A Guide to Navigating ADA Compliance for Websites
In this article, we will discuss the history of ADA compliance for websites and its current state with respect to marketing.
Brief History of American Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed and signed into law in 1990. The law protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in many aspects of public life. Often referred to as the ADA, the law has an immense impact on the daily lives of individuals and businesses. Many elements of our society, which are commonplace today, were not mandatory before it came into effect. As an example, the use of service animals was not legally protected beforehand. Any place open to the public must allow them even if there is a “no pets” policy. Accessible parking spaces such as handicap parking are protected by the ADA too. The protection of the ADA extends to websites also. The act requires operators of public spaces to comply with its legal requirements. So, perhaps you have a website or plan to have one in the future. Let’s delve into the specific ways that the ADA will impact your online space.
Importance of ADA Compliance for Websites
In today’s digital landscape, ensuring ADA compliance for websites is not just an optional feature but a fundamental necessity. The benefits it brings are multifaceted. First and foremost, it significantly enhances accessibility, allowing individuals with disabilities to seamlessly navigate and engage with online content. By adhering to ADA compliance for a website, you are helping to reduce discrimination. Though it may seem like a drop in a bucket, every bit counts. Your actions contribute to providing more opportunities for those with challenges. Perhaps your site has valuable information. It could be the case that your site sells medical supplies or groceries. Implementing ADA compliance on websites could provide individuals who have disabilities with access to vital supplies.
Moreover, adhering to ADA guidelines isn’t just a good practice; it’s the law. Websites that fail to meet these requirements can face legal consequences, potentially tarnishing a company’s reputation and finances. Furthermore, there are laws in several states that resemble the ADA. At times, these laws are stricter. They may contain more requirements than the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, the penalties imposed for violations are harsher. Becoming ADA compliant is a great starting point. From there it is just a matter of checking state laws for any extra requirements.
Beyond legal compliance, making your website accessible translates to a broader audience reach. It is simple math. Adhering to ADA compliance for websites increases accessibility. Therefore, there are more potential visitors who may become customers. The benefits of enhancing website accessibility are not just hypothetical.Real data exists supporting this idea. In concert with AccessibilityChecker.org, Semrush conducted an analysis of 847 websites. Their study found that online discoverability is highly attributable to digital accessibility. Results from the study showed that accessibility led to a 12% increase in overall traffic on average.
Negative Consequences of Incompliance
While the advantages of ADA compliance are clear, the repercussions of non-compliance can be severe. Legally, inaccessible websites can lead to lawsuits, fines, and a tarnished public image. The pandemic brought more web traffic and more lawsuits. In 2021, analyses found that website accessibility lawsuits grew by 19.8%. If your company is a retailer, you may be at even more risk. 73.7% of digital accessibility lawsuits were filed against retailers. More importantly, overlooking accessibility equates to discrimination, preventing people with disabilities from fully participating in the digital realm. This not only alienates potential customers but can also lead to a backlash on social media and other platforms. From a business perspective, a lack of accessibility often translates into a reduced audience, limiting your website’s traffic and potential conversions.
How to Make a Website ADA Compliant
Creating an ADA-compliant website involves a series of thoughtful steps.Collectively, they lead to a more inclusive online environment. Start by increasing the readability of your fonts. One way in which this can be achieved is through font size. It is recommended to have text be a minimum of 1 rem. REM is a new standard for sizing fonts on the internet. 1 unit of REM equates to 16 pixels. Incorporating alt text for images helps as well. Doing this ensures that screen readers can convey visual information to users with visual impairments.
Providing captions for videos further enhances inclusivity. It makes auditory content accessible. Implementing keyboard navigation guarantees that users who can’t use a mouse are still able to navigate effortlessly. Prioritize proper color contrast, allowing those with visual impairments to read and discern content with ease. This can be extremely helpful for those who have difficulty distinguishing between colors. ARIA labels can be used to meet ADA Compliance for Websites too. An ARIA label provides more information about what a button does for a visitor. Leveraging ARIA labels enhances interaction for users utilizing assistive technologies.
Hey everyone, my name is D.A. Myers, and I’m the Web Lead here at Myers Marketing, as well as the Ad Strategist. I just wanted to take you through ADA compliance today, specifically for websites. The ADA was signed into law in 1990, ensuring accessibility for anyone and everyone with disabilities in all public spaces, including digital spaces.
There are lots of implications for ADA compliance for your website. First, there are legal implications. You can avoid lawsuits and penalties, as well as cease and desist letters in the mail. Then, there are ethical reasons, making sure we’re inclusive to everyone visiting our websites.
Finally, there are business benefits. Not being ADA compliant excludes a whole group of people from using your website. If they can’t interact with it, they won’t stay. Becoming ADA compliant opens up your website to a wider audience.
I want to discuss a few things you can do on your website to ensure ADA compliance. Text alternatives are crucial. Whenever you have an image, make sure it has alt text. There are various ways to do this, especially if you’re using WordPress. Alt text is important not only for SEO but also for users with disabilities. They rely on alt text to understand images.
Keyboard accessibility is vital. Ensure the tab button navigates through forms correctly. Most forms are ADA compliant in this regard, but not all. Check yours. Navigation readability is also important. Have sufficient contrast between your background and text. Sometimes this basic principle is overlooked.
These are just a few steps. There are common mistakes to avoid too, like not providing captions or transcripts for multimedia, or relying solely on color to convey information. Color-blind individuals struggle with that.
There are plugins available to quickly make your site ADA compliant. We’ll leave a recommendation for WordPress plugins in the comments. When you audit your site, don’t just view it as your primary customer would. Consider every person who might visit.
It’s a quick audit and costs nothing but a bit of time. The benefits are significant. Ensure your site isn’t just ADA compliant, but accessible to everyone. So, take a look at your website. If you’d like us to conduct an ADA compliance audit, feel free to reach out. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, and we’ll respond promptly. Thanks!
While achieving ADA compliance for websites might seem like a daunting task, several resources can simplify the process. One such tool is Elementor. Elementor offers features that streamline accessibility enhancements. The WordPress website builder provides templates and guidelines to follow. Dedicated accessibility tools can scan your site for issues and suggest improvements. Information on AccessibilityChecker.org can provide you with guidance. ADA.gov is the official government website for the Americans with Disabilities Act. There is a ton of information on this site regarding ADA compliance websites must comply with.
For a more comprehensive approach, you should consider collaborating with a knowledgeable marketing agency. An agency experienced in ADA compliance can ensure your website meets the necessary standards. Also, an agency can align ADA compliance for your website with your overall marketing strategy. Doing so will lay the foundation for success. Embracing these resources not only fosters inclusivity but also empowers your brand to thrive in a digital world that values accessibility.
All in All
Since its enactment in 1990, the ADA has benefited the lives of millions of Americans. Close to 42.5 million Americans have disabilities. This makes up about 13% of our citizens. Meeting ADA compliance for websites may seem burdensome. If we change our perspective, we can see that it is an area of opportunity. It affords businesses with the potential to contribute to the betterment of society. Also, adhering to it allows companies to avoid negative legal ramifications. Less fines and penalties equate to more money and less trouble in the long run. Moreover, the law provides a guideline for accessibility standards. Reaching these standards can lead to more website traffic. Numerous actions can be taken to increase accessibility on websites. At Myer Marketing Management, we take all the necessary steps and go further. Elementor is the software that we use for building websites in our web design department. We also have experience with accessibility tools. Reliance on tools and software does not cover everything however. As professional marketers, we assemble all of the pieces using our expertise. We would love to partner with your business with respect to ADA compliance for its website.