Do you remember the Domino’s Pizza accessibility lawsuit? The supreme court ordered the company to make its website accessible for individuals with disabilities and paid $4,000 to the blind man who filed the lawsuit.
In the past years, a wide range of web accessibility lawsuits have been filed against businesses. And, the number is increasing day by day.
Like many business owners in the United States, you might have the following questions-
What is ADA compliance?
Is it mandatory for my website to be ADA compliant?
What are the benefits of making your website accessible for people with disabilities?
After reading this post, you will get answers to these questions. Moreover, we will provide a quick checklist for ADA compliance.
What is ADA Compliance?
ADA compliance is associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design published by the Department of Justice in 2010. As per the standards, all electronic & information technology (including websites) must be accessible for individuals with disabilities.
In simple words, businesses should make their websites easier to use for visually and hearing impaired audiences. The objective is to minimize any communication barriers between the businesses and their audience.
However, it’s important to note that ADA isn’t the same as Section 508. The latter applies only to federal agencies and departments. It states that web content (including videos, images, etc.) should be accessible to people with disabilities.
What is an ADA-Compliant Website?
A website is said to be ADA compliant if it’s accessible to individuals with vision, hearing, and speech disorders. Users with disabilities must be able to access web content using assistive technologies, such as screen reading software, screen magnifiers, etc.
No doubt disabled users aren’t able to access & process information as normal people. Thus, it’s necessary to take the required steps to make your website accessible to them.
For instance, for people who can’t hear well on the phone, it’s good to provide multiple contact options, such as Skype, email, etc. A transcript, subtitles or a summary of the audio or video content can also help make your web content more accessible to deaf people.
Did you know web technologies, such as animated gifs, pngs, or videos may cause photosensitive epilepsy or other physical reactions in some people? Thus, to make your website accessible for seizure patients, you need to ensure various points, such as-
➢ It doesn’t contain any content that flashes more than three times in any one second time period
➢ Limit the flashing areas to less than 341 by 256 pixels
The Common Web Accessibility Issues
Anything that restricts access to a website is a web accessibility issue. However, the most common issues are-
➢ Missing alt text on images
➢ No form labels
➢ No page headings
➢ Poor color contrast
➢ No link text
➢ Poor keyboard access
Is ADA Compliance Required For Your Website?
Yes. An ADA-compliant website benefits all users (disabled or non-disabled) to find what they want quickly and easily. This means better website usability, increased traffic, and sales. Moreover, you can avoid ADA non-compliance lawsuits.
Which Businesses Are Required to Comply With ADA?
All public and commercial entities with “places of public accommodation” (that includes the internet) must comply with the ADA standards.
In other words, the ADA standards apply to-
➢ All state & local government entities
➢ All private employers with at least 15 employees
➢ Organizations operating for the benefit of the public
Major Benefits of Making Your Website Accessible to Disabled Users
Here are some of the major benefits of ADA compliance-
Get New Customers & Increase Sales
If you have a non-ADA compliant website, people with disabilities won’t be able to access information in it. The CDC estimates that 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability.
So, by making your site easier to access for people with disabilities, you can reach a large number of individuals who might be interested in your products. So, chances are more that you will be able to turn them into paying customers.
Improve Your Website’s Search Engine Ranking
Having a website that complies with the ADA standards means getting more visitors to your website. This signals search engines that your site has valuable information for the target audience. Thus, they automatically move it higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
So, this is another reason why you should start adding relevant meta titles & descriptions, ALT tags, etc.
Boost Overall Reputation of Your Business
An ADA-compliant website is more accessible. This makes users (especially people with disabilities) feel valuable. However, chances are they had visited other non-compliant sites before visiting your website.
The point here is that if users are able to find what they want easily, they are likely to recommend it to others. This means more visitors and sales, thus taking your business’ reputation to the next level.
Avoid Getting Sued For Not Being ADA Compliant
In 2017, Kylie Jenner’s cosmetic site sued for not being compatible with the screen reader software used by individuals with visual impairments.
According to an analysis by UsableNet Inc, the number of web accessibility lawsuits is expected to increase nearly 20 percent in 2021.
If your website adheres to ADA compliance, you can avoid any legal penalties associated with web accessibility.
ADA Compliance Website Checklist
If you don’t know how to make your website ADA compliant, here’s a quick checklist-
➢ Optimize headlines and titles of all web pages
➢ Optimize text and font of all web pages
➢ Include alt tags to all visuals, including images and videos
➢ Provide text transcripts for audio and video files
➢ Ensure the user is able to navigate your website using the keyword
➢ Offer the user with complete control over their experience
➢ Label forms in the website properly
➢ Provide a search bar to help users access required information easily
➢ Provide a link to the sitemap on the homepage
➢ Indicate any language changes for all web pages
➢ Add a focus indicator for easy access and navigation
Do you need expert advice for web accessibility? Get professional ADA compliant website services today.
Businesses serving the public in the United States are required to make their websites comply with the ADA standards. This will help people with disabilities have easier access to web content. Thus, the businesses can avoid any legal penalties related to web accessibility.
Other benefits of building an ADA-compliant website are increased sales, improved search engine ranking, and better website usability.