Are you thinking about making your site an Americans with Disability Act (ADA) complaint website? Three fundamental reasons establish, without a doubt, that ADA compliance makes sense. It’s a formidable combination of ethical, legal, and business benefit arguments.
The level of awareness among organizations regarding ADA website compliance varies widely. Some are proactive and continuously maintain their site compliance, while others have never even heard of the issue. Let’s take a closer look.
The Ethical Perspective
Before we get into exactly what ADA website compliance means, it helps to unpack the reasoning behind it. Anyone who owns a brick and mortar business understands the importance of providing access to individuals with disabilities.
If a person has physical limitations, they should be allowed access to any place open to the public. In the physical realm, simple modifications, like ramps, automatic doors, and handrails can make a huge difference.
In the digital space, the same principles apply. What if someone can’t use a traditional keyboard or mouse due to physical disability? Or what about those with blindness? Should they be excluded from using online resources?
Just like in the physical world, in order to offer equal opportunities to everyone, an ADA compliant website makes sense.
What is an ADA Compliant Website?
Now here’s the tricky part. The Americans With Disability Act (ADA) does not offer specific guidance regarding website compliance. Even though the ADA has not published formal guidelines, lawsuits have appeared from people claiming that websites fail to accommodate persons with disabilities. For example, Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment and Domino’s Pizza are well-known brands being sued by visually impaired persons.
While the ADA does not provide established guidelines, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), do offer written standards to make online content more accessible. In a nutshell, to meet WCAG standards, a website must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
If your company meets WCAG standards, you’re likely to be in compliance with the ADA as well. You can read about the details of WCAG 2.1 here.
The Legal Risk
As we’ve already mentioned, lawsuits against organizations and businesses regarding website access have multiplied dramatically. Some say this trend is due to opportunistic lawyers while others see it as a legitimate discrimination issue.
The hard reality is that online resources are frequently inaccessible to persons with disabilities, and some will exercise their right to complain about it. A personal opinion won’t shield any brand from the possibility of getting sued. The best strategy, therefore, is to make your website ADA compliant and avoid the legal risk.
The savvy organization or company leader sees a silver lining behind the online access debate. If people can’t access your website, they can’t access your goods or services either. It’s like locking your doors to an entire audience sector.
Instead of waiting for complaints to arise, why not be proactive? While it may be complex to the untrained, affordable services exist to establish ADA website compliance. In a manner of speaking, it could even fall under a brand’s marketing budget.
National and global and demographics reveal a rapidly growing population of senior adults. This means more people will be living with disabilities, such as vision impairment. According to the CDC, more than 3.4 million (3%) Americans aged 40 years and older are either legally blind or are visually impaired.
If your website eliminates access obstacles, you’ll capture more engagement and business opportunities.
It Makes Good Sense
Nobody wants to shut people out of online public spaces. So instead of thinking of it as an inconvenience, consider it an opportunity. Not only can you be at peace with ethical questions, but you’ll also avoid risk and increase your audience reach. In the end, having an ADA compliant website is a no-brainer.
Looking for an easy-to-deploy, affordable solution to website compliance? Get in touch with Adally now.