Don’t want to call ahead at your favorite restaurant and risk getting put on hold or ignored due to a busy line? Not a problem. These days websites grant clients and users the ability to do everything from ordering for pickup to booking medical appointments. It’s as easy as pie… or at least it should be.
It may sound far fetched, but a poor web design isn’t only inconvenient, it could be the cause of a lawsuit. Started in 1990, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that protects people with disabilities from discrimination. This is generally thought to protect these individuals in their daily life, be it in public, the workplace, etc, but the law also extends to ADA website compliance.
Who Does ADA Protect?
According to the ADA’s official website, individuals protected by these laws must have “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”
While some Americans with disabilities might access any website without a problem, others may consume content in a way that might be impossible if a site isn’t specifically designed or optimized for the job. For example, an individual may only use their keyboard to navigate sites without the use of a mouse. If a website is not formatted with this in mind, the site could very well be completely inaccessible to the user. This is just one example, but it illustrates how certain functions can greatly increase a website’s accessibility to more groups of people.
Thousands of cases & complaints over the years
The Importance of ADA Website Compliance
A lack of ADA website compliance can result in something as little as a complaint all the way to, as stated before, a lawsuit (not to mention the negative SEO implications that may result). It is estimated that from 2017 to 2018 alone, the number of lawsuits and complaints on non-ADA compliant websites increased by a staggering 200%. There is no denying that lawsuits for non-compliant sites are on the rise, and failure to adhere to the guidelines is easily far more trouble than it’s worth. Compliance with the ADA guidelines aren’t just great for keeping your company out of hot water, it could drastically increase the appeal and overall accessibility.
If a user has difficulty seeing certain colors, the ability to change a website’s contrast or even switch it to black and white would be a complete game-changer. Alternatively, if one could increase the font size or typeface with a click of a button, this could greatly increase the reach of that content (especially because it’s surprisingly common for individuals to struggle with reading the small font on webpages). These changes are small, but don’t you think you could convert more users into customers/clients if they could take in your information more easily?
Recent data has shown that an estimated 20% of users benefit from the accessibility add-ons regardless of if they have a disability or not. This can be due to an improved layout or design or even due to clearer writing.
If a website is operating within or selling a product that fits a specific niche, chances are the general public knows little to nothing about it. If the site is spitting out big words and professional jargon, it can be extremely daunting and confusing to most web surfers. An ADA compliant site would have definitions for all those big words and would break it down in a way that’s easier to digest. This ease of understanding will have your site generating more leads than ever before!
At Kodeak, we always consider your target demographic audience before the web design process even begins. If the business’s target audience leans more to the elderly, a group that may suffer from ailments such as poor eyesight, we would use more primary colors and bigger easier to read font types as a default. This may be more difficult to figure out in scenarios where the demographic is split, but this is where ADA compliance services like AccessiBe come in handy.
ADA compliance services like AccessiBe make it so you don’t have to worry about the possibility of facing a lawsuit all while saving you money. This type of service doesn’t require any alterations of the web site’s code or structure and has an easy to use interface for users that may need assistance getting through your website. With an ADA compliance service like AccessiBe, you can keep the general feel and design of your site without excluding anyone who may normally have issues viewing your content.
Am I in ADA Website Compliance?
The Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) outlines ADA website compliance through the following principles:
- The site includes “text alternatives” for other types of content like images or videos
- The site has an intuitive UI
- Text can be interacted with
- website can be navigated through keyboard commands
- No flashing content
- The site is easy to navigate
- Language is well defined
- Foreign words, abbreviation, specific jargon is always explained
- All elements (links, videos, etc.) perform as they are expected to
- The site is compatible and free of any major errors in coding
- The site should be complex and advanced enough that it should remain relevant even with newer devices
You can take the time to update your website to be ADA compliant manually or you can add an automated program to do it for you. But either way, though it may take some time or have a small fee, doing so could save your company, business, or yourself a lawsuit. ADA website guidelines improve a website’s accessibility, and in adhering to their terms, one can even increase a site’s overall appeal and reach a greater and wider audience with its content.
If you would like more information on how to get your website in compliance with ADA guidelines, feel free to reach out and we can help steer you in the right direction!