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How you could make the world a better place with ADA Website Compliance?
What is the ADA?
If you were to do a random search on what ADA means, you’d probably see quite a few options. But the acronym we’re talking about is the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The ADA (or the Americans with Disabilities Act) is an American law that requires private businesses to adhere to certain standards to allow people of all ability levels to access and use their services and products.
This act covers all kinds of things, from ramps outside buildings into businesses to how your website works with screen readers.
So, what is ADA compliance?
The ADA applies to all businesses but is becoming even more prevalent in the online business community due to landmark cases such as the National Association of the Deaf Vs Harvard and Robles Vs Dominos. Businesses are beginning to realize that their websites are just as important to keep up to code as their buildings.
So, what do businesses need to do to protect themselves and best serve their customers of all abilities?
Here’s a deep dive into this.
Is It Necessary?
Although we all already feel put into different groups based on economic status, religious and political affiliation, or even which state we come from, it’s our duty as Americans to create equal opportunities for each community member.
The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.
The purpose of the law has been to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
It guarantees an equal opportunity to individuals with disabilities in all walks of life.
What does this Act mean for a website owner or developer?
The Internet had only existed for a few years from when this act was passed – and no one would have guessed at the time how the internet would impact people’s lives in the few years to come or how it was relevant to the ADA.
Today though, we can rest assured that all our lives revolve around the internet and the connectivity it creates.
In the last 20 years, the internet has become a haven for everything, from entertainment to work to basic daily activities like paying rent or calling a friend.
90% of US adults use the internet on a nearly daily basis in United States.
Given that the internet is so critical for current communications, wouldn’t it be essential to ensure that these spaces are safe and usable to everyone, especially the differently-abled?)
Public businesses like hotels, theatres, launderers and many such facilities, directly related to end-users, have the need today to make their services and products available via the internet for ease of use and efficiency in their respective fields.
Making sure a website can be used by reader software allows people who are blind or have visual impairments, bring equality to your product is essential at this time.
Apart from building ADA compliant industries, it has become a pivotal point to create ADA compliant websites.
The website is visited virtually, and today we can confidently say that people have become more dependent on websites than brick-and-mortar stores during the pandemic.
What ADA compliance factors must websites follow?
WCAG 2.1 AA conformance is required for all websites to comply with the ADA act.
There has even been a recent update in 2021 on the law, and it is up to businesses to stay in the know.
Here are some of the factors that decide a website’s ADA compliance:
- Improving user interface components and making them compatible with assistive technology tools such as a screen reader.
- Enabling websites to be keyboard friendly so that users can navigate using a keyboard or other external input devices.
- Providing a text alternative for any non-text content present on the website
The WCAG list offers you a checklist of these factors for you to ensure absolute ADA compliance.
Need to do a quick audit of your website for ADA? Maybe this article can help:
Non-compliance to ADA will attract lawsuits and reparation claims. If on the off chance, you are in the unfortunate circumstance of holding a legal letter for non-compliance, it could be a disastrous situation for your business. It becomes even more painful if you are unaware of the existence of the law in itself.
Here’s how to avoid the pain and hassle: Handle it before it happens.
First things first, educate yourself on the rules in the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). The more you are aware of the policies, the easier it is to understand how things need to be laid out on your website and what changes you will need to make.
Then, get an audit of your website. You can request one here, or you can perform one yourself with the checklist above. Once you have an audit of your website, make the necessary changes to your website with your team. Check again, and see if there are any flaws. Continue this check every time you update your website.
Sounds exhausting, right? And yet, it still won’t always be enough to keep you out of legal trouble.
Isn’t This Enough?
No, not in the least. This is a continuous process curve. The guidelines keep changing, and business owners and website designers can keep themselves updated here. There have been several revisions to the policies over the years.
As part of human society, it is our duty to follow the updates and make necessary changes to assist those who are unfortunate with their abilities. Therefore, it is imperative that you update your website constantly in accordance with the current WCAG guidelines and standards.
To avoid damage to both your reputation and wallet, it’s also critical for your customers to feel like you care about their experience.
Here is our advice: Keep calm and call Eleviant.
We can help you audit your website and give pointers to ensure the highest levels of ADA compliance. Our ADA experts can help you quickly fix the problem areas in existing web assets, and if you are in the process of building your website, it would be great to start early. With several years of experience in the field, our experts can help with every aspect concerning Web Design and ADA.
As the adage goes, “Prevention is better than cure,” and you could always do without a lawsuit or associated legal fines that could go up to $75000 per violation. Stay in the know about the requirements and reach out to us if you are unsure or don’t have the time to check the website continually.
We know you are busy. And we are happy to help.
Hire our seasoned ADA experts to ensure your website is completely free of ADA litigation risk.
Get started with testing your website for ADA compliance now.