As technology continues to power most of our interactions, it is more important than ever before to focus on the accessibility of technology. The services that are available on websites must be accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, now that online platforms are our primary source of communication and commerce.
How can you ensure that your website is accessible? Insert ADA compliance. ADA compliance refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, which states that all electronic and information technology (i.e: websites) must be accessible to people with disabilities.
How does ADA compliance affect your business? Consider the following guides to better understand how, and why you should update your website to work better for users of all abilities.
Who Needs to Follow ADA Requirements?
Organizations that need to adhere to ADA requirements include:
State and local government agencies.
Private employers with 15 or more employees.
Businesses that operate for the benefit of the public.
Since ADA encompasses electronic and information technology, like the internet and the websites on it, ADA compliance impacts almost all businesses. Even if ADA compliance doesn’t apply to you, it’s still important to create a site that everyone can use. 61 million people who live in America live with a disability… that’s a pretty massive group to ignore by not having an accessible website. ADA compliance is a proactive approach that emphasizes a commitment to serving users everywhere and can even help your company grow.
If your website isn’t ADA accessible, you can be found liable. Lawsuits filed against companies with websites that are not ADA compliant are popping up daily, costing business owners thousands of dollars in lawsuits.
How to Achieve ADA Compliance
When it comes to making your website ADA compliant, the go-to recommendations revolve around the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG. The web content accessibility guidelines offer several recommendations for making your website ADA accessible to all users across the U.S.
The core guiding principles of the latest WCAG (2.1) include:
1. Perceivable: You want users to have the ability to perceive all the information that appears on your site, like text, images, video, and more. Even if a user can’t see your website’s text or listen to your website’s video, you need to provide an alternative.
2. Operable: You want users to have the capabilities to navigate your site and use all its features. Any user, for example, should have the means to use your main navigation, as well as any site tools, like calculators.
3. Understandable: You want users to have the means to understand your website content. That means users can understand your site’s text, images, videos, and tools. For example, your site may include instructions for using a feature, like a calculator or a contact form.
4. Robust: You want users to have the ability to receive the same experience, even if using assistive technologies. People reading your content versus those using a voice reader, for example, should get the same content even if it’s delivered differently.
Creating an ADA Compliant Site
While there is a myriad of accessibility widgets and overlay solutions that are available to download onto your site for a “quick, easy, fix”, it’s important to remember that these widgets are automated. Meaning, they will miss the majority of WCAG issues, making it even more confusing and challenging for people with disabilities.
While overlay solutions can provide a short-term patch for ADA issues, they operate as a band-aid approach that will only deliver minimal accessibility to your site.
If you’re looking to make your website truly ADA compliant, the best, most comprehensive approach is to hire an expert web developer that can conduct manual testing, provide code remedies, and continue to work with you and your business in the future to provide your site with accessibility best-practices.
Don’t get caught with a non-compliant website! Be proactive in your approach, and contact the experts to make your website accessible to users everywhere. A proactive approach can help your company not only grow but to emphasize your commitment to serving users of all abilities, at all times.
Contact D3 to make your website ADA compliant, and to learn more about how to keep your marketing inline with the law!