ADA IS WEB ARCHITECTURE FOR THE VISION IMPAIRED
IS YOUR WEBSITE ADA COMPLIANT?
Businesses today should be aware of the legal requirement to make accommodations for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, are the set of laws that require businesses to provide accommodations such as, wheelchair accessibility, access to service animals, as well as requiring Braille for the visually impaired. This set of laws also extends into the digital realm and is referred to generally as Website Accessibility.
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WHO NEEDS COMPLY WITH ADA?
To understand the evolving rules around ADA a good place to start is to find which businesses are required to comply. Generally, any business with at least 15 full-time employees that operates for 20 or more weeks every year is covered by the law. And, more specifically, businesses that fall into the category of “public accommodation,” such as hotels, banks and public transportation, are also required to comply regardless of size.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO GET COMPLIANT?
ADA is basically an optimization of your site’s content to fix website accessibility errors associated with the content structure and descriptive details to enable it to read properly in screen reading software. Depending on the level of WCAG (Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines) that you want to accommodate. This is a brief list of the type of updates that are needed to start getting compliant:
- Alt tags are required for every image on your site. The alt text helps with SEO, but it also allows the blind to hear descriptions of the image that they are unable to view.
- Include transcripts for video and audio content. Again this can be a benefit for optimizing your page and your video for placement on YouTube or other platforms.
- Establish the Language of the page. Making it clear what language the site should be read in helps users who utilize text readers. Text readers can identify those codes and function accordingly.
- Allow your sites navigation to be “tab-browseable” or by using the arrow keys: This is critical because the vision impaired cannot utilize a mouse and therefore must rely on the keyboard to navigate your pages.
- Allow the user to change text size and contrast levels of your content: Inline changes to the fonts display and dynamic changes to the text/background coloring of the pages.
Take a look at the website accessibility button in the bottom right-hand side of the VisionFriendly site. You’ll be able to; turn on the screen reader, change the font sizes, improve the contrast of the page, etc. Just imagine how frustrating it must be to not be able to easily browse the web when so much happens online today. It may seem like just another set of rules to pile on your business, but if you were unable to get to all the content and functionality online today, you would likely feel very discriminated against. It puts people at major disadvantage getting a job, finding and ordering goods, looking for a place to live, etc.
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THE GOOD NEWS: ADA COMPLIANCE IS DOABLE
Getting in compliance will often positively improve your SEO rankings. Additionally, to get within compliance is not as much work as it might sound. Most sites can be brought up to WCAG 2.0 level AA for in 20-30 hours if you have a good team of trained Web ADA Compliance Specialists – like we do at VisionFriendly. Then keeping your site in compliance is not typically much more than you are already doing for your content upkeep.
THE BAD NEWS: LIABILITY FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY
Failing to get in compliance with ADA guidelines leaves your business vulnerable to lawsuits. Which is an easy target for watchdog groups to seek out large settlements from noncompliant businesses. The costs of an ADA lawsuit can add up very quickly and bringing your site up to standards after the litigation will not negate the proceedings. Businesses must show that they are making reasonable efforts to accommodate the vision impaired before the case is filed.
Show compassion for the disabled and protect your business from unnecessary litigation.
In 2019 there were thousands of ADA cases filed with the courts as news of the case that was won against Dominoes for non-compliance gets spread. This means more ambulance chasers are out there gunning for small businesses.
To find out more about ADA website compliance and how you can protect your business, call for a FREE ADA Website Audit and consultation with your team at VisionFriendly.com 630-553-0000.