Is your website ADA compliant? If not, you may be missing out on many opportunities for your organization. You may also be guilty of discrimination.
What does ADA compliance mean?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, protects the rights of Americans living with disabilities. It safeguards them against discrimination and ensures they have equal rights despite their physical limitations.
Many organizations with brick and mortar offices must follow ADA requirements by ensuring their office spaces are safe and accessible to everyone. This often involves things like installing ramps for wheelchair access.
Companies should bear in mind that ADA compliance goes beyond physical accessibility. Companies now need to ensure ADA compliance with their websites too.
Making websites more accessible to people with disabilities means web and mobile properties can be interpreted by assistive technologies. These are technologies that people with disabilities use to access the content on your website. These technologies include:
- Magnifiers – these assist the visually impaired access text by making it larger.
- Screen readers – these assist the visually impaired navigate websites by reading the text out loud to them. Some screen readers can convert text to a Braille display.
- Eye-tracking technology – this allows readers to control the website using their eye movements.
- Joysticks – these are used as an alternative to a mouse for navigatio
- Sip-and-puff technology – these allow users to control the website using inhalation and exhalation.
Benefits of Having an ADA Compliant Website
It will increase your target audience
According to Digital Authority Partners, about 19 percent of the American population has a disability. This is about 50 million people. There’s a good chance that many of these people are interested in your products or services. However, if they are unable to navigate your website in order to find out more about what you have to offer, they won’t be able to buy anything or event get in touch with you.
Despite the large population of people with disabilities in the US only 1% of websites are ADA compliant. If you’re business is amongst the 99% that have accessibility problems, you’re losing out on millions of potential customers. Many of them are likely to seek out the competition to access the products and services they’re looking for. Having a website that is ADA compliance opens your business up to the millions of people that have disabilities thus making your target audience even larger.
2.Being ADA compliant will improve your SEO
SEO is about much more than using the right keywords in abundance. Search engines strive to provide their users with content that meets their needs and provide a better user experience. Search engines use search engine crawlers to identify key elements in your website that make it stand out for quality.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requires websites to be accessible to screen readers. These screen readers crawl websites much in the same way that search engine crawls do. This means that if your website is WCAG compliant, it will most likely appeal to users and search engines alike and thus improve your SEO efforts.
3.It will provide a better user experience overall
Ensuring your website provides a better user experience for people with disabilities will ultimately make it better even for those without disabilities. For example, navigating the website to find the information they need will be much easier for visitors. Your website is more likely to have more conversions as people are able to complete tasks easily and find the content they need much faster.
4.You’ll avoid penalties
When the ADA was passed in 1990, it did not include text that specified compliance of websites. However, court rulings on lawsuits against businesses in the past show that businesses whose websites are not ADA compliant are at risk of facing lawsuits and heavy penalties as a result.
No business wants to be slapped with a lawsuit. Not only is challenging it in court expensive but could also result in high penalties if you lose. Your business may also lose customer confidence as a result of the bad publicity. This in turn will result in a reduction in revenue.
5.Being ADA compliant will help create a better reputation for your business
Modern consumers prefer to deal with an organization that they feel values them. If you’re striving to meet the needs of those with disabilities by making your website more accessible, your customers will know that you value them. Visitors to your website will more likely prefer to deal with you rather than with your competitors who may not be ADA compliant.
Such customers are likely to spread the word about your organization and their experience with it. Therefore having an ADA compliant website is likely to set you apart from the competitors and improve consumer perception of your website.
How Ignoring ADA Compliance can damage your business’ reputation
If you’re still not convinced that ensuring your website is ADA compliant is important, you should consider what ignoring compliance will do to your business’ reputation.
Your business is open to the risk of expensive litigation
Several federal courts have ruled on websites being places of business just like traditional brick and mortar offices and stores. This means that businesses that have websites that aren’t ADA complaint can be deemed as discriminating against the disabled. Noncompliance puts your business at risk of a lawsuit. This in turn can ruin your business reputation and have a negative impact on revenue.
2.You’ll lose out on a large market segment
If you’re website is not ADA compliant, you’ll continue to lose out on a large market segment. There are millions of people with disabilities that are interested in what you have to offer but may not be able to access it.
Being ADA Compliant is Easy
Every day you put off making your website more accessible means losing out on many potential customers and greater risk of litigation. Ensuring your website is accessible is as easy as getting in touch with companies that know how to easily update your website in order to meet federal guidelines. Not sure where to start? check out this list of consulting companies with deep experience in making a website ADA compliant.