Many users have questions about ADA compliance online, and with a good reason. The legal terminology can be muddied unless you go searching around the Internet. Even the official government website is no help.
We have compiled the top five questions about web compliance, and hope to educate you further. Every website should get the chance to learn about accommodation, and how to implement it into coding, text, and visuals accordingly.
ADA website compliance means making sure that your website follows the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and can accommodate online users with disabilities. You have to make sure your site can work with screen readers and other tools for accommodation. In short, it means making sure that visually impaired users can follow your images or videos, that deaf users have text accompaniment, and so on and so forth.
The Web Content Access Guidelines (WCAG) are an international standard of guidelines that most courts use when viewing accommodation and ADA violations. They measure accommodation on three tiers: A, AA, and AAA. A is the lowest tier, and doesn’t match basic ADA standards; AAA is the highest tier and the most costly to implement.
For legal reasons, you don’t want an individual or law firm to send you a cease & desist letter or summons to court. Though some of these letters count as extortion if they ask for financial compensation, it would place undue stress on your business. The worst-case scenario would be if you had to
In other practical terms, ADA compliance means you can gain customers who would otherwise not have access to your products or services. You can deliver your wares, earn income, and prove your worth in the marketplace.
For basic human decency, you want to treat people with disabilities the way everyone should be treated: equally. We already have multiple horror stories of people with disabilities who cannot find ramps at train or bus stations, who get accused of faking their pain, and worse.
An ADA violation is when a facility or website blocks access to users, either to the literal location or to products or services. In real life, one example would be storefronts only having stairs and no ramp or elevator, forcing a person using a wheelchair to use the stairs and potentially injure themselves.
Online, an ADA violation may be not providing alt text for images, so that a screen reader can’t read them aloud. Another may be having flashing images that risk epilepsy, without a warning or option to turn off the image. There will be clear evidence.
Yes. We can argue about the grey area, but the ADA does apply to most websites. Many lawsuits related to website compliance have since concerned universities and other businesses. Even Beyonce faced court summons for her ticket-selling website lacking accommodation.
Your website for all intents and purposes is a public place and storefront. The ADA was originally meant to cover physical storefronts, institutions, and government agencies, but has since extended to the Internet. If you face a lawsuit, the court is more likely than not to side with the plaintiff than with you about compliance. It’s better to err on the side of caution.
Conduct an audit, using the WCAG tiers as your framework. Many web tools can help you with doing that, or you can consult a firm like us to do a more detailed check.
There are also little changes you can make: add “alt text” tags to images, keep your font legible and at a reasonable size (nothing below size 10) and make sure to have a decent color contrast between text and background. When writing advertising copy, focus on clarity, and ensure it makes sense when one reads it aloud.
At Site Compliance, we know all the ins and outs of complying with the ADA. Our experts will help you determine if you want to reach the AA or AAA tier, and what budget will be appropriate for the occasion.
Contact us today to find out more! Let’s get your website up to speed, and accommodating all the users.