Is Your Website ADA Compliant?
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is one of the most widely implemented pieces of civil rights legislation in the United States. Not only do physical buildings have to be ADA compliant, in that they must have access for wheelchairs or those with physical handicaps, but ATM machines, pay phones and other public utilities must also be compliant in that they offer brail on keypads or voice activated machines. Well, your website should be ADA compliant as well. Surprised?
What is an ADA Compliant Website?
An ADA compliant website means that you are making the information on your site available and accessible to Americans with a range of disabilities, such as hearing or vision impaired. Considering that most everything can be found on the Internet these days, those who disabilities should not be left out from accessing this information. The goal of the ADA is to reach the same level of accessibility online for all people, no matter their disability.
Who Should Have an ADA Compliant Website?
The short answer is every website should be ADA compliant. The long answer, businesses covered by the ADA, include:
- Private employers with 15+ employees
- Public entities at state and local levels
- Businesses operating for the benefit of the public and non-profits
Federal government websites are covered under an entirely different legislature, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
How to Make Your Website ADA Compliant
Finding a website agency that will help you run an audit of your code is the first step to ensuring your website is ADA compliant. The audit will identify the parts of your website that do not meet web accessibility standards. Factors such as your server, plug-ins, the platform your website uses will all help determine how much the audit should cost.
Once you’ve identified which parts of your website need updating, you can determine which is most important and whether you’ll move forward with updating. Again, working with an agency who can talk you through all the different steps and budgets will be helpful. Some examples of changes needed to be made include images missing the alternative text, the color of your website and the contrast of the buttons, ensuring your forms have proper labels.
Ensuring You’re Always ADA Compliant
The Legislature is never set in stone, so expect changes in the future. You’ll want to stay on top of any updates to the ADA or even Google. For instance, before Google decided to rank websites based on whether they were responsive, they may get in the game with ADA compliant websites as well. By having an ADA compliant website, not only are you offering access to all people, but you are giving yourself a competitive advantage that may increase your leads, a better overall experience, provide information for Google and other search engines and help reach a wider audience.