking engine uses high-contrast colors, Alt text, and popups to help those with disabilities. Some features require the property to take action. This article speaks to using the features in ThinkReservations to maintain that conformance. However, we also highly recommend you ensure that your official business website also meets requirements as much as possible.
- ADA Accessible Room Settings
- Room Descriptions
- Composing Effective Alt Texts
- Creating Alt Texts in ThinkReservations
- ADA Resources
Identifying a Room as 'ADA accessible':
- To indicate that a room is ADA accessible, or has some accessibility features: navigate to Settings > Rooms, and select the ADA accessible unit. If you have an ADA-accessible room, you must check the box for ADA conformance labeled "Is ADA accessible".
- Click the Save button at the bottom of the page to commit your changes.
- Repeat for any other rooms that your property needs to indicate.
If a guest chooses a room that you have indicated is ADA accessible, and you have a non-ADA accessible room available, the Booking Engine will ask the guest to confirm that they are aware they have selected an accessible room.
It's also your responsibility to properly use the room description to educate your prospective guests about the ADA features the rooms have. It's also possible to use the room name, amenities, photos, and alt text to further inform. These descriptions should compliment, not replace your property's accessibility policy.
- To update room descriptions, in ThinkReservations navigate to Settings > Rooms.
- Click on a room or unit that you would like to review or update.
- Near the top of the page is the "Description". This text is exposed in the online booking engine. Update the text here as you see fit to educate your clients on the room's accessibility features. In some cases, you may even include mention of the lack of a feature, such as if the client must climb up a step to access the room.
- When finished, click the Save button at the bottom of the page to commit your changes.
ADA and OTAs or Other 3rd Party Booking Sites:
IMPORTANT: Please be mindful that while these changes affect your ThinkReservations account, they do not affect your settings and configurations as set on any connected online travel agencies. It's also very important that if your property can be booked using other booking engines that you meet the ADA guidelines to the best of your ability there as well.
Alt text (alternative text), also known as "alt attributes," "alt descriptions," and "alt tags," are used to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. This text is used by screen readers, which are software applications that enable people who are visually impaired, blind, or otherwise unable to read text on their own to have a comparable experience to those people with normal eyesight.
Can you share an example of effective alt text?
Yes! It's essential that your alt text allows your potential guests using screen readers to receive the same experience as those that can see the images. Think of alt text as a way to describe the details - not just a broad overview. If you can close your eyes, have someone read the alt text to you, and imagine a reasonably accurate version of the image, you're on the right track! Some quick tips:
- Keep your alt text relatively short. Most popular screen readers cut off alt text at around 125 characters.
- You can use alt text to add keywords, but your priority should be describing and providing context to the image. Don't use alt text as a way to simply add a list of keywords.
- Don't include "image of" or "picture of" in your alt text. This is already assumed.
Let's look at some alt text examples for this image of something we can all relate to - PANCAKES!
Example 1: "Pancakes"
Sure, this is an image of pancakes, but there is so much more going on here. This is a poor use of alt text.
Example 2: "Stack of pancakes on a white plate covered with maple syrup, blueberries, and sliced strawberries."
If you were to read this text without an image, you would likely picture something similar to the photo shown here. We're also under the 125-character limit, so we don't need to worry that our description will be cut off. This is a much better use of alt text!
There are four places within your ThinkReservations account where you likely have images visible in the Booking Engine. You can add alt text to these images to ensure screen readers can share the details with your potential guests.
These images that show in the online booking engine include:
- Your main business image - This is the image that shows on the first page of the booking engine; the "search" page.
- Room photos - These are the photos that accompany the room when guests select a room to book.
- Item photos - These are the photos that show the upsell enhancements after they choose a room and on the Upsell Portal.
- Package photos - Just like item photos, but for packages that are upsold to guests.
Below are the steps for accessing the settings for each:
- Go to Settings > Booking Engine. Add alt text for your business image at the bottom of the page and click Save.
- Go to Settings > Rooms. Click into your first room and scroll to the bottom of the page. Add alt text for each room image and then click Save. Repeat for each room.
- Go to Settings > Items. For each item that is upsellable through the Booking Engine, click on the Photo link to the right. Add alt text and click Save.
- Go to Settings > Packages. For each package that is upsellable through the Booking Engine, click on the Photo link to the right. Add alt text and click Save.