It comes as quite a surprise to many business owners that the provisions detailed in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) extend to websites. Well, it most certainly does!
People living with disabilities have every right to live, learn, work, and play using the Internet, just like anyone else. They know all too well that many companies aren’t aware of updates made to the original 1990 ADA. Their failure to accommodate people who are blind, deaf, living with mobility issues, etc., has made it difficult for people with disabilities to use the web.
Just as physical accommodations must be included in public and privately owned buildings, like wheelchair ramps, restroom accommodations, braille signage, etc., accommodations must also be added to websites. According to the ADA, websites must be accessible to users of all abilities.
Give it a moment’s thought and you’ll quickly come to the obvious conclusion that making your website accessible to all users is simply good business. Why turn away prospective customers because your site isn’t navigable?
Further, it’s the law. With the enhanced ADA provisions enacted in 2010, all forms of advertising, including websites and social media platforms, are required to be compliant.. failure to comply could result in hefty fines…thousands of dollars!
What Makes a Website ADA Compliant?
Accessibility is the key provision laid out in the ADA guidelines. While we’re most familiar with the physical accommodations mentioned above, there are many modifications that can be made to websites to make them more accessible. Consider the list of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) first published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) in 1995.
Simply put, focus on making your website easy to use—for all users.
A reputable web developer should be familiar with the guidelines laid out in the ADA, and should be able to enhance your site to bring it up to compliance.
Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. In other words, paying a web developer to bring your site up to ADA standards today will cost you a lot less than one non-compliance fine tomorrow.
Benefits of Making your Website ADA Compliant
Aside from the obvious benefit, which is avoiding hefty fines for non-compliance, making your website accessible to all users will benefit your business in many ways.
Consider the following:
- Include people living with disabilities as part of your customer base because they are prospects! Don’t give users a reason to abandon your site because of lack of accessibility.
- Improve brand image so you can gain a positive reputation for being accessible.
- Capture older users; No demographic should be excluded from using your site.
- Enhance your SEO; An ADA-compliant website has a better search presence.
- Increase overall site usability for the benefit of all users, not just those people living with disabilities.
When is a good time to upgrade your website to make it ADA compliant?
Today! Don’t wait another minute. This is a process that will require expertise and care, along with thorough and extensive testing.
Get the ball rolling as soon as possible and you’ll be rewarded with a whole new population of customers!