Why Do You Need To Have An ADA Compliant Website?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an important piece of legislation that was passed in 1990 to help make public spaces accessible for all. The law requires that any physical space open to the public must not discriminate against people with disabilities and be “readily accessible and usable.”
In 1998, Congress passed a newer, broader definition of “public accommodation” in the ADA Amendments Act which extended protections for people with disabilities to private facilities such as retail stores, offices, restaurants, and movie theaters. While initially focused on preventing architectural barriers like stairs or narrow doorways at a given location from excluding those who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices, new definitions now include websites.
Websites that do not meet ADA regulations will be in violation of ADA regulation and may face steep penalties such as lawsuits or fines.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
The ADA is a civil rights law that was enacted in 1990. It prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and covers buildings and public accommodations nationwide.
In places of employment, the ADA provides that employers cannot impose qualification standards or other prerequisites that screen out people with disabilities who are otherwise qualified for the job. For example, this means that employers cannot refuse to hire someone who is deaf because they need voice-to-text software to perform their job duties. The factors used by the employer in determining qualifications will include the specific skills needed to perform the job’s essential functions, as well as an individual’s inability to perform those functions due to a disability.
How does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) affect my website?
The ADA helps to make sure that websites are accessible, meaning they can be used equally by people with and without disabilities alike. For example, individuals who are blind or have low vision may need a screen reader to navigate a website. And those who can’t use a mouse because of mobility impairments might rely on keyboard navigation instead.
ADA website compliance starts with a website audit to determine what content is ADA-compliant. If the content is ADA-compliant, then ADA website compliance will involve some minor changes to content in order to make it more compliant. If the content is not ADA-compliant, ADA website compliance may involve removing content or replacing the content and restructuring the webpage as necessary.
ADA compliance should not be left up to chance; you need someone who knows how ADA regulations work to ensure that your website adheres strictly to them. A good web designer should have the knowledge of these ADA-compliant standards, so they can make sure your website adheres accordingly.
Do You Need an ADA Compliant Website?
ADA website compliance is a big consideration to have, but it should be weighed against other factors before you spend the money on having one built. Some businesses might find that they don’t need an ADA-compliant website. If your business doesn’t rely on members being able to use the website to contact you, then there are certainly less expensive options for making your website ADA-compliant.
Remember, the more accessible people can use your site, the more likely they will be to return and buy from you in the future. If your business caters to a specific demographic, it’s definitely worth it for you to invest in ADA compliance by having an E-Commerce Website Designer build you a website that meets all of your needs.
Does My Organization Need To Have An ADA Compliant Website?
A question that many business owners and website owners are asking is “Do I need to have an ADA compliant website?” Many businesses, even if they’re not required to by law, feel it’s a good idea for them to be accessible.
To be completely honest, the short answer is yes you do need to make sure your website is ADA-compliant. More and more people are using the Internet as a means of communication with businesses, which means that you have a duty not only to your customers but also to your employees.
Organizations that need to adhere to ADA requirements include:
- State and local government agencies
- Private employers with 15 or more employees
- Businesses that operate for the benefit of the public
The ADA is an inclusive law that requires electronic and information technology to be accessible. This means most businesses are impacted by this law since the Internet and websites are inextricable parts of our lives.
In the majority of cases, sites and their designs do not ignore ADA requirements on purpose. You may not have to be ADA compliant, but it’s still important to create a website that everyone can use.
What are some of the common myths associated with having an ADA compliant website?
- Myth 1: All websites must be designed to be fully accessible to the disabled.
This is not true. Under Title III of the ADA, accessibility is only mandatory for websites that affect interstate commerce and fit under 12 listed categories.
- Myth 2: Website designers take care of ADA compliance during the design phase.
Many do, but this is not always the case. Some designers will throw accessibility features in at the last minute and not even realize that they’ve broken the law, which could lead to legal action. You need to make sure that you know what you’re getting from your designer so that you stay within ADA regulations.
- Myth 3: The website needs to be built with accessibility in mind.
While it’s true that a good website should be built with accessibility in mind, this is not always the case; most websites are not built with accessibility in mind. If you have an E-Commerce Website Designer build your site, they will definitely build accessibility into the website; otherwise, you run the risk of being sued for ADA violations.
- Myth 4: More barriers make websites more accessible.
This is not true in most cases. It’s best to have a website that is accessible but requires little effort from a disabled person to use. Some barriers can actually prevent those with disabilities from accessing and using your site easily.
- Myth 5: If I have a mobile app, my website does not need to be ADA-compliant.
You will want to make sure that your mobile app is compliant with accessibility laws as well. Not only do you want to make sure that your mobile app works for all users, but you also want to make sure that it complies with the content (text) requirements as well and does not contain anything inappropriate for a diverse audience.
- Myth 6: My website can be designed with bells and whistles, as long as I meet the bare minimum requirements of the ADA.
If your site is not accessible because it has hindrances that can be fixed, such as a cluttered format or lack of contrast between background/text colors, you could be violating the ADA.
What are some of the common ADA Compliance mistakes?
There are a number of errors that people might make with their ADA compliance. Many of these errors come from misunderstanding the legislation, so this section will cover some of the most prevalent mistakes that people make in their quest to comply with the law.
WebAIM scanned 1 Million pages in early 2020, over 60 million distinct accessibility errors were detected.
|WCAG Failure Type||% of home pages in February 2020||% of home pages in February 2019|
|Low contrast text||86.3%||85.3%|
|Missing alternative text for images||66.0%||68.0%|
|Missing form input labels||53.8%||52.8%|
|Missing document language||28.0%||33.1%|
More than 80% of barriers can be identified from these six categories. Improving accessibility across the web will have significant impacts if just these few things are addressed.
How much does it cost to build an ADA compliant website?
The cost will vary depending on the size of your business and how many features you want to be built into your site. It also depends on whether or not you hire someone to oversee this project for you or if you DIY.
When to start the ADA compliance process for your website?
If your website is not ADA compliant yet, you will want to start the process to become ADA compliant as soon as possible.
The ADA Compliant Website Checklist
The information we’ve located below will help you to get started on your checklist and details that need to be included within your website t be considered ADA compliant.
Level A Compliance
Level A items comprise basic guidelines for website accessibility:
- Alternate text tags allow users to interpret page content without seeing images.
- Images have alternate text that can be read by screen reader software.
- Video content includes captions.
- Video or audio-only content is accompanied by a text transcript or description.
- Links that are provided to media players are required to view content.
- Headings are presented in a logical order.
- “b” and “i” tags are replaced with “strong” and “em.”
- There are no empty links or heading tags.
- The presentation does not rely solely on color.
- Automatically-played audio does not occur or can be stopped.
- The keyboard can be used to navigate the site.
- Keyboard focus is never stuck on one particular page element.
- Time limits provide notifications to the user.
- Automatically scrolling or blinking content can be stopped.
- No strobe effects or rapidly flashing colors occur on the site.
- “Skip navigation” functionality allows keyboard users to quickly access the content.
- Page titles clearly and succinctly describe the page content.
- Buttons and links are clearly and logically named.
- The language of each page is identified in code.
- Elements receiving focus do not change the content in a substantial way.
- Invalid form input is identified to the user.
- Forms have labels and legends that can be read by screen reader software.
- There are no major validation errors.
Level AA Compliance
Level AA is the second level necessary for full ADA compliance and is more advanced than Level A compliance:
- Live video or audio content includes captions.
- The contrast ratio between text and page backgrounds is at least 4.5-to-1.
- Text on pages can be resized to 200% while still maintaining form.
- Images are not used where text can achieve the same purpose.
- Pages on the site can be accessed in multiple ways.
- The keyboard focus is visible and clear.
- The language of content is identified in code with any language changes.
- Menus and buttons are used consistently regardless of the user’s location in the site.
- Users are given suggestions on how to solve input errors.
- An error prevention technique is used whenever the user is entering sensitive data.
- Underlined text that does not provide a link is removed.
- Redundant links on the same page are eliminated or minimized.
Where Can I Learn More About Website ADA Compliance?
- United States Department of Justice: https://www.ada.gov/
- ADA Best Practices Tool Kit: https://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap5toolkit.htm
Let us help you design a website that complies with ADA
If you have a website, you should be concerned about the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are interested in finding out if your website needs to be ADA compliant, contact our friendly staff today to schedule a free consultation.
There are no quick fixes, but there are ways to make your site accessible. We know what steps to take, we can help give you peace of mind as well as benefit from the resulting higher search engine rankings and greater customer retention offered by an ADA compliant site.
Let us design a website plan that is ADA compliant. We will listen carefully and work with you to design something that is not only ADA compliant but also easy for you to manage and maintain with minimum effort. Contact us today at 1-888-760-0878 or email us.