ADA Compliance: What you need to know

Offering an equal opportunity for everyone to experience the products and services your business offers is significant. An ADA compliant website also prevents lawsuits and potential government action.

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What is ADA?

The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990 and originally pertained to physical locations. The goal of this act was to provide equal experience to all people by requiring establishments to provide those with disabilities easy access throughout a business.

The ADA began to include websites in 2016. Commercial businesses with non-compliant websites have become targets of lawsuits. Hotels, restaurants, and retail shops have become the most common types of businesses targeted by these lawsuits.

Changes to ADA Website Compliance

Lawsuits for ADA compliance increased by 177% between 2017-2018. There were over 2,200 cases filed in 2018; up from 814 in 2017. Florida and New York had the highest levels of lawsuits for non-compliance.

Issues involving websites, documents, and software programs were found to affect government employees and the public. Because of these issues, in 2018, 508 standards were updated to require government agencies and their contractors to create web content that is accessible to all users.

WCAG 1.0 & 2.0 were also outdated and required several changes. The most current version is WCAG 2.1. It released in mid-2018 and covers guidelines regarding web-connected technologies, mobile devices, and tablets.

Revisions to both section 508 and the WCAG were made to eliminate discrimination towards individuals with disabilities.

Why is ADA important?

As a business, you want consumers to access what you have to offer easily. The ADA’s primary goal is to offer the same experience to everyone; taking away any barriers for people with disabilities.

Your business should be inviting to everyone whether it’s a physical location or your website.

An ADA compliant site meets WCAG website guidelines and is user-friendly to all.

Do I need to be compliant?

Here are a few questions to find out if you need to be compliant.

  1. Are you a government agency?
  2. Does your business benefit the public?
  3. Are you a private employer with 15 or more employees?

Your website should be ADA compliant if you answered “yes” to any of the above questions.

Whether it’s the law or not, your goal should be to offer a struggle-free experience to all your users. Not only will this avoid legal issues, but shows you care about all your visitors.

How can I tell if my website is ADA compliant?

According to the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines, website content must be:

  • Robust
  • Understandable
  • Operable
  • Perceivable

The only way to ensure your site is fully compliant with guidelines is to use the technology those with visual impairments use. If you have video on your website, you should ensure that all video has captions for the hearing impaired.

We provide free website accessibility audits for small and medium size businesses.

Not concerned with pressing actions or don’t have the budget for an in-depth audit? Here are some free tools that will help you spot problem areas on your website.

Do you have additional questions about website compliance and accessibility? Feel free to contact us for a consultation.

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