What is ADA Compliance, and Why is It Important for Your Website?
We all do so many activities online on a regular basis. Being online is so interwoven into our lives that we might not even realize how ingrained it really is. We go online to shop, communicate with friends and loved ones, for entertainment, to do our banking, and to share special moments in our lives.
When we shop, that typically means visiting a website to peruse and compare products or services. For much of the 21st century, very often, instead of shuffling off to a brick-and-mortar store, we have clicked our way to the website of the company that sells products or services we want to have to improve our lives in some fashion. Companies do all they can to make their websites easy to use and to be intuitive.
If companies want to truly make their websites accessible to everyone, that will include people with disabilities. In fact, websites must be in compliance with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) or risk paying large fines and possibly being ostracized by the public.
The ADA became law in 1990 to address the desire to offer equal access to business services. This applies to both brick-and-mortar companies and companies who showcase their brand online in the form of a website.
In essence, ADA compliance is the civil law that ensures equal opportunity for disabled individuals in the public spheres of accommodation.
ADA compliance applies to the following entities:
- Private organizations that employ 15 employees or more
- State and local government organizations
- Organizations that work for the public’s benefit, such as schools, restaurants, grocery stores, public transportation, banks, hotels, law offices, accountant offices, social service centers, gyms, healthcare providers, and many more.
- Places of business that would be considered a place of accommodation (Title III)
Consequences for Websites Not Being ADA Compliant
If your website is not ADA compliant, your business is legally liable. For example, a lawsuit could be filed against your business if people with disabilities cannot access or use your site. Even if you have the best of intentions, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in lawsuits if your website does not adequately meet the needs of people with disabilities.
You also run the risk of losing customers for not making your website accessible to those who are disabled. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people with disabilities increases by the millions ever few years. As of 2010, there were more than 56 million people with disabilities.
How Can Your Website be ADA Compliant?
If you are planning to make your website ADA compliant, you should initially adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) guidelines. The focus of WCAG is primarily HTML accessibility throughout all platforms.
The WCAG guidelines have a three-tiered grading system:
1) Level A: Your website in just accessible by some users
2) Level AA: Your website is accessible by nearly all users
3) Level AAA: Your website is accessible to all users
Here is a breakdown of the core principles of the WCAG guidelines:
All users must be able to navigate your website with ease. Each individual needs to be able to utilize all features that you offer, like site tools. This will likely have to be written into your HTML. You will need a web developer who is up-to-date on ADA compliance standards.
Every user should have the ability to perceive any and all information that is displayed on your website. This will include images, text, videos, etc.
With respect to perceivable, this means offering alternatives to create accessibility. For instance, if your users are not able to see, there should be a choice to listen to the text. If they can’t hear, there should be an option for closed captioning.
In addition to being able to “view” your website and navigate your site, your users also should be able to understand what they are reading, listening to, and so forth. One method for implementing this concept is by providing instructions that come with the site tools, a navigation menu, forms, or any other features your website provides.
Even if disabled users visiting your website are supported by assisted technologies, you still want them to have the same experience as your non-disabled users. This translates into having all of your website content be universal. You should not abbreviate descriptions, explanations, directions, etc. Treat all users the same way by providing them with the complete user experience.
Examples of an ADA Compliant Website
There are different parameters for compliance with respect to your website. Among those are the examples listed here:
- Video captions (Level A)
- Navigable with a keyboard (Level A)
- Form fields have accurate labels (Level AA)
- Color contrast is, in most cases, at least 4:5:1 (Level AA)
- Timing is not an essential factor of any activity on your website. (Level AAA)
- Sign language interpretation for audio or video content (Level AAA)
Making Your Website ADA Compliant
For some of you, you may have to overhaul your site to make it compliant with the ADA. Others of you might only have to make some minor adjustments. It can be a costly and tedious endeavor to have an ADA compliant site, but it is necessary in order for your business or organization to be viable in the marketplace.
Being ADA compliant also means that you are being inclusive with current and potential new customers. This will improve your reputation and help to ensure you are in good standing in your community.
Look to Lemon Head Design for Ensuring Your Website is ADA Compliant
At Lemon Head Design, we have expert and highly skilled web developers who know how to make your company or organizational website compliant with the ADA. You have the peace of mind of knowing that in addition to being a beautiful and compelling website, your site will also be inclusive to all people, including those with disabilities.
Let Lemon Head Design Help Your Business Succeed Online
Lemon Head Design is a web services agency that has a proven track record of helping businesses – and dental practices – be successful with well-designed, money-making websites. Our award-winning designers produce websites with the user in mind so businesses can more easily connect with potential customers.
Among the online services we provide are Web development, Web maintenance, graphic design, marketing services, and Chatbot with Live Chat and SMS.
With Lemon Head Design, we will create a professional, eye-catching website that attracts the people you want as customers, all while contributing to your bottom line!
For more than a dozen years, Lemon Head Design has been the premier source for website design in Utah. We have helped hundreds of our clients succeed online. Why shouldn’t our next client be you?
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