Designing a fully functional website for your company is not only about getting the UI/UX right and focusing on the design elements. While the visuals and aesthetics make up for prerequisites, it is absolute foolishness to not abide by the legal framework that exists in the world of the web. Along with all these necessary aspects, every website has to follow certain legal guidelines for operation. And one such guideline to be followed by websites is ADA compliance. Here’s a complete account of what ADA compliance is and what it means for your business.
What Exactly Is ADA Compliance?
Passed in 1990, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is all about implementing standards that prohibit discrimination against those with disabilities, ensuring they have the same rights and opportunities as those without. The standards state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance means that every electronic technology and information – including your website – has to be accessible to the ones with disabilities.
Now, ADA compliance is typically confused with 508 compliance. But ADA compliance is different in the way that it is more like a civil law mandating the inclusion of every individual, especially the disabled, in every area of public life. It includes transportation, schools, workplaces, and all other places that are usable to the general public. Though 508 and ADA have the same aim, 508 Standards only apply to federal procurements. Also, these two compliance rules work with the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). However, the WCAG contains a complete set of formal guidelines to enhance accessibility.
Do You Need To Follow ADA Guidelines?
If every public sphere has to adhere to the ADA compliance guidelines, does that include your website too? And the answer is ‘Yes’. As ADA is applicable to all electronic tech and information, i.e., the internet and websites, ADA compliance is basically applicable to every business. As such, a web development services company working on all their websites needs to make sure that it’s ADA compliant. Specifically, ADA compliance is applicable to the given arenas:
- Private organizations employing fifteen employees or more
- Local and state government organizations
- Organizations working for the public benefit (i.e., schools, public transportation, restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, hotels, accountant offices, banks, law offices, gyms, social service centers, healthcare providers, Postal Service, and the likes)
- Business places that are held as places of public accommodation
In addition to all that mentioned above, every website needs to be ADA compliant and all-inclusive.
What if your website is not ADA compliant?
In a majority of cases, when the ADA compliance guidelines aren’t met, it isn’t intentional. But that doesn’t really matter because when your site is not ADA compliant, you risk facing a huge lawsuit.
Even by unintentionally skipping any of the accessibility guidelines, you might need to pay thousands of dollars to the authorities because your website is not accessible. Any top UI/UX design agency across the USA is well-aware of this.
And that’s not all! You also face the risk of losing out on customers because your website isn’t accessible to the ones with disabilities. As per the US Census Bureau, there are millions of disabled people.
How Can You Make Your Website ADA Compliant: A Brief Overview
So, the question you must be asking now is: how do I make my website ADA compliant? The foremost recommendation you will get from everyone onboard is that you need to follow the WCAG 2.0 standards. Now, the WCAG 2.0 regulations work as per a three-tiered grading mechanism:
- Level A – The website is just accessible to some users
- Level AA – The website is accessible to almost all users
- Level AAA – The website is accessible to all users
Usually, meeting Level AA compliance guidelines is good enough for a website. But the best thing you can do is to rebuild (or build) the site to the completely compliant so that no one is left out.
Here’s breaking down the three core principles of the WCAG 2.0 standards for ADA compliance:
Users should get to perceive all the details that come on the website. It includes things like videos, images, texts, and so on.
Users should get to navigate the website easily. All users should get to use each feature you have, like site tools.
Apart from viewing your site and navigating through it, the users also have to understand what they are listening to, reading, and so on.
It is 2022. And websites are more of a thing for digital marketers than for monotonous administrators. The current tech enthusiasts are all rooting for assistive technology and web/mobile design that isn’t disabled-friendly and makes using devices impossible or difficult to use is a big ‘No’. If yours is a web agency, you need to keep ADA title III requirements at the back of your agency ethics.
When your web designing agency is working for a client on their respective website and they get sued for having a non-accessible website, it is a huge failure at your end. Not only is the client losing money and probably letting go of your agency as a vendor, but your own reputation is also at stake and that equals lost business. Obviously, your agency is failing to comply with legislation and is going to get sued for it!
And that’s all! You can now talk to your web development company to know more about how to make your site ADA compliant. As you can understand by now, ADA compliance is definitely not a step that you can skip. It is absolutely non-negotiable when it comes to keeping your business safe from ADA-related web accessibility lawsuits. As an entity operating in the social realm, it is more of self-realization rather than a lawful obligation to provide accessibility solutions to customers with disabilities for your website and other web offerings.