Web Design: Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

Dec 14, 2019 -- Posted by : Emily.Triplett

law adviceAs our world continues to move toward greater equality for all, websites are being forced to play catch up to online ADA compliance. If this is a new concept to you, don't fret. We are going to explain what an ADA compliant website involves and how a new website build can easily help your custom website meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. 

Here is a quick review of the current state of ADA requirements for any custom website: 

  • All content of the website should be accessible to anyone, regardless if they are blind, deaf, or require assistance from voice, screen readers, or other technologies. 
  • Those who are covered by the ADA include businesses that have at least 15 full-time employees during 20+ weeks of the year and/or fall under Title I or Title III. Coverage is also extended to businesses that are considered "public accommodation."
  • While website accessibility is of the upmost importance, no clear regulations have been set as of late 2019. The W3C has set a wide range of recommendations, but these are only guidelines. Still, it is highly recommended to follow the recommendations of the W3C.
  • Businesses that refuse to follow the ADA guidelines on a website build are subject to a lesser brand image, financial liabilities, and/or lawsuits. 

While the common image that comes to mind when ADA is mentioned is wheelchair ramps, service animals, Braille and other physical accommodations in public places, the digital aspects of ADA are just as important to consider. Everyone deserves to understand what is online, which is why web content must be accessible to all users. 

You may be wondering, "What does an ADA compliant website look like?" Currently, no regulations have been defined to provide expectations for what an ADA compliant website must contain. The only definition that has been outlined affects businesses under ADA Title I and ADA Title III. These businesses must provide "reasonable accessibility" to those with disabilities.  While this is a vague guideline, it is a wonderful stepping stone to create a custom website that abides by ADA regulations. Your new website build will help you avoid any damages that come from a failure to comply with ADA regulations such as lawsuits, fines, and damaged branding. 

Does My Business Need an ADA Compliant Website?

ada keyboad buttonHere's the short answer. YES.

If your business falls under ADA Title I or ADA Title III, you need an ADA compliant website. 

Businesses that have at least 15 full-time employees during any 20+ weeks of the year are covered by ADA Title I need an ADA compliant website.

Those who fall into the "public accommodation" category are covered under ADA Title III need an ADA compliant website.. Examples of these businesses include banks, public transportation, and hotels. 

ADA is more than just physical considerations. It involves digital accommodations as well. If you fall under Title I or Title III of the ADA, we can help you with your website build if you are not currently meeting the ADA regulations. Our custom website packages for an ADA compliant website are fairly priced to help you meet the needs of all of your users without breaking the bank. 

Free Website ADA Test

Lack of Clear ADA Compliant Website Regulations

When it comes to avoiding consequences for not following regulations, we want clear rules and regulations. Unfortunately, none are currently available, but there are standards and guidelines to follow. However, that doesn't mean businesses that fall under Title I or Title III are able to make excuses. Every business that falls under these titles are required to provide an accessible website that any users, regardless of their physical abilities, can access. 

When it comes to creating an ADA compliant website without a clear definition of what needs to be included, it can be difficult to start. Fortunately, Red Sneakers Mobile Marketing knows what needs to be done to provide every user with a positive experience. This will allow the ADA to see you have not only made your best efforts to accommodate all of your users, but it will also show you have a team on your side that can, and will, make changes should clear ADA compliant website guidelines become available. 

How do I create an ADA compliant website?

When it comes to creating a custom website that is ADA compliant, it's best to turn to professionals like Red Sneakers Mobile Marketing. While there are a wide range of guidelines available from W3C, specific steps need to be taken to ensure anyone can access the content of your website. 

In regards to website accessibility, anyone who has a disability that requires a specific way to navigate a website must have a way to access content. This includes those who are visually-impaired or hearing-impaired along with those who need to navigate with voice assistance, screen readers, or other technologies. 

In order for your website to be fall under ADA compliance, anyone should be able to access your website content. It doesn't matter if they need assistive technologies or not. Those who need assistance seeing and/or hearing should still be able to understand what is on your website. Ultimately, they should still be able to have meaningful engagement with your content. 

While some ads may be boasting high prices to bring your website up to ADA compliant status, fear not. A custom website build is just the solution you need. You do not need to move toward high-cost, unfamiliar solutions. 

When it comes to web content, these are some of the solutions we would implement with your ADA compliant custom website redo:

·         Image alt tags: Alt tags provide a description for the image on the screen. Traditionally, this has been used to describe the image to Google's bot crawlers. However, those who are visually impaired can understand what is on the screen because they will hear the image alt tag as the browse the page. 

·         Video transcripts: Those who are hearing impaired can easily read transcripts of the dialogue in your videos. It provides them with an opportunity to better engage with your content they would otherwise skip past. 

·         Site language: Your header tag should identify which language your website is written in for those who use screen readers. Text readers can easily read the code and understand what it being written. From there, the screen readers can translate the language and function as programmed. Those with screen readers can then effectively engage with your website. 

·         Recommendations: Those who are experiencing errors should be recommended ways to navigate to the content they desire. Traditionally, this involved 4040 pages. However, more than a simple "please return to the previous page" is required. Create suggestions that anyone can understand, regardless if they can hear, see, or read the content that is before them. 

·         Easy navigation: While a custom website can bring out the creativity in all of us, everything should be uniform and allow for clear navigation. This will allow any user, regardless of their physical abilities, to easily move through the site without confusion. 

We understand that building a custom website or committing to a new website build is an expense many are not prepared to make. We've seen many turn to websites like Wix, Square, Website Builder, and WordPress to try and meet requirements without "spending a fortune." Unfortunately, their costs increased substantially because they not only pay for the hosting fees and web design, but they also invest hours into a website that is not able to serve their needs. 

It's a known fact that WordPress released Gutenberg before it was considered ADA compliant. The update was not presented before developers using assistive devices. While WordPress claims to meet WCAG standards, it takes no responsibilities once a user applied themes or plugins. 

All of the websites developed by Red Sneakers Mobile Marketing are built to be ADA compliant. It not only serves all users (the disabled equally included), but SEO purposes as well. 

Free Website ADA Test

What are the damages if my business fails to produce an ADA compliant website?

Damages for failing to comply with the ADA are far more than monetary. Your brand may never be able to bounce back from failing to provide "reasonable accessibility" to any and all users who attempt to access your website content. It has been noted by a New York small business attorney that business owners can be expect fines up to $50,000, depending on the state they operate within. 

If users suffer from being able to easily complete a purchase or a simple form submission, you may lose out on a loyal, life-long customer (or many, depending on how far their word-of-mouth comments spread). 

A New Website Build Is Your Best Option

Red Sneakers Mobile Marketing was built on the slogan of "foot traffic... delivered." However, not everyone has that privilege. We believe in building our custom website packages to serve the needs of everyone. This means we ensure they can be considered an ADA compliant website. Your website build will do more than help your brand. It will help anyone and everyone engage with your content and your business. No matter how they access your website, they will have the opportunity to communicate with you and you with them. 

Allow us the opportunity to complete a website audit and let you know what is required for your website build. Contact us today with questions about how we can help you have an ADA compliant website in 2020. 

- Ed Moore, SEO Coach favicon-16x16.png


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