The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was developed in 1990 to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as anyone else. While this act was initially created for physical locations, it was recently expanded into website accessibility.
This new ADA ruling, called Title III, states that “places of public accommodation” are required by law to be accessible to people who have disabilities that affect their hearing, vision or physical capacities.
If you’re not sure about the ins and outs of an ADA-compliant website and want to learn more about the benefits of having one, this is a great place to start!
What Exactly is ADA Compliance for Websites?
For any website to be ADA compliant, it needs to be accessible to anyone with or without disabilities. While there are plenty of resources that get into the in-depth details about ADA compliance for the Internet, in short, anyone and everyone should be able to enjoy the “full and equal” use of your website. This means users can access content, navigate around your website, engage with different elements, and more.
Benefits of an ADA-Compliant Website
- Increase your target audience: You have the opportunity to expand your reach to millions of potential customers if your website is ADA compliant. Almost 20% of the U.S. population has a disability, and if you can offer them a seamless user experience, you will win them over.
- Improve your organic SEO: If your site meets the web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG), you could see a huge bump in your organic SEO. This is due to your site meeting the needs of not only the users, but search engines and screen readers too.
- Build your online reputation: The fact that your website is ADA compliant will speak volumes to your online reputation. Both users and search engines will be grateful that you took the effort to do this, and it will give your business a fresh, positive reputation.
- Better user experience: As you can tell by the previous points, ADA-compliant websites will deliver a much more seamless user experience for everyone, disabled or not. Creating an easy-to-use website will only do great things for your online presence.
What Would Happen if Your Website is Not Compliant
While this has become an important thing to consider with your websites, technically, there are no ADA regulations that lead to punishment for a website that’s not compliant. However, there have been a handful of companies who have had to pay a pretty penny because of their lack of ADA compliance. For example, Dominos lost a lawsuit against a blind man who couldn’t order for their website, which cost them close to $250,000.
While that is a very extreme situation, you could still get hit with some sort of legal issues if your site doesn’t make the effort to become ADA compliant.
The Easiest Way to Make Your Site ADA Compliant
According to the WCAG, your website must be:
Some simple best practices you can keep in mind for your website are the following:
- Add informative alt text to all images
- Include transcripts and captions for your videos
- Stay away from mouse-only interaction with your website elements
The easiest way to make sure your site meets the requirements is by using a web accessibility checker like this one (this is not free, but it checks your whole website instead of one page like this one). While there are other ones out there, this will give you a good idea about where your website currently stands and how you can improve it.
If you have any questions about ADA website compliance, get ahold of the GreenMellen team today!