What is an ADA Compliant Website, and Why is it Important for Your Business?
The ADA or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, including physical and mental conditions. It covers several areas, including, but not limited to, transportation, employment, public accommodations, and communications. It applies to things like adding braille to public signages or making buildings accessible by wheelchair. Although the law was written way back, it is now being applied to websites.
What is ADA compliance for websites?
ADA compliance requires businesses and site owners to have the necessary standards to make sure their websites are accessible to everyone. Its purpose is to ensure that all websites provide reasonable access for people with disabilities such as mobility issues or vision impairment. People with disabilities, especially visually impaired users, often use screen readers or other devices to help them browse websites and use their features.
Why does ADA compliance for your website matter?
We all want our potential customers, including those with disabilities, to use our website. It's not only important for building a good relationship and making a great first impression – there are consequences and legal issues associated with it as well. ADA-compliant websites are becoming important because businesses are getting sued for undermining the necessary standards. Over the past few years, there has been a surge of website accessibility lawsuits. They gained national attention when the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision against Domino's Pizza in 2019 because a visually impaired customer could not order pizza from their website despite using a screen reader. According to the 2020 web Accessibility Annual Report, 98% of U.S.-based web pages fail to pass web accessibility standards.
How does ADA compliance for websites work?
While the ADA doesn't have specific rules on what makes a website compliant, the worldwide web consortium has created guidelines. Some examples are the following:
Color contrast: Make sure the text and background contrast is high enough to make it readable.
Font size and readability: See that the fonts you used are large enough to read. It is best to pick a simple font over a complex one.
Form field labels: Provide labels to identify all form controls, including checkboxes, text fields, and drop-down menus.
Descriptive labels on images and buttons: Add descriptions in the code of your photos and buttons so that a screen reader can process what's on your page. A picture with a description like "home inspector inspecting a house" is much better than a picture with a description that just says "header image."
There are many other things your web designer or developer should consider for your website to be more accessible and ADA compliant. These include addressing navigation issues and organizing heading tags. Proper coding and design make it possible for screen readers and other devices to work on your website.
The bottom line is, if your website is not ADA-compliant, you could be setting yourself up for potential lawsuits and hefty fines. ADA compliance is a serious issue that businesses and website owners can't afford to ignore.
NOTE: Please know, at this time, not all websites need to be ADA Compliant. Websites that should comply are local, county, state, and federal government websites. Also, the websites of businesses that rely on the public for their benefit, including privately run companies that have a website and 15+ employees. That's the way it is currently, but what if that changes? You would need to update your website at that time. One day, it could be a requirement that if you have a website, it, no matter what type of business, it must be ADA Compliant. Just something to think about.
Do you want your website to be ADA Compliant? We can help. Contact Us today at 706-253-2818