Providing equal access to consumers with disabilities is no longer a “nice to have” when it comes to a user-friendly website. ADA conformity in 2019 is now a must-have, not just to avoid legal hassles, but also to provide true access to more than 20% of Americans who have some form of disability.
Need a bit of refresher? In our ADA webinar, we covered the nuts and bolts of ADA conformity and since then we have seen number of our customers realize its importance and make their websites ADA conforming. In this article we will cover the 5 reasons why ADA conformity matters to your online business in 2019.
An ADA conforming website allows you to expand your customer base:
Digital technologies are a mouthpiece of today’s generation; we access websites through our phones, computers and tablets. Technology helps people and businesses create more connections and makes it easier for differently abled people to participate more inclusively with others and leverage the opportunities. An ADA conforming website is one more avenue for your business to attract and engage with customers and generate additional revenue.
Protects your business from legal troubles and litigation by meeting W3C guidelines:
More and more businesses have come under legal scanner for not having accessible websites. As per an article in the LA Times; “Nearly 5,000 ADA lawsuits were filed in federal court for alleged website violations in the first six months of 2018, according to an analysis by Seyfarth Shaw, a law firm that specializes in defending such cases.”
While these stats are concerning, you can avoid this pitfall if your website meets the W3C guidelines, known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) organized in three levels A, AA and AAA. The court system has largely held that websites with level A and AA guidelines are ADA “conforming”, thus protecting you from unnecessary legal hassle. And showing all users of your site that your business cares.
By viewing ADA conformance as an opportunity, you drive better SEO value:
ADA conformity for websites is largely based on four core areas; Visual, Auditory, Tactile and Cognitive. Many of these accessibility standards, like adding alternative text for images, font size, color, contrast, and accessibility contribute to better SEO results. By focusing on an accessible website, you are essentially enabling your audience to use your content in new ways; Siri, Google or Cortana are today’s interfaces built inside our phone. Voice enabled technologies are helping everyone not just the visually impaired. Websites created with accessibility and SEO in mind have content that is easier to read and understand for everyone.
Reduced cost of ownership over the long term:
ADA conformance often means changing or revamping an existing website, which might mean additional costs. However, with the rise in ADA lawsuits this is an aspect that businesses can’t ignore any more. The incremental additional cost that gets added by designing your website for accessibility from the beginning pays back and is more budget friendly rather than rethinking and re-designing down the road after being hit by a lawsuit. A penny saved is truly a penny earned.
Designing for better UI and inclusion:
Our websites might be excluding people without you even knowing it. Parallax scrolling or long text labels make day to day usability difficult for differently abled users. For example, by using labels inside the text fields, designers can efficiently save valuable screen space. These small changes help users who may be color blind or might have attention deficit disorder. Be the business that makes a choice to be inclusive and reach all types of customers.
What can my business do to be ADA Conforming?
To establish conformity, there are three key considerations to ensuring that your website is ADA conforming: technology, process, and design.
- On the technology front, your Content Management System (CMS) should be capable of creating ADA conforming websites. With the constant evolution of your website, having an ADA-friendly development process is critical. If your website development is done in-house, you need to ensure the planning and testing for ADA.
- If you work with an agency or a third-party vendor, it’s important that your vendor have a well thought out and documented process for creating ADA conforming content and auditing for any problems.
- ADA conforming design must consider a whole set of subtleties and nuances that might escape the untrained eye. Once again, it’s essential to ensure that your in-house or agency designers understand ADA conformity and have experience creating ADA conforming designs.
Make ADA conformance part of your digital strategy
Any consumer-facing business, and especially location-based businesses like hospitality, retail, and financial services, should make ADA conformity a core part of their online business strategy and website development process. Not having ADA conformity as a central goal of your website strategy is asking for trouble and sends the wrong signal to your audience.
At Milestone, we have worked with hundreds of website owners to develop ADA conforming websites that meet the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Not only do these sites meet the legal standards, they help users interact and engage with your business, as shows that you are a business that understands diversity.
If you are interested in converting your website or creating a new ADA conforming website, please send us an email at [email protected] or call us at +1 408 200 2211.
Source: Paid Search