Washington Area Businesses Must Have ADA Compliant Websites
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures equal accessibility for persons with disabilities in commercial premises. In addition, ADA regulates online spaces by compelling businesses to improve accessibility for all internet users. Complying with these requirements is a critical part of developing a website or app for your Washington area business.
ADA compliance ensures easy access to commercial web platforms for persons living with disabilities. A website must adhere to guidelines stipulated in 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. Compliance requirements apply to companies with a minimum of 15 workers and operate for more than 19 weeks annually.
Statistics show that approximately 54 percent of all disabled American adults access the internet every day. Hence, the need to improve the accessibility of your company’s website. According to a United Nations Convention covering disabled persons’ rights, accessibility is a crucial aspect of achieving basic human rights for all.
The failure to comply with ADA regulations can lead to legal ramifications for your business. Reports show that internet users filed more than 2,000 lawsuits against non-compliant companies in 2018. The best part is that ADA compliance comes with many benefits.
Complying with the regulations comes with wide-ranging benefits for your business. You avoid unwanted lawsuits and penalties. On the other hand, an accessible website helps increase the number of visitors to your site. More users will find it easier to navigate the web pages without any issues.
To avoid penalties, ensure that your company’s website is at least grade A compliant. The highest level of compliance applicable to the ADA standards for website accessibility is grade AAA rating. These requirements were initially missing from the ADA text since President George H. W. Bush signed it into law in 1990. At the time, the use of information technology had not become widespread.
Many leading brands faced lawsuits and penalties due to non-compliance. The safe harbor clause allows website content published before January 18, 2018, to remain unchanged. However, content posted after that date must comply to avoid legal ramifications.
Protect Your Organization’s Reputation
ADA compliance is a surefire way to protect your company’s reputation. Non-compliance can lead to lawsuits and penalties that can damage the public’s perception of your brand due to bad press. It becomes easier for customers and other stakeholders to lose confidence in your business owing to the negative publicity.
The failure to comply may attract unfavorable online customer reviews, which undermine the brand’s appeal. Customers who fail to access your site can feel disappointed and post negative feedback. On the contrary, if you meet ADA compliance requirements, your organization can attract more visitors, positive feedback, and gain a competitive advantage in your sector.
Increase Your Site’s Target Audience
Non-compliance undermines your ability to maximize traffic to your website. You could attract multitudes of new visitors and potential clients by merely improving the accessibility of the site. In the United States, approximately 50 million people live with disabilities, which translates to roughly 19 percent of the population. A significant portion of the disabled people may be interested in your products or services.
Your company can tap into this demographic by ensuring that web pages cater to their needs. It is vital to enhance keyboard accessibility and the readability of content on the website. Easy navigation for all users ensures a favorable experience for site visitors. If visitors experience difficulties accessing various parts of your company’s website, they may divert to your competitors.
For instance, potential customers with hearing problems can find it challenging to learn about products or services if video content lacks captions. Likewise, images posted on the site should come with alternate text to allow screen reading tools to provide audio descriptions for the blind. The absence of these elements compromises site visitors’ user experience, thus leading to non-compliance with ADA requirements.
Improve SEO and Website Usability
ADA compliance makes it easier to improve search engine optimization (SEO) and website usability. In turn, your customers will not divert to competitors’ websites. A navigable website with optimal SEO attracts more visitors via search engines, which improves your brand’s exposure on the internet. Visitors will find the right information quickly and easily.
As a result, more people will recommend your brand to their acquaintances. Meanwhile, search engine crawlers are increasingly taking account of human intention. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines emphasize accessibility to screen readers, which boosts web pages’ appeal to both users and search engines. Thus, focus on including video transcripts, meta tags, and alternative image text.
Complying with ADA regulations is undoubtedly a prudent move capable of keeping your firm out of legal trouble. Additionally, your organization benefits from increased website traffic, positive feedback from satisfied customers, and improved SEO.
For this reason, consider using high contrast colors and a content management system like WordPress, which comes with accessibility recommendations. Conversely, avoid using animated GIFs and Captcha as these elements undermine usability for persons with disabilities.