What You Need to Know About Web Design and ADA Compliance
You already know your business needs to stay compliant with ADA (or Americans With Disabilities Act) guidelines. What you may not realize, though, is that rules for accessibility extend to your company’s web presence.
In today’s post, we want to look at online ADA regulations and best practices, along with what they mean for your business. Let’s start at the beginning…
ADA Regulations for Websites
Although the Americans With Disabilities Act doesn’t specifically mention web design standards, it does provide the general guidance (we are summarizing) that no one can be excluded from publicly-available products or services. The only exceptions are to situations where it wouldn’t be possible or feasible to make what you have available to everyone without changing your business or going to undue expense. Those conditions certainly don’t apply to a website.
Courts and regulators have agreed. In fact, there were more than 2000 ADA website lawsuits filed in 2018, more than one-and-a-half times the number that were filed in 2017. The companies that found themselves in court included big names like Home Depot and Chick-Fil-A. Smaller businesses like shoe stores and realtors were also targeted.
The underlying lesson, as always, was that it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to legal guidelines for web accessibility.
Best Practices for Website ADA Compliance
ADA compliance in this area is all about making your website accessible to those who might have impairments that make it difficult for them to view, scroll, or understand your pages and content. Examples of accessibility improvements might include:
- Text alternatives for on-screen images
- Properly-coded text that can be converted into braille, speech, or enlarged font sizes
- Subtitles for pre-recorded online videos
- Layouts that allow for input by keyboard or other control devices, especially with regards to drop-down menus
- Limited use of content that flashes rapidly
- Responsive web designs that can be used with larger screens
This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of ADA compliant website upgrades, and standards are changing all the time. However, these examples can help you understand the larger point, which is that you may have potential customers who don’t have the ability to see, hear, or operate a computer mouse. It’s your responsibility as a business owner to make your website as accessible to them as it would be to any other buyer.
The Bottom Line on ADA Compliance Online
Many of the business owners we speak with admit they’ve never thought about Website ADA compliance. If you fall into the same category, we encourage you to begin making plans to check or upgrade your pages immediately.
Not only can lawsuits from disabled customers lead to expensive headaches very quickly, but making your website ADA compliant isn’t just about avoiding fines and courtroom visits. It is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans have some kind of disability. That means you can give yourself a competitive advantage by offering buyers who face these limitations a better experience than other companies do. And, you can do it without spending much to make a few small website improvements.
To learn more about what you can do to ensure your website is functional, profitable, and in line with the latest Americans With Disabilities Act standards, contact the experts at SmartNet Solutions in New York City today!