New regulations are looming on the horizon for commercial websites. As you may know, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) already applies to companies with physical locations. What you may not realize is that a move is being made to apply the same act to companies who conduct business online. Consequently, you need to ask yourself, “is your website ADA Compliant“?
The ADA requires that all businesses grant the same access to their products regardless of their customer’s physical limitations. Ramps, elevators, and Braille menus are just some of the ways companies comply with this law. How this applies to you is that, lately, there has been a push to extend the ADA to online business sites as well as physical ones.
The Department of Justice has put off ruling on this issue until 2018, but the likelihood is that some form of compliance by online companies is expected. (source)
How to Determine if Your Website is ADA Compliant
The takeaway from all this is that you have time to prepare. If the full force of the ADA is brought to bear on business websites, then you can expect a mad scramble for compliance before someone decides to sue. Knowing that there will probably be some form of regulation put in place, there are things you can start doing now to ease the burden of updating later.
First, you need to see how well your current website meets the ADA standards. Three immediate things that you should check for are contrast, alt text, and style issues. Other issues should also be considered.
- Alternative Text for All Images – This is for readers used by the visually impaired.
- High-Contrast for Both Image and Audio
- Navigable by Keyboard or Mouse
- Provides Options for Time-Based Media
- Ensure That Your Website Works With Assistive Technology
Use this Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool to see which areas of your site you should update to make your website ADA compliant.
Avoid Costly Litigation by Making Your Website ADA Compliant
Currently, there is no law in place that requires ADA compliance for business websites. However, there have been cases such as the one with Scribd where a company was forced to settle rather than face a long and arduous battle in court. To avoid the chance that someone will target your website for not being ADA compliant, you need to be proactive.
While there is time, contact your web developer and make your website ADA compliant. Are the graphics and text appropriate for people with reduced vision? Is your website functioning well on mobile devices? Does your business site work well with assistive devices such as readers?
By addressing these issues now, not only can you avoid future regulatory problems, and you can also reach out to millions of potential clients. Think about it. If your website is accessible to all and a competitor’s is not, who will receive the most traffic? Making your business website ADA compliant means increasing your reach to a segment not currently being served by other websites.
If you need help determining if your website is ADA compliant, give us a call. We can show you how to make your business website accessible to all.