You may be thinking “What does the ADA have to with my website”, and it’s a fair question. Let’s start by establishing what the ADA stands for.
“American with Disabilities Act (ADA), enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is a federal law designed to prohibit discrimination against any “qualified individual with a disability”
You may also be thinking that this does not apply to your website, but it does. Here’s why you should care about making your website ADA compliant. Firstly, it’s the right thing to do. You certainly don’t want to exclude anyone from being able to use your website because of a disability. It’s bad business and morally questionable. Secondly, you could be fined up to $75,000 dollars for a FIRST offense. Patagonia, Reebok, the NBA, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Estee Lauder, have all been sued on account of the fact that their website was not ADA compliant. If that doesn’t give you enough of a reason then I don’t know what will.
What Makes A Website ADA compliant?
According to digitalauthority.me “An ADA compliant website provides an online experience accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. This means having a site that accommodates visually impaired users, creating content suitable for screen-readers, using descriptive links, and making website actions easily accessible via a keyboard.” So if you have never even thought about some of these things then it may be time for you to assess your website and make sure that you are following some of these guidelines.
Disabilities come in a variety of different ways. You should have descriptions for all of your images for those that are visually impaired and may be using a program that reads the words on the page to them. If there is no description for your images then a visually impaired person will not be able to fully experience the website, especially if the image is important to your page. This can be easily remedied by coordinating with your web design and SEO department or contractor. It’s an easy fix and will make your website more accessible.
Another issue is that documents are often posted in a PDF format. This is problematic because it is not accessible for many programs that translate the language for visually impaired or hearing imapired visitors. When posting documents make sure you have them also posted in HTML or RTF as well as PDF. This will avoid many problems that you may run into with accessibility.
You can find more information and guidelines posted on ada.gov for any questions you may have about making your site compliant. Here’s a couple of reasons to remember why it’s important to make sure your website is ADA compliant.
- It’s the right thing to do.
- You are legally required to be compliant.
- Lost business from local, municipal, and federal government organizations.
- Lose customers with disabilities.
- Risk having to make fast changes to your website.
As always, if you have any questions about what any of these ADA regulations may mean for your website you can contact T22 Media to find out more.