Is Your Site ADA Compliant? Most Aren’t.
An ADA compliant website ensures your site is accessible and easy to navigate for every user, regardless of their abilities. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken the position that business websites that sell a product or service are considered public places where accommodation is needed. What continues to be debated is to what extent your website needs to be compliant; however, when the ADA cases make it to court judges are ruling for sites to be compliant. If a case settles out of court that usually means hefty penalties and fees for the non-compliant website owners.
Lawyers Are Filing Suits All Over The U.S.
Plaintiffs all over the country are filing lawsuits against both big and small corporations. Here’s a run-down of the most recent activity:
- Target: Their website recently came under scrutiny. Plaintiffs sued them for failing to provide descriptive alt text for their images.
- Weight Watchers: They failed to provide an accessible platform for visually impaired browsers.
- H&R Block: Lawyers took legal action to sue H&R for lack of accessible web content for their online experience.
These are all big companies so you may be thinking your little operation is safe. Wrong. Lawyers and their clients are pursuing small business as frequently as big organizations. Smaller businesses are often more likely to settle lawsuits out of court because they don’t have the funds to put up a strong defense.
Three Main Web Components That Need To Work Together For ADA Compliance:
- Web Content – refers to any part of a website, including text, images, forms, and multimedia, as well as any markup code, scripts, and applications.
- User Agents – software that people use to access web content, including desktop graphical browsers, voice browsers, mobile phone browsers, multimedia players, plug-ins, and some assistive technologies.
- Authoring Tools – software or services that people use to produce web content, including code editors, document conversion tools, content management systems, blogs, database scripts, and other tools.
Here Are A Few Examples Of Disabilities To Consider For Web ADA Compliance.
If someone has a vision impairment they may use a screen reader that reads the site aloud to them. The images not only need descriptive alternative (alt) text behind them so the screen reader can properly describe the images throughout your website, the screen reader also needs to be able to travel through the site without error.
W3C Defines The Standard For An ADA Compliant Website
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has worked to create a guide that web developers across the US are now using to make websites compliant. W3C focuses on content, media players/browsers, screen readers, and coding requirements to make websites easier to read, navigate with only a keyboard, and provide audio for the hearing impaired.The Web Content Accessibility Guide (WCAG 2.1) is currently considered the “golden standard” of ADA compliance. We strongly recommend that all small businesses get WCAG 2.1 ADA compliant to avoid a lawsuit and hefty fines up to $150,000 from the DOJ.
ADA Compliance Benefits:
- Boost Audience Reach: Recent statistics show that 1 in 5 users require an accommodation to use a website. Become compliant and boost your traffic by 20%.
- Improve SEO: If your site is easy to crawl with a screen reader, it’s also easier for Google’s bots to crawl. So having an ADA compliant site means your site is better optimized for search engines.
- Avoid Litigation: Avoid penalties and fees from the DOJ up to $150k
- It’s Just The Right Thing To Do: Differently-abled individuals deserve access to products and services just like everyone else.
Brand Your Business As Inclusive. Start Here.
The best way to determine if your website is compliant is to run an ADA audit. The team at Estland can audit your site testing for issues that affect your accessibility. We resolve compliance issues and do continuous ADA audits to keep you compliant and help you expand your customer base.