The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law. It prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including websites. As the internet increasingly integrates into everyday life. It’s important for businesses to ensure websites are accessible to people with disabilities with an ADA Compliant Website. In this blog post, DIWL LLC explains the importance of an ADA complaint website, and provides practical tips for achieving it.
Why it Matters?
The ADA requires that all places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, hotels, and retail stores, be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Websites are considered places of public accommodation if they are closely linked to a physical place of business. This means that if your website provides information about your physical location, allows customers to make reservations or purchase goods or services, or otherwise serves as an extension of your physical location, it must be compliant with the ADA.
An ADA compliant website is required. Furthermore, it’s good for business. Having an ADA complaint website accessible to people with disabilities can increase your customer base as well as improve user experience for everyone. People with disabilities represent a significant portion of the population. By not making an ADA complaint website accessible, you’re excluding a significant group of potential customers. Additionally, accessibility features also benefit those with temporary disabilities, such as a broken arm, and older users with age-related impairments.
How to Achieve an ADA Compliant Website
There are several steps you can take to make your website compliant with the ADA. These include:
Understand the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
The WCAG are a set of guidelines that provide a standard for accessible web content. They are published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and provide a comprehensive list of technical and non-technical requirements for making web content accessible. Understanding these guidelines and how they apply to a website assist with achieving ADA compliance.
Use alt text for images
Alt text, a short description of an image read by screen readers, is important for the visually impaired. Hence, including alt text for all images on your website can ensure that people with visual impairments understand the content of the website.
Provide captions for videos
Captions provide a transcript of the audio content in a video, so people who are deaf or hard of hearing can understand the content. Similarly, providing captions for all videos on your website can ensure accessibility to the hearing impaired.
Use headings and labels to organize content
Headings and labels help to organize content and make it easier for people with cognitive impairments to understand. Additionally, by using headings and labels, you can ensure that your websites organized and easy to navigate for all users.
Use a high-contrast color scheme
People with visual impairments, such as color blindness, may have difficulty reading text on a low-contrast background. Furthermore, by using a high-contrast color scheme, you can ensure that your website is easily readable for all users.
Test your website for accessibility
It’s important to test your website for accessibility to ensure that it meets the requirements of the ADA. There are several online tools available that can help you test your website for accessibility. Use the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Checklist, and the Accessibility Insights for Web.
Legal and Financial Consequences for non ADA Compliant websites
Not having an ADA compliant website can have serious legal and financial consequences for a business.
- Lawsuits: Individuals and advocacy groups can file lawsuits against businesses for non-compliance with the ADA. Furthermore, the lawsuits can be costly, both in terms of legal fees, potential settlements as well as judgments.
- Damaged reputation: Publicity associated with a lawsuit for non-compliance with the ADA can damage a business’s reputation and result in lost customers.
- Lost business: People with disabilities represent a significant portion of the population. Additionally, exclusion of website accessibility could result in loss of potential customers.
- Legal fines: The Department of Justice (DOJ) can bring enforcement actions against businesses non-compliant with the ADA.
- Cost of remediation: Businesses found non-compliant with the ADA may be required to make changes to their website. This work effort can be costly.
The Department of Justice hasn’t standardized website accessibility, however that hasn’t stopped court cases from ruling in favor of the plaintiff. The best course of action involves making sure your website’s ADA compliant as soon as possible using WCAG standards as a guide. Overall, it’s in the best interest of business to ensure ADA compliance with websites. As a result they avoid potential legal and financial consequences and ensure that their websites accessible for all users.
Companies that specialize in ADA compliance for websites in California:
Disclaimer: DIWL Agency LLCs lists these organizations without bias further there’s no affiliation or compensation.