Is your website ADA compliant? If not, it should be. Did you know that your website could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act? The ADA requires that businesses make “reasonable accommodations” for people with disabilities, including making websites accessible to those who are visually or hearing impaired. This article will discuss why you should ensure your website is ADA-compliant. Keep reading to learn more!
What is the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that was enacted in 1990. The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all places that are open to the general public.
The ADA also establishes requirements for businesses to make “reasonable accommodations.” In the context of the ADA, “reasonable accommodations” refers to changes or adjustments that can be made to allow people with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in activities or use facilities.
Reasonable accommodations can include making a website accessible to those who are visually or hearing impaired. There are various steps for ensuring you have an ADA-compliant website, including using alt text for images, captions for videos, and more. These steps will allow visually impaired individuals to use your website just as anyone else would. Wording and videos will also be accessible to those who are hearing impaired.
Why Should You Make Your Website ADA Compliant?
There are several reasons you should make your website ADA compliant. Below are some of the most important ones:
- It’s the Law – As mentioned earlier, the ADA requires businesses to make “reasonable accommodations” for people with disabilities. This includes making your website accessible to those who are visually or hearing impaired. If you do not make your website compliant, you could be violating the law and facing potential penalties.
- Inclusivity – Making your website accessible to everyone is simply the right thing to do. People with disabilities should not be excluded from using your website just because they require a few extra steps to do so. By making your website ADA compliant, you can ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to use and enjoy your site.
- Increased Traffic – Making your website accessible to people with disabilities can help increase your traffic. This is because there are over 56 million Americans with some form of disability, and many of them use the internet daily. If your website is not accessible, they will simply go to a competitor’s site.
- Better Search Engine Rankings – Making your website compliant can also help improve your search engine rankings. This is because Google and other search engines now consider a website’s accessibility when ranking it in search results. So, if you want your website to rank higher, you must ensure it’s accessible.
- Improved Customer Experience – Finally, making your website ADA compliant can improve the overall customer experience for everyone who visits your site. This is because accessible websites are typically well-organized and easy to use. In other words, making your website accessible can make it better for everyone.
How to Make Your Website ADA Compliant
There are many steps you can take to ensure your website is ADA-compliant. Here are a few tips:
- Use descriptive alt text for images – This will allow visually impaired individuals to understand what is happening in an image. It will help them to follow along with the content on your website.
- Make sure your website can be navigated using a keyboard – This will help those physically impaired use your website. They should be able to navigate it just as easily as someone using a mouse.
- Add captions for videos – This will allow hearing-impaired individuals to follow along with what is happening in the video. Ensure your website is well-organized – This will help everyone use your website more easily, including those with disabilities.
- Use simple and clear language – This will make your website easier to understand for everyone. It will also help ensure people with cognitive disabilities can still use your site.
- Provide multiple ways to contact – you should always provide multiple ways for people to contact you. This way, if someone is having difficulty using your website, they can still contact you for help.
- Use Multiple Commands – You should also use multiple commands to ensure people with different disabilities can still use your website. -For example, you could include both voice command and a keyboard command for physically impaired people.
- Create text transcripts – If you have audio on your website, you should also create text transcripts. This way, hearing-impaired people can still follow along with the content.
- Create a consistent, organized layout – This will help people with cognitive disabilities use your website more easily. It will also make your site easier to navigate for everyone. Ensure your website can be accessed on all devices.
What are the Penalties for Not Having an ADA-Compliant Website?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including websites.
Title III of the ADA requires that all businesses open to the public must be accessible to people with disabilities. This includes websites. If your website is not accessible, you could be subject to penalties.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) can bring a civil suit against your business if your website is not accessible. The DOJ can also get involved if someone files a complaint with them about your inaccessible website.
If the DOJ gets involved, they will first try to work with you to get your website compliant. They can bring a civil suit against you if you do not cooperate. Penalties for violating the ADA can be severe. They can include fines of up to $75,000 for your first violation, fines of up to $150,000 for your second, and even jail time.
It is important to note that the ADA applies to all businesses, regardless of size. This means that even if you are a small business, you could still be subject to penalties if your website is not accessible.
There are many reasons to ensure your website is ADA-compliant. Not only can it help you avoid penalties, but it can also make your site better for everyone. Ensure that you take your time to make your site as accessible as possible. You can also work with experts to ensure your site is compliant and meets all requirements. With a little effort, you can ensure your site is accessible to everyone.