The Importance of ADA Compliant Websites
At Roos Advisors, one thing we ensure when creating our websites is that each website is ADA – The Americans with Disabilities Act – compliant. Why do you need an ADA compliant website? In the United States, with the exemption of federal, state and local government websites, there is no enforceable ADA legal standard to follow for website accessibility. Web content must be accessible to the blind, deaf and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers or other assistive technologies.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was developed in 1990 to ensure that people with disabilities are granted the same opportunities as those who do not. Websites are legally mandated to be at least grade A compliant, but why not offer the triple AAA compliance and expand your customer base by remaining the most accessible? If businesses are mandated to have fully ADA compliant buildings, why aren’t their websites?
A few years ago, there was a ruling that declared Title III of the ADA stating, that “all places of public accommodation are required by law to remove any access barriers that would inhibit a person with disabilities from accessing the business’ goods or services.” Although it should be second nature to ensure your company provides access for disabled individuals, there are countless other business advantages to doing so. ADA compliance website accessibility increases your target audience and improves your brand’s Search Engine Optimization efforts. Websites that meet the standards of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which all ADA compliant websites do, are more likely to appear in searches done by those using assistive readers.
According to Mohammed Saad, “A successful website does three things,
1) It attracts the right kinds of visitors
2) It guides them to the main services or products offered
3) It collects contact details for future ongoing relations.”
We recommend those who question their website’s capabilities to start evaluating their current site for perceivability, operability, understandability, and robustness. Minimal changes can also be made if you don’t have the time or budget to completely redo your website right now. These changes include choosing the right graphics, specifically photos that don’t flash excessively, as this can induce a seizure. Once those graphics are updated, pair each image with an alt-text caption, which allows site readers to pronounce your graphics loud and clear via audio. The coding must be readable by an assistive reader, and in order to do so, the code on your site must be standard HTML tags. PDFs may provide a more convenient way of uploading information to your website; however, these types of documents cannot be read by an assistive reader. Be sure that when you upload a PDF, there is a compatible text-based format, as well.
Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions as making your website more accessible will open up a whole new audience to your brand.
By Nicole Notar