The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been around for a while. Among other things, it states that businesses need to make their products, services and facilities available to the disabled public. Naturally, this includes websites and electronic media. The portion of the act regarding websites has been recently brought to attention thanks to a trial in Florida. One blind man filed over 70 lawsuits claiming that various company websites were inaccessible to him and therefore breaking the ADA. Understandably, this had many business owners worried – should they make sure that their sites are also compliant with the ADA? Here are some basics to help you better understand what ADA means for websites and businesses, and what you should do to make sure you obey the law and keep your customers satisfied.
What is an ADA-compliant website?
A site that is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act is accessible to people with different types of disabilities. Primarily, this includes the deaf, blind and people with mobility issues. A site that is compliant can be accessed easily by the disabled.
Why should I make my site ADA-compliant?
There are many benefits to having an ADA-compliant website. First and foremost, you will be in line with the ADA. This is crucial if you represent a government agency or government contractor. Furthermore, you will open up your business to more potential clients. Perhaps most importantly, you will limit liability and decrease possibilities of possible lawsuits in the long run. Finally, you will be setting a good example for other businesses to follow.
How do I make an ADA-compliant website?
If you already have a website, you will have to do some modifications. However, if you still don’t have a website, good news. You can implement most of these requirements in the site-building process and ensure your site is accessible for people with disabilities from the start.
In order to check your current site for accessibility, you can go through the accessibility checklist created by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The checklist includes many entries, and most of them relate to how images and video are shown on your site. For example, all graphics on your site must have an alt tag, accurately describing the image contents. You should not embed videos – you need to have external links for videos instead. Videos must have captions and available transcripts. If there’s a plugin necessary for people with disabilities to view your site, provide a download link for the plugin. In general, it’s a list of technical requirements that your website developers and designers should be familiar with.
If you want to check where your current website stands in regard to accessibility, you can analyze it using the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool.
Do I need an ADA-compliant website?
The general consensus currently is that any business which is a “public accommodation” needs to be ADA compliant. “Public accommodation” is a broad term and one can interpret it in various ways. However, it mostly entails retail businesses and business-to-customer arrangements. To keep it simple – if your website gets lots of visits daily by users and potential customers (i.e. the general public), going ADA-compliant is a good idea. As mentioned earlier, if you don’t already have a website, it should be much easier to implement these changes than with an existing website. If you already have a website, you need to talk to your website developer and see how much time and resources it would take to make your site ADA-compliant.
If you’re thinking about getting yourself an ADA-compliant website, you need a team of professionals on your side. TechBear offers top-quality website design and maintenance with excellent pricing. If want to open up to more clients and make your site compliant with current legislation, TechBear is the right choice for you. Reach out to us today – let’s transform your web presence for the better.