Last Updated on September 26, 2022
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
This act is usually thought about as something that affects only physical locations such as the installation of wheelchair ramps. However, the ADA goes past physical into the digital world, requiring online businesses to make content accessible for all users. ADA website compliance means that your website should be available to people who have any disabilities that affect hearing, vision, or physical limitations. The ADA regulation does not provide a clear definition of what a compliant website consists of but websites must offer “reasonable accessibility” for individuals with disabilities.
Who needs to be compliant?
Not all businesses need to be compliant with the ADA. If a company does not cater to the public or is very small, it may not need to comply. So how do you know if your business website needs to be compliant or not? There are 2 titles that cover what businesses must be compliant with; Title I and Title III. Title I states that any business with 15 or more employees that operates 20 or more weeks every year must comply with the regulation. Title III covers businesses that are considered public accommodations such as hotels and banks must comply. For a more detailed list of the companies that need to be compliant click here.
For further clarification on whether or not you need to be compliant and more ADA information consult with a disability lawyer.
How to create an ADA-compliant website?
Ensuring accessibility in a website means making sure your website can be navigated by individuals who are visually impaired, hearing-impaired or individuals who must navigate by voice. There are a number of ways to achieve this accessibility but it can prove to be a stressful process for many business owners.
A company website now must be designed in a way that allows disabled individuals to easily access it. For persons who are sight-impaired your website can include technology such as screen readers where text is read out loud for the visitor; another option could be refreshable braille for touch screens.
Since there are no clear guides, business owners need to look to the regulations that are in place for federal websites to have a clear idea of what needs to be put in place.
These are some of the ways business websites can improve accessibility for their web content:
- Alt Tags for all images, videos, and audio files. Alt tags help individuals with disabilities to read or hear descriptions of content they might otherwise miss. The purpose of alt tags should be to describe what the object is and what purpose it serves on the website.
- Transcripts for Video and Audio. Including transcripts for videos on your website helps hearing impaired users understand the content that they would otherwise miss.
- Identify site language. It can be helpful to text readers to clearly identify what language the site should be read in. This helps text readers to better identify the codes.
- Offer alternative suggestions. If a user with a disability is likely to encounter input errors due to the way they navigate the website, your site should automatically offer recommendations for better navigating.
- Organized layout. Your website navigation and menus should all be organized in a way that makes it easy to move throughout your site.
Failure To Comply
Failure to comply with ADA requirements means putting your business at risk of lawsuits and possible non-compliance fees. In addition to the fees and lawsuits, a non-accessible website can mean losing out on business and sales opportunities. ADA compliance also happens to make your website easier to crawl for search engines improving your ranking.
Let Experts Help You With ADA
While ADA website compliance may seem a bit vague in its “reasonable accessibility” it is very possible to improve accessibility for disabled users and avoid potential lawsuits. To find more information about ADA website compliance and how you can protect your business, consider consulting with a disability attorney and contacting our knowledgeable team at Right On Tech.