Did you know that by not following ADA website guidelines you could potentially be exposing yourself to a lawsuit? Though this is uncommon, there are reported cases of companies being sued for anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000+. Read on to learn more about how you can protect your business from potential lawsuits and how we can help you prepare.
For businesses, having an effective website is more important than ever. Businesses around the world use websites to transcend geographical boundaries and cater to an international audience. Your professional website can also help you gain a competitive edge in your industry. One thing that is becoming an increasingly important factor is the importance of following ADA website guidelines.
What is ADA and an ADA-Accessible Website?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits any discrimination on the basis of a disability in the activities at places of public accommodation such as offices, movie theaters, and restaurants. Courts around the country now consider websites as places of public accommodation.
Websites that follow the ADA guidelines are accessible to everyone including people with disabilities ranging from vision-impaired to hearing-impaired and more. If users with disabilities face challenges navigating your website, accessing content, or engaging with different elements, you could inadvertently find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
How Do Courts Assess that a Website is Accessible?
When determining whether a website is accessible, courts around the country use Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as the standard. The WCAG consists of certain requirements. The more requirements that your website is able to fulfill the more accessible it is going to be for all parties.
How Can You Ensure that Your Website Follows ADA Guidelines?
Unfortunately, there is no exact answer to this question as there is no web accessibility law concerning businesses in the U.S. That said, websites are usually considered to be in conformity with ADA guidelines if they fulfill the requirements below.
People with disabilities may sometimes be unable to interact with many normal website features. A website must incorporate alternatives such as:
- Alt-text (as an alternative to images and non-text content)
- Subtitles for videos with sound (audiovisuals) and closed captions for live video presentations
- Transcripts for videos and audio files
- Videos with audio description (as an alternative to videos)
To help users with disabilities avoid challenges while navigating your website, make sure that:
- Functions and content on your website are completely accessible by keyboard only
- Users have the option to adjust or turn off time limits, if any
- Movable content or content that blinks can be stopped, hidden, or paused
- There is a skip to content or skip navigation button that can be used to go directly to main content
- Webpages do not have any element that flashes more than three times every second
Follow these tips to ensure your website content is understandable:
- Use a unique and descriptive title for every webpage
- Provide multiple ways to access pages and information on your website
- Provide a logical navigation sequence
- Use descriptive headings and labels
- Use proper markup techniques to structure your content
- Provide your users the option to stop, pause or mute audio
- Maintain color contrast between text and backgrounds
- Provide your users the option to resize text up to 200 percent. This should not come at the cost of readability or functionality
Designing a website that conforms to ADA guidelines takes some doing as many audits need to be manual. There is no automated software to find and fix all of the issues on your website. If you saw one out there, it’s a scam. Beware! Our team at WSI Smart Marketing can help you get one step closer to your goal of making your website available to everyone by incorporating user-friendly features for your users with disabilities. We are a Santa Rosa-based SEO company with a professional team of digital marketing experts. Our professionalism and expertise coupled with our burning desire to excel, give us an edge in the highly competitive digital landscape. If you’re wondering if your website is ADA accessible (and it’s most likely not), we can audit your site and provide a bid.
Call us at 707-843-3714 to get started on making your website ADA accessibility!