Should My Website Be ADA Compliant?
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was developed to make certain that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as anyone else. Basically what this means is, that any business that serves the public must make sure their building can accommodate people with a disability of various types. And this now applies to the internet websites and apps.
A ruling was past recently that said, all places of public accommodation are required by law to remove barriers that would impede a person with disabilities from retrieving goods or services.
If you are unsure whether your website should follow the basic ADA guidelines, read on.
1) Potential to Increase your Target Audience
Are you missing out on potential customers who cannot access your website due to their disabilities? Many may be interested in your services but when they view your website, they can’t navigate it. So they leave.
2) Potential to Increase your SEO
Along with the normal meta tagging, alt image text, and video transcripts, a key element is accessibility to screen readers. These readers crawl your website like search engines do. If your website meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, it will be user friendly and appeal to the search engines which will improve your SEO.
3) Potential to Increase your Status
One customer with a disability who has favorable experience on your website will lead to another and so on and so one. Being ADA Compliant will give you positive reviews which will improve your companies status and a reprievable website.
4) Potential for Better Website Usability
Creating a more operable and navigable website will ultimately benefit all users while still meeting WCAG guidelines. 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.
5) 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 at least grade A complaint, with grade AAA being the highest.
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, and Brooks Brothers have been sued for the lack of ADA compliant websites.
Currently, 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.
If you’re unsure where to get started, you can contact a web design agency to find out if your website is currently ADA compliant and how you can change it if it’s not.