The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was initiated in 1990. It is intended to assure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as anybody else. This suggests that any type of business that serves the public has to make sure their building suits people with numerous kinds of disabilities. And since the web is so widely used, ADA compliance also pertains to websites and mobile apps. Essentially, this suggests that your website needs to be usable for people that have disabilities that affect their hearing, vision, or physical abilities.
Recently, a decision has been passed stating the official standard of website accessibility for businesses. Title III of the ADA has ruled that all “areas of public lodging” are required by regulation to remove any type of “access barriers” preventing someone with disabilities from accessing the business.
If you’re not sure that your site is ADA compliant and you’re questioning if it’s worth exploring, these benefits of doing so may persuade you.
1) ADA Compliance Boosts Your Target Market
If your website is not currently ADA compliant, you’re losing out on millions of potential customers who can’t access your website due to their impairments. In fact, there are almost 50 million individuals with disabilities in the United States, which implies about 19% of the U.S. population has a disability. Many of them could be thinking about your service or products. Once they come to your website, however, they won’t be able to navigate quickly enough to purchase anything or contact you, simply because your site isn’t available to them. So, they might head over to your competition.
For example, if you have a video that shows the advantages of your product, but it doesn’t have captions, people that are deaf or hard of hearing will not know how great your product is. The same thought applies to images without alt text. The point of alt text is to screen reading tools to describe the image to somebody who is blind. If you don’t have that text, a few of your target market will miss out. Likewise, it is imperative to ensure your website is entirely accessible without a mouse to ensure that individuals with physical constraints can use it.
2) Boost Your Search Engine Optimization
Now more than ever, search engines are developing to crawl pages with a more human-like purpose. A crucial element of WCAG is accessibility to screen readers. These readers crawl your pages in a way similar to search engines. If your site meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, it will likely interest site users, search engines, and screen readers alike. This will ultimately enhance your Search Engine Optimization efforts. For this reason, meta-tagging, image alt text, and video transcriptions should be seriously considered.
3) An ADA Compliant Site Could Help Your Reputation
The idea that an ADA compliant site can boost your target audience by millions is only one reason to make your website much more convenient. One more benefit that will not only bring more customers, but they will also know how important they are to your business. After all, they might have checked out a few other websites that were not ADA compliant. Each time they were disappointed that they couldn’t access the content until they found your site.
And when those new customers tell the people they know how they came across your website, more people will take notice that you ensured that it is ADA compliant. The fact that you put in the effort into making sure everybody was included will put you ahead of your rivals. As a result, making your website ADA compliant is a terrific way to get some favorable press for your organization.
4) ADA Compliance Implies Better Overall Site Usability
Building a more usable and navigable site will inevitably benefit all visitors while still meeting WCAG standards. Making your website simpler to understand will enable every person – disabled or not – to find what they’re looking for fast. If you choose to follow the standards, your web site will convert more leads because people will trust that they can always find the content they want quickly.
5) You Can Avoid Search Engine Penalties
The text in the ADA did not initially mention websites because it was not widely used in 1990. But now that most companies have a website, they need to make sure it is accessible to everybody. Since we’re past the judgment date, all updated pages on your site are required to be at the very least grade A compliant. Grade AAA is the highest compliancy possible.
Dozens of prestigious brands have been hit with significant suits in recent times, before the standards were set. Companies including Fordham University, Foot Locker, Brooks Brothers, and also even Kylie Jenner have been sued for the absence of ADA compliant websites.
Currently, there is a safe harbor provision that lets your existing web content stay as it is unless changed after January 18, 2018. Nonetheless, the standards do pertain to any webpage that has been upgraded since. So if you wish to prevent the legal costs of being found out of compliance with the ADA, it’s best to make the needed changes to your site immediately.
If you don’t know where to start, the ADA’s website has some suggestions. You can also get in touch with a web design agency to learn if your website is currently meets ADA compliance and how to fix it if it’s not.