The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) states that all public places and stores need to provide equal access for persons of differing abilities. The act went into effect in 1990 and has gone through some changes to get where we are today. Online retailers may soon need to start following these compliance guidelines as well for their eCommerce websites. Let’s look at what ADA compliance means for your website and how you can avoid legal action.
What Is ADA Compliance for Websites?
An ADA compliant website is one that offers equal access for everyone. An ADA compliant website considers the needs of those who can’t access the website in a traditional manner and may need assistive devices to receive the same information. This happens through the coding language of the website when building your web page. Creating an ADA compliant website takes knowledge and skill to use the right pieces of information in the design.
ADA compliant Guidelines
There is no law in place right now that requires websites to be ADA compliant. In fact, in February 2018, a bill passed making it harder for people with disabilities to file an ADA lawsuit against businesses. Yet this year, there have still been over 1,000 lawsuits filed against websites that do not have any accessibility features for ADA compliance. In these lawsuits, the Department of Justice usually points to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines outline how to create an ADA compliant website, protecting your business from the fear of a lawsuit in the future.
WCAG Guidelines Help Businesses Make Sites Accessible to All
The WCAG shows websites how to become ADA compliant following a list of criteria. The guidelines go over making a website accessible to everyone, checking your site’s layout for easier options, making sure to provide the correct pieces in your site’s code for accessibility technology and more. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
- Add captions to all video content.
- Use alt text for all images on the site.
- Make sure data tables have clearly labeled headers for columns and rows.
- Help users find accessibility options by adding helpful links to your webpage.
- Avoid any strobe effects or flashing images.
- Avoid embedding video content into the page, and instead offer a link to the content.
- Make sure audio files have a description.
- Label any special page instructions with a field label.
- Forms need to have a logical sequence for ease.
These are just a starting point for some of the pieces of information you need to add to your site. The process can be slightly overwhelming, but luckily Forix has you covered. We can help to get your business up to date with an ADA compliant website, making it easy for you to comply with the guidelines.
Who Needs to Be ADA Compliant?
There is a bit of a gray area when it comes to the question of who needs to be ADA compliant. In the case of lawsuits filed against businesses, some judges are ruling that only eCommerce stores linked with a brick-and-mortar storefront need to be ADA compliant. In other cases, judges are ruling that all websites need to be ADA compliant to provide equal access for everyone. The law states that those with differing abilities need the same access to goods and services, so the gray area depends on how the judge for the case views the circumstances.
One group of websites must comply with ADA compliance. Any website relating to a government agency or opportunity must comply with ADA laws. There is no gray area for this type of business. Services that relate to everyone include:
- Government agencies
- Building codes
- Public and private spaces
Everyone must have equal opportunity to access these services. Without them, they might not be able to gain access to important things on a regular basis. If your website relates to any of these topics, it is especially important to make sure you are following the WCAG guidelines.
The reality is if you would like to avoid a lawsuit for your business, it is a good idea to make sure your website follows the guidelines too. If you are not sure or need help, Forix is here to get your website where it needs to go.
What Will It Take to Become ADA Compliant?
Not everyone is up to date on how to change the code of their website to become ADA compliant. It takes research, time, and dedication to complete a project like this, which often business owners don’t have. Forix can help. Our trained staff and knowledgeable team can help transform your website to comply with all the guidelines. We can help you save time and money while avoiding a damaging lawsuit for your business.
Not only can you avoid legal trouble, but you can also boost your SEO. Google prefers to give the number one spot on the search results to a website that offers accessibility for everyone. The search engine spiders will see you have the proper pieces of code in place as an ADA compliant website, and they will automatically give your website preference over your competitors.
Forix Can Help Design Your ADA compliant Website
Don’t wait to get up to date with ADA compliance. Instead, give your business a boost by letting more people access your content and your products. There is really no downside to making sure your site follows the guidelines, and you might even find a whole new audience for your products. Forix can help you apply the guidelines to your current site or we can work together to design an entirely new and fresh ADA compliant website for your customers. Contact the team at Forix today.
Disclaimer: The content provided on this website is for commercial and educational purposes and is not legal advice or opinion and should not be relied upon as such. Forix does not make any claims to guarantee the accuracy or completeness of information contained on this site as all laws including ADA Compliance laws may change without notice at any given time. It is your responsibility to understand all laws and regulations applicable to you in regards to this.