What is ADA Compliance?
Is your website ADA compliant? ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. This civil law mandates inclusion, especially for those with disabilities, in public spaces. Any place open to the general population must make appropriate accommodations for those with a disability. This includes stores, restaurants, schools, libraries, and public transportation. In addition, everything from receiving updated health information to registering to vote can be done online. So, businesses and web developers must take the necessary steps to meet accessibility standards.
Am I Required to Comply?
Ideally, all websites should be ADA-compliant and accessible. Unfortunately, as a business owner, you’re leaving out an entire population of consumers by not meeting the guidelines.
According to the ADA website, these are examples of businesses that must comply.
- State and local government organizations
- Private organizations with 15 or more employees
- Places considered a public accommodation by Title III
- Any organization that works with the public (e.g., schools, restaurants, bakeries, hotels, law offices, accountant offices, gyms, healthcare facilities, post office, etc.)
What Happens if I Don’t Comply?
If compliance standards are not met, intentionally or unintentionally, a person or organization could face a detrimental lawsuit. In addition, if your website isn’t accessible to those with disabilities, you could also meet the following challenges.
- Legal fees
- Financial settlements
- Public relations problems
- Fees associated with rebuilding your site to meet requirements
As of 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that over 56 million people are living with disabilities. That’s a large number of potential customers who are not engaging with your company due to a lack of accessibility. So the most significant downfall of non-compliance is possibly the business you’ll miss out on.
How Do I Meet the Requirements?
To comply with ADA standards, websites must follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG. The WCAG guidelines follow this three-tiered grading system.
Level A—Your website is only accessible to 50% of users.
Level AA—Your website is accessible to 75% of the population.
Level AAA—Your website is accessible to 99% of users.
The 4 Core Principles
Although Level AA is usually enough to meet legal standards, the best option is to create a website that is 100% compliant, so no business is lost due to accessibility issues. To reach Level AAA, you must follow four core principles.
Allow users the ability to perceive the information on your website. Create accommodations and alternative options. For example, award blind users the opportunity to listen to the text instead of reading it. Allow deaf users a closed captioning option.
Users who visit your website should be able to easily navigate the entire site, including site tools. This element must be written into HTML, meaning you’ll need a web developer who is educated on ADA compliance standards.
Being able to view and navigate through your website isn’t enough. Users also need to be able to understand what they’re seeing and hearing. One way to ensure your site is understandable is to include instructions for your website’s features, such as the site tools, forms, or navigation menus.
It’s essential to treat your users alike by ensuring they receive the full user experience. Descriptions, directions, and explanations shouldn’t be shortened—even if your disabled users are using assisted technologies. No matter how the content is accessed, the experience should be universal.
What If I Need Help with ADA Compliance?
Seek assistance from an experienced web developer. Find8 can ensure your site meets compliance standards. Call us at 765-588-6067 or visit our website to learn more about our new product—an ADA Compliance service.
ADA Compliance Service
Become more reachable—empower your users. Find8 makes it attainable for $125.