There are many possible answers to this difficult question, none of which can currently be accepted as the correct one. There is presently no legislation that outlines particular criteria for ADA compliance on the web, despite the fact that there have been a few lawsuits since 2016, some of which have resulted in court decisions. Business owners are understandably concerned about how to safeguard themselves and their companies from legal trouble as a result of the problem.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 to set forth requirements for businesses to provide the public with physical accessibility, but it is also becoming applicable to online businesses. It makes sense that we should work to make the internet accessible to everyone since it is increasingly important to how we receive goods and services.
Even if business owners genuinely want to make the change, they are left wondering how to make their websites accessible because neither the local nor the federal governments have established requirements for websites. Business owners are concerned that they may be singled out as a result of lawsuits that have been surfacing since 2016, which leaves them open to marketing claims that an exorbitant fee can be paid to make their website ADA-compliant.
Be skeptical of any claims that you may encounter that ADA compliance for your company website can be achieved at exorbitant costs. Even though the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) can point you in the right direction, they are quite ambiguous and subject to interpretation.
No, this does not imply that ADA Online compliance is not crucial. Being able to access your website gives everyone the same chance to take advantage of your products and services, which is crucial for both a successful business strategy and a strong moral reputation. Nearly 20% of the population is made up of people with disabilities, so you could be losing out on a sizable segment of your market (United States Census). Not to mention, WCAG and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) overlap significantly, so improving accessibility on your website will probably also improve its performance in search engine rankings.
Here is a rundown of what you can do right now to safeguard your company if you are worried about legal issues arising from ADA Web Compliance:
Although graphics and visual content can be a great way to highlight your company and its distinctive brand, people with visual impairments might not be able to interact with this content and thus be prevented from taking full advantage of your website. Banners, buttons, or text embedded in images that are placed on your website and that contain essential information for website navigation fall under this category.
While you are still welcome to use these visuals, it would be wise to offer an alternative. For the purpose of receiving information, people with visual impairments rely on tools like text-reading software that picks up text on a webpage and reads it aloud to them.
Your text may not be recognized as text by a text reader if it is formatted as an image, such as a jpg, png, etc. Now, you can substitute “alt text” or “alt tags,” which serve as an alternative description of the visual content in its place. When an image is uploaded, many web hosts, like WordPress, make this simple and even include a field for this information.
If your website includes videos, they should always have a text transcript available or alternative subtitles.
This also holds true for the files that are attached. If you have PDF documents on your website, a text reader might not be able to access them because they appear as images on a computer. A version of the file in HTML or RTF may be included.
In the end, you want both people with disabilities and people without them to find it simple to navigate your website. Keep your menus uncluttered and straightforward, and make sure there is good contrast between the font colors and sizes. As a general rule, give users the option to switch between a plain version of your website and one with all of its graphic components.
Any content that blinks, flashes, or plays automatically should offer the user the chance to close it, pause it, or minimize it. You might even think about turning these features off entirely. Think about why someone might visit your website, how long you want them to stay, and how often you want them to come back. Anything too annoying will reduce web traffic regardless of accessibility.
Compliance with the ADA is a process, not something you can complete overnight and cross off your list for good. On the other hand, don’t wait until there is legislation to begin making changes or ignore it in the hopes that it will go away. In order to keep it manageable, try to be proactive and methodical when updating your website.
Making everything text reader-friendly should be your first priority. You should also caption and tag your images, strive for simplicity and clarity, and put in place long-lasting policies that will be in effect whenever you update the content on your website. Create a plan, start implementing it gradually, and perhaps most importantly, let your customers know about it and invite their feedback.
It’s crucial to be open and honest with your clientele about the changes you’re attempting to make, particularly given that the standards for ADA compliance are still changing. Let your visitors know that you are working to make your website ADA-compliant and that you welcome any suggestions they may have to speed up the process.
It’s essential to stay current with ADA news as it develops and receives updates. Although we can point you in the right direction and provide advice on how to make your website more ADA-compliant, we are unable to make any guarantees that you will comply with future legislation. The best thing you can do to safeguard yourself and your company on the internet is to remain vigilant and make an effort to be as accommodating as you can.