Almost a quarter of adults in the United States live with a disability. As a business owner, you want internet users with different abilities to access your website. This isn’t just about the law, but being ADA compliant is the right thing to do. So whether you’re a local or state government agency, a private employer with over 15 employees or your business operates for the public’s benefit, you need to observe the ADA guidelines. Failing to comply with ADA requirements leaves your business open to multiple lawsuits. Here are five things to know about the ADA website accessibility compliance.
ADA website compliance and website accessibility
These two terms are closely related but have different applications. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is the law that rules accessibility in the U.S. Although it doesn’t state anything about websites, the American courts have interpreted Title III of the law to apply to all websites. On the other hand, website accessibility refers to the process of developing your website so it can be easily accessible to individuals with disabilities.
But how do you make your website accessible? This is a critical question and can sometimes seem overwhelming. However, with great resources like Hubspot accessibility software, you can make your website accessible to people with disabilities so they can easily navigate your site and access content efficiently.
ADA Compliance for Websites Is the Law
If your website isn’t accessible to persons with disabilities, your company is subject to a lawsuit. This applies to all kinds of disabilities, especially those with vision problems that require screen readers to access content on your website. Some recommendations to be ADA compliant include making your website robust, perceivable, understandable, and operable for easy navigation.
One way to do this is by using the VPAT, or voluntary product accessibility template, which is a document that outlines how accessible the product or service is to those with disabilities. It can help you assess and understand if your website, mobile app, software program, or another type of technology meets the standards outlined in ADA compliance laws. Additionally, having an up-to-date VPAT will help you stay on top of any changes in regulations.
E-commerce and Healthcare are Among the Most Sued Sectors
Companies that sell online and medical products are the most sued over ADA compliance. The Healthcare Weekly provides a list of healthcare institutions that received recent lawsuits for being ADA non-compliant. Some of these companies include Tenet Healthcare, sued for lack of screen readers, WellPoint, Inc., a health insurance firm sued by two visually challenged employees and HCA Holdings, Inc. that was sued for lack of screen readers.
Companies Need to Follow 61 Guidelines, also Called WCAG 2.0
For your website to comply with ADA requirements, it needs to observe these 61 guidelines and tackle common obstacles to accessibility. Many legal guidelines require your website to provide readable text, descriptive language, screen readers, and alternative text. Fortunately, many software applications can help crawl your website and identify potential issues, such as the lighthouse.
ADA Website Compliance Tips
Besides obtaining the 61 WCAG ADA compliance guidelines, there are effective tips to make your website more accessible. These may include using colors, fonts, and text size for different content, ensure your website is readable by a screen-reader and incorporating closed caption for videos.
The internet has become an essential part of our lives and is a great way to shop, get news, and connect with the rest of the world.