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  • Writer's pictureJGM

Does my business website need to be ADA compliant?

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was developed in 1990 and is meant to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as anyone else. Meaning, any businesses that serve the public must make sure their building accommodates people with disabilities. ADA compliance also applies to websites and even mobile apps. Basically, this means that your website needs to be accessible to people who have disabilities that affect their hearing, vision or physical capacities.

A ruling has been passed declaring the official standard of website accessibility for businesses. Title III of the ADA has mandated that all “places of public accommodation” are required by law to remove any “access barriers” that would inhibit a person with disabilities from accessing the business’ goods or services.

So, should your website meet compliance? It’s not mandatory at this time. However, here are some things to consider.

1) Increase the target audience of website visitors by being ADA compliant.

You are automatically missing out on millions of potential customers if your website is not already ADA compliant. In fact, there are nearly 50 million people with disabilities in the U.S., which means about 19 percent of this country has a disability. Many of them might be interested in your products or services, but once they arrive at your website, they won't be able to navigate easily enough to buy anything or even contact you, all because your website is only accessible to people without disabilities.

One example of this is, if you have a video that displays the benefits of your product, but it doesn’t have captions, then people who are deaf or hard of hearing will not receive the message you’ve worked so hard to deliver. The same goes for when you have images with no alternate text. The point of the alternate text is to allow screen reading tools to describe the image to someone who is blind, so if you don’t have that text, some of your audience will miss out. Also, it’s important to ensure your website is fully accessible without the use of a mouse so that people with physical limitations can navigate it.

2) Improve your SEO efforts.

If you are looking for ways to rev up your SEO activity, here’s one way Search engines are evolving to crawl pages with more human intention. A key element of WCAG is accessibility to screen readers, and these readers crawl your website pages for SEO identifiers. If your website meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, it will likely appeal to users, search engines, and screen readers alike, ultimately improving your SEO endeavors. For this reason, meta tagging, alternative image text, and video transcripts should be seriously considered.

3) Improve Your Reputation.

The fact that an ADA compliant website can increase your target audience by millions is one reason to make your site more accessible. Let your customers with disabilities know how valuable they are to your business. After all, they might have gone to your competitor’s websites that are not ADA compliant, disappointed each time that they couldn’t access the content, then they found you.

The fact that you put this effort into ensuring everyone is included will set you apart from your competitors. Therefore, making your site ADA compliant is a great way to get some positive press for your business.

4) Better User Experience.

Creating a more operable and navigable website will ultimately benefit all users while still meeting WCAG guidelines. Making your web pages easier to comprehend will allow everyone - disabled or not - to quickly find the information they search. Convert more leads across a more broad reach… it’s simply good business.

5) Avoid Possible Penalties and Lawsuits.

Dozens of well-known brands have been hit with significant lawsuits in recent years, before the guidelines were even set in stone. Businesses including Fordham University, Foot Locker, Brooks Brothers, and even Kylie Jenner have been sued for the lack of ADA compliant websites.

View comments from a legal professional here in regards to more specific information.

There is a safe harbor clause that allows your existing content to remain as it is, unless altered after January 18, 2018. However, the guidelines do pertain to any page that has been updated after that date. So if you want to avoid the legal costs of being found non-compliant with the ADA, it’s best to make the necessary changes to your website now.

JGM is an agency partner for AccessiBe. We integrate their product with your website within 48 hours! You get a free 7 day trial too! Let's get started with a conversation here.

Email me for more information, examples and pricing for ADA compliant solutions. Or, schedule a phone call here. |

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