The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disabilities and aims to enable people of all abilities and backgrounds to access websites easily. According to the ADA, if you are a business in the U.S. that is open to the public, or if you are a small business with more than 15 employees, your website must be ADA compliant.
As so many essential services have moved online in the wake of the pandemic, it has become increasingly important for websites to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. This can include features like screen readers, keyboard navigation, and alternative tags for images and videos. Ensuring that your website is ADA compliant can benefit both your business and your audience.
As an experienced Houston internet marketing agency, we can help ensure your site meets accessibility guidelines. Building a website that meets your company’s needs, maintains compliance, and efficiently draws in more traffic is the key to success. Schedule a free website evaluation with our team today.
Why Having an ADA Compliant Website Matters
Following ADA guidelines for website accessibility can enhance the overall user experience for everyone who visits your site. For example, individuals who are blind or have low vision may use screen readers to access the internet, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing may rely on captions or transcripts to comprehend audio and video content. By ensuring that your website is accessible for those with disabilities, you can widen your audience significantly.
Having an accessible website is critical to protect your business from potential legal issues related to non-compliance with ADA regulations. Businesses can be fined up to $75,000 for a single ADA violation, with repeated transgressions resulting in penalties of up to $150,000. In addition, if your website fails to meet ADA standards, you run the risk of legal action if people with disabilities cannot access your website for any reason.
How to Check if Your Website is Compliant
Reviewing your website for ADA compliance can be challenging, especially if you’re not a web developer or expert. There are guidelines available to help you test your website’s accessibility. One such tool is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which provides you with a comprehensive checklist for accessibility compliance. There are also several online accessibility checkers that can help provide specific feedback on your website’s accessibility.
Some common accessibility barriers on websites can include:
- Poor color contrast that makes text hard to read. Users with limited vision or color blindness need strong contrast between the color of the text and the background color.
- Use of color alone to identify key information. Users who are color-blind and screen reader devices may miss key information because it is only identified by color. For example, if required fields on a form are only identified using red text, and not by a statement that says “Required Text”, a color-blind person could not distinguish between required and optional fields.
- No captions on videos. Users with hearing disabilities won’t be able to understand what information is being communicated in the video if there are no captions.
- Lack of keyboard navigation for the website. Users who cannot use a mouse or trackpad will not be able to access web content if they can’t navigate a website using a keyboard.
Once you have determined what changes you need to make to ensure compliance, you can work with a Houston internet marketing agency to update your existing website accordingly. The agency will provide you with a comprehensive solution that conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Once updated, testing your site regularly and making adjustments as needed will ensure that you continue to meet ADA compliance standards.
Common Elements of ADA Compliant Websites
What exactly does an ADA-compliant website look like? There are no specific directives on what exact accessibility elements are required for compliance. To be compliant, websites must provide “reasonable accessibility” by utilizing tools such as color contrast, keyboard navigation, alternative text, descriptive headings, and video transcripts, depending on what is applicable to your website.
According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a compliant website should have the following characteristics:
- Perceivable: Content is presented in a way that makes it easy to perceive. This could include alternatives to text such as audio and assistive technology, allowing sight-impaired users to access your content.
- Operable: Navigation makes it easy to get around your website. This may include keyboard navigation so users with disabilities can successfully access content throughout your site.
- Understandable: Content is easy to understand. This could include making content readable, providing predictive text, or offering input assistance.
- Robust: Different devices or platforms are able to interpret your website’s content. This ensures your content is compatible with assistive technologies.
By optimizing your website for accessibility, you not only increase your website’s user base, but also demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity.
The Importance of SEO When Making a Website ADA-compliant
Creating an ADA-compliant website is crucial to ensure that all users have equal access to information and services. However, it is equally important to incorporate SEO if you are revamping your website to make it ADA-compliant. A website that takes advantage of SEO and is ADA compliant is essential to maximizing your reach.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the art and science of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. By implementing SEO strategies in your website design, you not only make it more accessible to search engines, but you also ensure that users with disabilities can easily navigate your site. This way, you not only comply with ADA regulations, but you also improve the overall user experience for all users of your website.
Get a Free Website Evaluation from Your Houston Internet Marketing Agency – Bizopia
With our 20 years in business as internet marketing agency in Houston, we know how important it is for businesses to have a strong online presence. That’s why we offer a free website evaluation for anyone who wants to take their website to the next level. This evaluation will provide valuable insights into your website’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to make strategic improvements and ultimately drive more traffic and conversions. With a team of expert marketers and web designers, Bizopia is uniquely equipped to help you achieve your goals online. Contact our team today.