Understanding ADA Compliance For Websites: Why It’s Essential
In a world where everything is digital, online businesses and e-commerce sites massively influence our way of life.
In 2019, the e-commerce market recorded a whopping $12.2 trillion in sales – and it’s only going in one direction – up.
All these successful websites have one thing in common – they are ADA compliant. An ADA-compliant website provides disabled users with more inclusivity. Not only that, but ADA compliant brands have more reach and a stronger reputation.
Today’s customers are expecting brands to be accessible and ADA compliant, so it’s worth your while to make sure your site complies.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed in 1990 with the aim of protecting the rights of people living with disabilities. Title 3 of the act mandates that public accommodations be accessible to everyone, regardless of their physical or mental well-being.
Originally, websites weren’t specifically named in the ADA. However, courts have ruled in favor of differently-abled people in the last few years, setting precedents. But what exactly is ADA compliance for websites?
An ADA-compliant website caters to the needs of people living with disabilities who cannot access a site without certain functions.
Although there are no clear rules about ADA compliance for websites, various businesses follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Specifically, an ADA-compliant website conforms to the WCAG 2.1 AA standards.
While you’re not required to follow these guidelines, they help you build a website that’s accessible to all.
Why ADA Compliance for Websites Is More Urgent?
With digital accessibility lawsuits on the rise, it’s more important than ever to ensure website accessibility for all. As technology becomes more sophisticated, people rely more heavily on digital services for everyday activities.
Remote work, online shopping, education, and banking are just a few of the ways that the web has changed our day-to-day lives, which is why ADA compliance is important.
Here are some of the key reasons that speak the importance of ADA compliance:
1. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live
COVID-19 has created a ‘new normal’ for various people. With most of us spending more time at home, websites provide us with access to the outside world.
Now more than ever, we’re dependent on websites for everyday essentials, ranging from shopping and entertainment to education. In this scenario, we cannot leave the needs of disabled users behind.
For instance, several companies have developed accessible online grocery shopping portals for the differently-abled. Zoom, a popular video conferencing platform, also has various accessibility features.
2. Online convenience should be for everyone
ADA compliance for websites creates an accessible online experience for everyone, regardless of ability.
Maintaining an ADA-compliant website means people can interact with your website and online information more easily.
Think of it this way: a building that’s not designed for someone with a wheelchair can prevent them from moving around the building.
In the same way, a non-compliant website prevents differently-abled users from accessing online information.
3. People have become more educated about their rights
Lastly, maintaining an ADA-compliant website is your social responsibility. While there are several other reasons to provide full accessibility, it’s simply the ethical thing to do.
If you are interested to know more about digital accessibility compliance, this guide can help.
Possible Consequences of Not Being ADA Compliant
If you have a website, here are some of the consequences you can face for ADA non-compliance.
1. You’re at risk of ADA lawsuits.
The ADA is a civil rights law, meaning any business open to the public must make accommodations for those with disabilities. Thus, you can avoid serious legal consequences by complying with these regulations.
Simply put, you can face penalties or lawsuits if you don’t adhere to the compliance guidelines. And let’s face it: lawsuits aren’t cheap.
2. You lose potential customers.
As mentioned earlier, 61 million US adults live with a disability.
With this, making your website ADA compliant is an important marketing strategy. If you don’t have an ADA-compliant website, you’re turning away potential customers.
And while lawsuits are scary, customers living with disabilities will simply choose to not do business with you if they can’t fully access your products and services.
How to Make Your Website ADA Compliant?
With the rise of technology, several companies have developed tools to make websites accessible for all users.
There are various ways to build and maintain an ADA-compliant website, including the use of accessibility tools. Here are some of them:
accessiBe is one of the most talked-about web accessibility tools available today. It helps take a lot of the manual work out of becoming ADA compliant by making it quicker and easier to identify web accessibility issues on your site.
Simple, affordable, effortless, and compliant worldwide
7-day free trial
Account managers available to guide you through the product, pricing, and any questions you may have
Fast turnaround with a 5 min installation, and 48-hour compliance process
Built specifically for websites and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)- some web apps might not be compatible
There are a lot of ways that people with disabilities can have a hard time accessing websites. By meeting these standards, you’re offering them convenience and full access.
It’s vital to comply with ADA and WCAG standards to improve your website’s accessibility. Here are the things you have to remember to have an ADA compliant website:
Be conscious about special needs (audio, visual, cognitive, and physical).
You can address special needs by making the necessary ADA changes to your websites. For instance, you can transcribe audio and video content to help your deaf users and use alternative text to assist those with visual impairements.
Focus on customer service.
Navigation difficulties arise when users need to navigate websites differently, like using a keyboard. If a customer struggles to navigate the site, your site should automatically offer help.
Focus on on-site appearance, usability, presentation, and user control.
How you build your website and how it looks are crucial elements of web accessibility. For instance, the website’s buttons should be organized and different from each other.
Also, your site shouldn’t contain distracting elements like pop-ups, as these detract a good user experience.
Making your site accessible is the best way to provide equal access to all web users. It also provides you with brand benefits and protects you from serious legal risks.
And while ADA compliance for websites can get technical, understanding these standards can help you build a more conscious business.
With the advent of technology and more businesses being committed to making accessibility a priority, it’s about time you consider ADA compliance for your website.
If you’re not sure where to begin, carry out a quick audit of your website’s ADA compliance here.
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