Why is an ADA Compliant Website Necessary?
By Daclaud Lee, Project Manager / SEO at Archmore Business Web
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities. This includes websites that are accessible to people who are blind or deaf, or have other limitations on their ability to navigate your website using a keyboard. Failure to create an accessible website may result in lawsuits, financial liabilities and damage to your brand reputation.
When your business is ready to grow, give Archmore Business Web a call. We will ensure that your website will be ADA compliant, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on any potential customers with disabilities!
Is Your Website Accessible to All Users?
The ADA obligates businesses to ensure web content is accessible to all users. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires all businesses that operate a website to ensure their websites are accessible to the visually impaired. The ADA and Section 508, for example, require that website links be offered with descriptions, not just with text labels. And it requires that graphics be included in the website's code so they aren't downloaded only as images. You can also use alt text tags in your images to provide a description of their content or functionality. A business should also ensure that their websites are compatible with all mobile devices and screen readers.
What Does ADA Compliance Mean?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, and prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities. The ADA is a civil rights law that was created to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as others. Coverage under the ADA is extensive and applies to all sectors, from jobs and schools to transportation and public/private places open to the public.
What Does ADA Compliance Mean for Your Website?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, passed by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010, makes it illegal for web content to be inaccessible by those who are vision or hearing impaired. As part of this law, websites must meet accessibility standards that support full-text search and alternative presentation mechanisms; assistive technology; real-time captioning; etc.
Ensuring accessibility for the aging and visually impaired is an important part of digital strategy. Modern websites need to be flexible and user friendly for these groups, including those with hearing loss, who are equally as important users.
What Types of Businesses Needs to be ADA Compliant?
Businesses with at least 15 full-time employees that operate for 20 or more weeks every year are covered by the ADA. That means the entirety of the law applies, from physical considerations to digital accommodations. If your business falls under either Title I or Title III of the ADA and you do not believe you are compliant, consult with a disability lawyer to explore your options. The titles are summarized below, but for more information, please visit ada.gov.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including State and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations.
Title II applies to State and local government entities, and, in subtitle A, protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs, and activities provided by State and local government entities. Title II extends the prohibition on discrimination established by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 794, to all activities of State and local governments regardless of whether these entities receive Federal financial assistance.
Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreation facilities, and doctors' offices) and requires newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation—as well as commercial facilities (privately owned, nonresidential facilities such as factories, warehouses, or office buildings)—to comply with the ADA Standards.
How to develop an ADA-compliant website
Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are international standards for making websites accessible to people with disabilities. These guidelines include a technical checklist and numerous examples of how to make your website accessible.
Here are some bare minimum tips to make your website ADA compliant.
- Alt Tags for images, videos and audio files
- Text Transcriptions for video and audio content
- Make sure the text is readable in proper HTML format
What Are The Consequences of a Non ADA Compliant Website?
Failing to comply with ADA requirements can have serious legal and financial consequences. Many businesses have found themselves vulnerable to ADA lawsuits, as accessibility issues are not always obvious. Engelhardt says that costs from an ADA lawsuit can add up quickly, with damages awarded to the plaintiff that average $61,000.
ADA compliance is critical to your website’s business success. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities. This includes websites that are accessible to people who are blind or deaf, or have other limitations on their ability to navigate your website using a keyboard. Failure to create an accessible website may result in lawsuits, financial liabilities and damage to your brand reputation.
Who Has Been Sued for Not Being ADA Compliant?
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation.
Just because the ADA law doesn't require your business to be wheelchair accessible, does mean you are exempt from lawsuits related to the inability of your facility or products to accommodate people with disabilities. In fact, failure to comply could be considered a violation of the law and result in award damages and attorney fees being awarded against your business. Here is a list of several big named companies who have had lawsuits against them for not being ADA compliant.
- Blue Apron
- Five Guys Burgers and Fries
- Beyonce Knowles (Parks Entertainment)
- Domino's Pizza
- Burger King
- Fox News Network
Protect Your Business
What if you were sued for your website not being ADA compliant? The truth is, if you don't take action to make sure that your website is ADA compliant and you have visitors with disabilities, it could happen. Protect your website from lawsuits by making sure your site is easy to use for everyone.
Archmore Business Web will ensure that your website is ADA compliant! We have years of experience in this field, and a proven track record for success. Contact us today and find out how our website design service can benefit you.
By Daclaud Lee, Project Manager / SEO at Archmore Business Web
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