Facts you Need to know about ADA and Web Accessibility
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or as commonly called the ADA is the primary civil rights law which is designed to allow everyone to access the public spaces, and to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
ADA can be complicated to understand for any layman, and it encompasses various sectors such as transportation, housing, public and commercial facilities, work and much more. While there are other sections of enactment designed to preserve people with disabilities, this major legislation wasn’t put into place until 1990.
Initially, the ADA, at least for Title III (private sector businesses), only applied to companies which employ 15 or more people. However, in January 2018, some new federal regulations will take effect. All national institutions’ websites must meet AA compliance on all items in WCAG 2.0 by this time.
Why ADA is getting popular and why you need to know about it?
However, with the legal precedent changing, ADA compliance related lawsuits became more and more successful. So, even though the Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act pertains to private sector businesses mainly, lately, those laws are expanding more frequently into the digital arena as web and mobile applications become more ingrained in all our day-to-day lives.
Under the law, websites should be now as friendly as ATMs, elevators, terminals and other public user interfaces. Not only should a site be accessible to all the people (regardless of their physical deformities) on the desktop or laptop but also on mobile phones and tablets. Failing ADA compliance in today’s web development creates poor and awkward experiences for people with physical limitations. Simply put, ADA compliance is assuring the website falls within a set of guided receptiveness standards.
The consensus right now is that any firm considered a “public accommodation” should have an ADA compliant web presence. Generally speaking, this refers to B2C, retail, or any service provider the general public should be able to use, understand and access easily. Web developers should realise that not everyone uses the global standard browsers like Google Chrome. Many users are comfortable with other types of devices to obtain any information, such as audio scanners or text readers. Those tools need specific guidance to help translate and convey the information on the web page to the user.
When you’re not sure if your website is ADA obedient and you’re wondering if it’s worth looking into, the following benefits of doing so may influence you.
Increases your target audience
If your website is not following ADA compliances, you are out on a substantial number of potential customers who cannot reach your site due to their limitations. There are nearly 50 million people with physical disabilities in the United States, which makes about 19 per cent of the population. Many of them might like to indulge in your services and products, but they won’t be able to navigate the site if it does not have the accessibility.
For instance, someone with hearing or seeing disability might face a complication in surfing a non-ADA complaint site. The use of alternate text allows screen reading tools to define the vision or image to someone who is blind. On a similar note, it’s crucial to make your website such that it is fully accessible even without a mouse so that people with physical limitations can use it without any barriers.
Improves your SEO efforts
More than ever now, search engines are emerging to crawl pages with higher human intention. A vital element of WCAG is the accessibility of the screen readers, and these tech-augmented readers crawl the website pages just like the search engines. When a website meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, it is expected to engage the users, screen readers and search engines alike, which will ultimately improve the SEO attempts. For this reason, alternative image text, meta tagging, and video transcripts must be thoughtfully considered.
Overall better website usability
Creating a more accessible and navigable website while still meeting WCAG guidelines eventually benefits all users. Making your web pages more accessible to access and comprehend will allow everyone, regardless of any form of deformities, to find what they’re looking for just and easily. If you decide to obey the guidelines, any website is likely to convert more potential customers across as it will enhance the trust that they can always easily find the content they need.
Increase your brand value
The point that an ADA obedient website can improve the target audience by millions is one of the moot reasons to make your site so. Another benefit is that not only will there be an increased number of customers, but those leads will also know how important they are to your business. After all, they might have visited a few other websites which were not ADA compliant, and after a long disappointed search each time that they couldn’t access the content, till the time they got to your website.
Moreover, these new clients will tell their friends and relatives how they found a particular website to be more accessible than the rest, and more people will know about your business. The fact that you put the effort of building a site convenient for all will set you apart from your competitors. Therefore, making your site ADA compliant is an excellent way to get some positive press for your business.
The rule in the ADA did not initially mention websites as this technology was not extensively used in 1990. However, now that most companies and businesses have a site, they need to ensure that it’s accessible to everyone and by everyone. All updated pages on the government and other public important websites are required to be at least of grade A complaint, grade AAA being the highest.
Dozens of reputed brands and companies have been hit with severe lawsuits in the last couple of years before the guidelines were even set in stone. Businesses such as Brooks Brothers, Fordham University, Foot Locker, and even Kylie Jenner have faced penalties for the absence of ADA compliant websites.
Currently, there is a safe harbour clause which states that your existing content to remain as it is unless altered after January 18, 2018. However, the regulations do concern to any page that has been updated after the specific date. So if you want to avoid the legal expenses of being found non-compliant with the ADA guidelines, it’s best to make the required changes to your website now.
If you are still foggy about ADA Compliance for websites, web accessibility and how their implication might help you get better results, get in touch with the “Ananyoo Team” at the earliest. Our experts will offer a free scan and graded report of your website. Through our advanced analytical reports, you can measure the performance of your site against WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Get a 30-minute free consultation about your website accessibility today!
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about the author
WordPress and Accessibility Lover. I realize that a Website or an Application is a constantly developing project and requires long-term assistance to make it perfect. Let me blend my accessibility skill with seamless design and development integration using WordPress to make a perfect website for you. I can be your team or become part of your team or let me help when you have a tricky design or development issue and need support. Whatever it is, I will be there to make your things beautiful, accessible, and functional.