The Best Agency For ADA Compliant Websites

Most Americans are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act in the context of how businesses and other physical locations accommodate the needs of individuals living with disabilities.

ADA Compliant. What To Know.

Most Americans are familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act in the context of how businesses and other physical locations accommodate the needs of individuals living with disabilities. Braille outside the doors of doctors’ offices or access ramps at stadiums might come immediately to mind. The ADA also covers websites, albeit in an indistinct way.

The ADA does not explicitly spell out guidelines for what constitutes a compliant website, yet businesses that fall under ADA Title I – those operating 20 or more weeks per year with at least 15 full-time employees – or ADA Title III – businesses that fall under the umbrella of public accommodation – are covered by the ADA and expected to provide “reasonable accessibility” to people with disabilities. Failure to do so could result in lawsuits, fines and other penalties, as well as a diminished brand reputation.

Achieving Compliance

And The Benefits

Of ADA Compliance

Compliance Benefits.

First and foremost, you can determine if your business is required to comply with ADA guidelines by reading through the qualifications for Title I and Title III businesses on the ADA SITE, or by consulting professional help. You can find the full ADA guidelines HERE

Even for businesses not required by law to comply, making a good faith effort to make your website as accessible as possible is a wise strategy for a number of reasons, changing regulatory standards, reaching maximum potential customers, and acting as a steward of good business practice among them.

Currently, there are no explicitly defined rules as to the steps a website must take or provisions it must provide to be ADA compliant, which makes the whole process a bit more confusing. There are, however, a number of established practices and guidelines you can follow to help bring your website under ADA compliance, or to demonstrate your honest effort to do so should a lawsuit ever be brought against you challenging your site’s accessibility.

When we talk about a site’s “accessibility” what we mean is the ability of any user, disability or otherwise, to “meaningfully engage” with the content on your site.

One resource to use to move into compliance is the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which is the standard for measuring web accessibility used in much of the world. The WCAG provides a much more exact protocol than the ADA, including a three-tiered breakdown of accessibility issues. You can request a free audit of your website to see how it is doing in reference to these guidelines.

    Another tactic is to examine and mimic the websites of federal agencies, which do have defined accessibility requirements. In the absence of definitive guidelines for the websites of commercial entities, this is a solid start. In addition, there are detailed legal decisions on record concerning the accessibility of federal sites, and a review of these cases can help businesses zero in on how courts have ruled thus far and what factors influenced their decisions.

    Ultimately, you are looking to make your site as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. Another way to troubleshoot any snags is to step back and envision what issues an individual with a hearing, vision or other impairment might encounter while on your site.

    Is text available as an audio file for visitors who are blind or have trouble seeing? Conversely, are audio and video bits available as text transcripts? Is the site’s language easily discernible for those who are employing screen readers? How effectively does your site correct for input errors and help guide users past their hindrance to the content they are after? These are the sorts of questions you should be answering, and a professional can help you get in line with (or surpass) industry standards, whether mandated by law or otherwise.

    The more thorough you can be in this diagnosis, and in the implementation of solutions, the less exposed you will be to any potential lawsuit. Yes, web updates can be costly, but nowhere near as expensive as lawsuits. And as we noted earlier, isn’t it in your best business interest to reach maximum potential customers anyway? We should mention that moving into ADA compliance also helps with SEO and makes your site easier to crawl, which we know brings your site higher up in SERP rankings and in front of more eyeballs.

    Not only is aiming for ADA compliance and maximum accessibility a sensible business position to take, but it’s also a moral one as well.

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