Do you know what ADA Compliance is when it comes to your website? The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in the 1990’s to ensure that people with disabilities were able to access various public spaces. Along came the internet, which has become the “go to” channel for many businesses, and ADA compliance has been updated to include online business communications.
What are the ADA requirements for websites?
The ADA requires that “title III entities (businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public) communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities” (such as requiring assistance in seeing or hearing). “The goal is to ensure that communication with people with these disabilities is equally effective as communication with people without disabilities.”
Internet access and website accessibility is becoming more and more a necessity for everyone in the general public. Whether someone is using the internet for eCommerce or researching products and services, or simply getting information, it’s important they can find what they need.
Why should I worry about ADA compliance for my website?
There are a couple of great reasons why an ADA compliant website is a great business asset:
- People with disabilities should be your customers, too! The size of this market, for your business, is large! Here are some statistics from 2018:
- Disposable incomes for working-age people with disabilities is approx. $490B.
- Discretionary incomes for working-age people with disabilities is approx. $21B.
It’s important to also note that people with disabilities do not usually live alone. Rather, they are close to friends and family who seek out products and services that are ADA compliant.
Differentiate yourself by being a market leader in this area; these customers will recognize and appreciate your products and services focused on them!
2) Attorneys who represent individuals with disabilities are now litigating against companies whose websites are not ADA compliant. Attorney’s fees alone can be prohibitive.
According to the L.A. Times, “Nearly 5,000 ADA lawsuits were filed in federal court for alleged website violations in the first six months of 2018.” What’s the main reason behind these lawsuits? The general public’s move to online commerce and activities (such as making reservations and applying for job postings online). With much of the U.S. economy moving into cyberspace, the disabled need to be able to purchase, make reservations, and apply for jobs online like everyone else.
Within the marine industry, for example, a number of lawsuits were filed against marine businesses that participated in the New York Boat Show earlier this year.
How can you update your website for ADA compliance?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were developed to provide “a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally,” with regard to disabilities; the details for these guidelines are here.
There are also IRS credits available for some businesses that make these changes to their websites. You can learn more about that on the U.S. government’s ADA website.
Are you concerned about ADA compliance? Give me a call and let’s talk about it!