You’ve probably heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA), but you may not know how it affects your website. If you are a business owner whose website hasn’t been updated to meet ADA compliance standards, now is the time to do so.
An increasing number of businesses are facing lawsuits and legal penalties for failing to put compliance measures into place. The Department of Justice (DOJ) requires that websites be accessible to vision, hearing, and physically impaired individuals, and can levy penalties against those that fail to comply. Not only is website ADA compliance legally required, it’s good for business.
What is an ADA Compliant website?
Sight, hearing, or mobility-impaired individuals may have difficulty navigating through a website without accommodations. Just as businesses with physical locations must meet ADA guidelines, so must websites. All users must be able to access website contents, including those with these impairments. Now that the internet has become such an integral part of everyday life, it makes perfect sense that there is equal access.
Although the DOJ doesn’t yet have exact regulations in place, there are guidelines to follow on the W3C WAI web page and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) web page.
What Accommodations are Present in ADA Compliant Websites?
ADA compliance on a website means that all areas are equally accessible, even to those with impairments. It means providing alternate functions to access all areas of a website. For example, here is a highly simplified list of accommodations that help websites meet with ADA requirements:
VISUAL: An option that allows viewers to enlarge text or add high contrast to make text easier to read for those with impaired sight. Images must contain descriptions that can be easily accessed.
AUDIO: Transcriptions should be available for text, images, and videos for hearing-impaired visitors. A text-only option should also be available.
PHYSICAL: Comprehensive keyboard navigation is required for mobility-impaired visitors.
How Can Businesses Ensure Website ADA Compliance?
The easiest and fastest way to ensure ADA compliance is by employing a qualified web development agency to evaluate your site, prepare a list of recommendations, and implement accommodations where needed. If you plan to apply them yourself, here is a list of ADA guidelines with examples of issues and solutions.
With recent settlements on lawsuits ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 these days, there is wisdom in getting your website into compliance, and waiting could cost you. The number of these lawsuits has been steadily growing, and this trend is expected to continue. Keep in mind that whether or not your business gets hit with an accessibility lawsuit, your site will still need to be ADA compliant.
Have Webideation help you develop a custom website ADA compliance plan today.
Janice Grace is a web developer and digital marketing specialist with Webideation