The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990, giving individuals with disabilities equal access to stores and public buildings. In recent years, more and more businesses have moved online, creating controversy about whether these eCommerce businesses fall under ADA rules. How can you tell if your business needs to have an ADA compliant website? And now do you create and ADA compliant website? Let’s take a look.
Which Websites Need to Be ADA Compliant?
Websites that should focus on becoming ADA compliant are those that deliver goods and services to the public. Government agencies and those websites that bring services to a public audience especially need to be aware of their ADA compliance. These include:
- Government agencies
- Building codes
- Public and private spaces
The truth is that the more people who can access your website, the larger your customer base will be. By outfitting your website with accessibility options, you are opening your business to more people. In the long run, this can only help you improve your business and your reputation.
In the case of the recent lawsuits filed against businesses, the courts took one of three different opinions in the rulings. Some courts took the stance that for an eCommerce site to fall under ADA rules, it must have links to a brick-and-mortar store. Other courts ruled that all online websites need to be ADA compliant. Still others ruled that no websites fall under ADA laws because they are not physical stores. Because there are no clear laws about this yet, it falls into a kind of gray area. The way to avoid a costly and time-consuming lawsuit is to make sure your business has an ADA compliant website.
What Does Being ADA Compliant Mean?
In order to understand these rules, you first need to understand ADA compliance. What does it mean to be an ADA compliant website? Individuals with disabilities cannot always access your website through any traditional methods. There are a variety of tools available to help those who are blind or deaf to nevertheless access the information on your website. Some of the most popular tools include:
- Screen readers. This technology reads aloud the content on the screen and a description of images.
- Screen magnification software. Helps to enlarge the text and images on the screen for ease of reading.
- Refreshable Braille display. Turns the content on the screen into Braille through a series of plastic pins.
- Large print and tactile keyboards. Special keyboards designed to help users with accessibility of computer features.
These technologies can only help the users if the website supports them. This means the design of your website needs to include extra information in the right places that the accessibility technology can access. Websites that include support for these devices are ADA compliant websites.
How Do I Make My Magento Website ADA Compliant?
Making a Magento website ADA compliant is a process Forix can help you with. There are extra pieces of information that must go into the coding language of your website. These small changes make a world of difference to the people who need them to view your website. Some of these small changes include:
- Using alt text descriptions for all images on the site.
- Making sure data tables have clearly labeled headers for columns and rows so it makes sense when it is read out loud.
- Avoiding any flashing images or strobe effects that may cause negative health issues.
- Labeling special page instructions with a field label so users know what they do.
- Adding helpful links to your webpage to help users find accessibility options.
- Adding captions for the hearing impaired to all video content.
- Offering a link to the content and not embedding video content into the page for easier access.
- Making sure audio files are accompanied by a description.
By adding in these extras to your website, you will be complying with the ADA guidelines, allowing those with disabilities to access your site with ease. By making these small changes, you will be following the ADA compliance laws and providing all your customers with an excellent customer experience. The Magento support team at Forix can help implementing ADA compliance features on your website.
Benefits of ADA Compliance
Not only does an ADA compliant website mean you will expand your customer base, it also has other added benefits. The search engines will give your website a boost in the rankings because your site is accessible to more people. Google prefers to recommend sites that can help the widest variety of users, getting the information out to as many users as possible. By including these small changes for ADA compliance, you will also be getting an SEO boost to boost your business.
An ADA compliant website will help you avoid a costly lawsuit. Customers will be able to access your website with ease, meaning there is no need for a lawsuit. Over 1,000 cases have already been filed this year against websites that do not follow ADA laws. Some of these are large brands and some are smaller businesses. Let Forix help you keep your business safe by creating an ADA compliant website.
Once customers learn that your website is ADA compliant, your positive reputation will spread. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertisement, meaning you’ll have new customers coming to check out your page. A positive business reputation is always a great thing for business.
Forix Is Here to Help
Getting your website ADA compliant can be a big job if you don’t know what you are doing. Our trained team of professionals at Forix can help. We’ve got the experience and the technical knowledge to help your website follow all the laws. By opening the accessibility options to your website, you are opening new doors for your business. Contact Forix today to get started.
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.