ADA ACCESSIBLE WEBSITE
Why it’s more important than ever to have an ADA accessible website in 2021?
There are a lot of factors when it comes to building a new website or assessing your existing one: page speed (how fast your website loads on both desktop and mobile devices), website structure, page titles and keywords, meta descriptions, images, and more. In recent years, ensuring your website is ADA compliant has become an important factor.
What does it mean for your website to be ADA compliant?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was developed in 1990 and is meant to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as anyone else. This means any businesses that serve the public must make sure their building accommodates people with disabilities of various kinds. And now that the internet is so widely used, ADA compliance also applies to websites and even mobile apps. Basically, this means that your website needs to be accessible to people who have disabilities that affect their hearing, vision or physical capacities.
A court ruling has been passed declaring the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for businesses. Title III of the ADA has mandated that all “places of public accommodation” are required by law to remove any “access barriers” that would inhibit a person with disabilities from accessing the business’ goods or services.
Why do you want an accessible website?
- Increase Your Target Audience. If your website is not already ADA compliant, you are automatically missing out on millions of potential customers who cannot access your site due to their disabilities. In fact, there are nearly 50 million people with disabilities in the US - making up about 19% of the total population. Many of whom might be interested in your products or services, but once they arrive at your website are unable to navigate easily enough to make a purchase or even contact you, because your website is only accessible to people without disabilities. Thus, they may move on to your competitors.
- Improve Your SEO Efforts. Now more than ever, search engines are evolving to crawl pages with more human intention. A key element of WCAG is accessibility to screen readers, and these readers crawl your website pages similarly to search engines. If your website meets the WCAG, it will likely appeal to users, search engines, and screen readers alike, ultimately improving your SEO endeavors. For this reason, meta tagging, alternative image text, and video transcripts should be seriously considered.
- Help Your Reputation. Not only will you get more customers, but those customers will also know how valuable they are to your business. After all, they might have gone to a few other websites that were not ADA compliant, disappointed each time that they couldn’t access the content, until they got to your website. And once those new customers tell their friends and relatives how they found your website, more people will know you made sure to make it ADA compliant. The fact that you put this effort into ensuring everyone was included will set you apart from your competitors.
- Overall Better Website Usability. Creating a more operable and navigable website will ultimately benefit all users while still meeting WCAG. Making your web pages easier to comprehend will allow everyone - disabled or non - to find what they’re looking for quickly. If you decide to follow the guidelines, your website will likely convert more leads across the board because users will trust that they can always easily find the content they need.
- Avoid Penalties. The text in the ADA did not originally mention websites since this technology was not widely used in 1990. But now that most businesses have a website, they need to make sure it’s accessible to everyone. Since we’re past the ruling date, all updated pages on your website are required to be complaint. Dozens of esteemed brands have been hit with significant lawsuits in recent years, before the guidelines were even set in stone. Businesses including Fordham University, Foot Locker, Brooks Brothers, and more have been sued for the lack of ADA compliant websites. There is a safe harbor clause that allows your existing content to remain as it is, unless altered after January 18, 2018. However, the guidelines do pertain to any page that has been updated after that date. So if you want to avoid the legal costs of being found non-compliant with the ADA, it’s best to make the necessary changes to your website now.
How do you make your website ADA compliant?
There are many digital marketing agencies that can work with you on usability. We’re one of them! So if you have any questions or concerns about the usability of your website, please feel free to get in touch! We look forward to working with you on getting your website accessible!