The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that people that are suffering from a disability get the same opportunities as everyone else. Businesses, websites and even mobile apps must design their platforms and services to be accessible for people with visual, hearing and other physical difficulties.
If you don’t have ADA compliance, it’s possible that people will refuse to do business with you, leading to reduced sales and a loss of credibility.
This article will cover what ADA compliance means and discuss the reasons why you will benefit. So, if you or your business partners are unsure about your organization’s status, continue reading to learn why you should be ADA compliant.
What ADA Compliance Means
ADA falls under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Compliance is categorized into three levels: A, AA and AAA. The current level of expected compliance for websites is WCAF 2.0 Level AA.
ADA compliance ensures that no one can be discriminated against based on their abilities and be able to access and enjoy all the features of a website. This covers four parameters for website testing: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.
By being ADA compliant, your business can benefit from an enhanced reputation, better usability, integrating a cost-effective solution and avoid facing legal action.
Here is how each factor can improve the way your business interacts with the world and a few tips and examples of how you can cater to the ADA’s requirements.
ADA compliance can help your reputation. This is because it makes your website and services more accessible to a wider audience.
Think about it this way.
If your business is ADA compliant and your competitors are not, you are opening the door for new customers to come through, of which your competitors are unable to do. They will have gone to a number of websites and quickly leave because they are not getting the service and access their disabilities require.
On the other hand, they will arrive at your website and be satisfied that you have catered to their needs, developing trust in your brand.
This will encourage these new customers to share their experience with you with their friends and colleagues through referrals and across social media, potentially providing even more leads due to an increased reputation.
ADA compliance makes your business stand out from the rest.
Websites that are easy to operate and navigate improves customer experience. Because your website and other platforms are in line with the guidelines, customers will be able to find the value from your content, increasing conversions.
By being ADA compliant, you ensure you do not miss out on the millions of people that are affected by a disability. If they are interested in your products but aren’t able to navigate to the contact or purchase pages, they will move to a competitor that can offer the usability they require.
For example, for users that have difficulty with operating a mouse for navigation, they will rely on using their keyboards to move around the website. If they can interact with the content and various call to actions with the use of their keyboard, they are easier to satisfy and convince that your business is one they want to be associated with.
There is also the need for applying alt text to images in case the viewer has difficulty making it out. The description ensures they can follow how it applies to that section of the page.
Many established brands like Nike and Amazon, have been hit with large penalties because they failed to comply. While the size of the fines for these brands is likely to be larger than most organizations, they can still be considerable. Even Beyonce has been affected, meaning that all industries must apply these regulations to their services and platforms.
If your website is not ADA compliant, it could cause a lot of avoidable financial stress. Digital Authority Partners report that if your website is not ADA compliant, you risk fines of up to $75,000 for the first offence alone.
Furthermore, it costs a lot more to fix any ADA compliance mistakes once the website has been fully developed. Depending on the size of your business, this could cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Instead of paying someone to make these changes, having them integrated into the website in the first place can prevent paying out on potential fines and fixes later down the line.
Therefore, it is safe to say that being ADA compliant is a cost-effective solution.
Avoid Being Sued
While the above shows that businesses can be fined for not complying with ADA regulations, there is also the possibility of being sued. Plus, having your organization in the news for being subject to a lawsuit for not catering to all is bad press and could damage reputation.
According to this report on ADA compliance for healthcare websites, there were more than 5,000 ADA lawsuits filed in US federal courts in the first half of 2018 alone. It also predicts that 2019 is going to see an increased number of lawsuits filed as websites face more pressure to provide equal opportunities.
While existing content published before January 18 of 2018 is ‘exempt’ from these regulations, any content published or altered after this date must be compliant.
It is advised that you make the necessary changes to pages published on or after January 18 2018 and avoid lawsuits being filed.
For example, review all your website’s styles and elements and ensure that all users can use them without a problem. This includes headings, subheadings and internal and external links.
By making sure that your website follows the ADA and complies with the WCAG, your business can enjoy the benefits of an enhanced reputation, better usability, the integration of a cost-effective solution and avoid facing legal action.
Be sure to contact an ADA specialist if you are unsure that your existing systems are complying with the regulations.
This article is contributed by Codrin Arsene, CEO @ Digital Authority Partners
Article Submitted By Community Writer