Does My Website Have To Be ADA Compliant?

In today’s digital age, websites have become more valuable to businesses than ever before. However, most companies are wondering if their website needs to be ADA compliant (American Disabilities Act).

If you want to stay away from a lawsuit and hefty fines, you should start working on your website’s accessibility and make sure it’s in full compliance with the laws. Ignoring the needs of disabled users will result in an ADA website compliance lawsuit filed against your business.

Continue reading to find out more about why your website needs to be ADA compliant.

What Is ADA?

ADA (American Disabilities Act) is a federal civil rights law that forbids discrimination against physically disabled people in every area of life. This means that businesses and other public realms must ensure their goods and services are equally accessible to people with or without disabilities.

Who Needs To Be ADA Compliant?

If you provide goods and services for the public, whether local or state government agency or a private company with five or more employees, you’re better off becoming ADA compliant.

Does ADA Apply To Websites?

If your business’s physical office needs to comply with ADA regulation, so does your business’s website. Your website is like a physical office; it offers goods or services and information required to obtain those goods and services. For this reason, ADA compliance applies to your business’s website just as actual brick and mortar locations.

What Makes A Website ADA Compliant?

To answer this question, we will refer to WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). The WCAG is a set of guidelines written by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to provide a standard for web content accessibility for all Internet users, including those with disabilities. The consequences of infringing these requirements are legal penalties and severe fines.

Is ADA Compliance Compulsory For My Website?

There are no precise legal requirements in the ADA for websites, but your goal should be to avoid lawsuits by accommodating users with disabilities. Physically disabled people need to feel that they are not excluded from using your website. However, several factors usually cause people with disabilities to file ADA compliance lawsuits against your business. These includes:

  • Failure to provide them with basic accessibility features.
  • Your website uses inaccessible technology.
  • Some key website features are inaccessible.

You need to make all the features in your website accessible to lower your chances of a possible accessibility claim.

Is My Website ADA Compliant?

The answer is no, except a website is built to be accessible and ADA compliant. You can verify if your website is ADA compliant by testing the pages using automated tools like WebAIM. Keep in mind that these tools can only detect approximately 30% of WCAG issues.

How Can I Make My Website ADA Compliant?

You can make your webpage ADA compliant by following the steps below:

Website Audit

The first step to make your website ADA compliant is to conduct an audit on your current website to see where you stand. The best way is to apply a 3-factor WCAG 2.1 A audit. However, you cannot depend solely on automated audits when using a 3-factor WCAG 2.1 A audit because the WCAG is nuanced. Automated audit tools can only detect a few percent of WCAG problems.

  • Automated Testing: The whole website crawl to detect low-hanging fruit.
  • Manual Testing: This involves a manual review of use-cases and code for unique pages.
  • Assistive Technology Testing: Utilizing tools physically disabled users use to access the web pages.

It’s best to work with an experienced accessibility expert. Such an accessibility expert must have expertise in the following areas to provide useful guidance for remediation.

  • The WCAG
  • The website code
  • The assistive technologies used by physically disabled users
  • The combinations of use-cases for users with disabilities
  • The legal awareness of which issues can cause legal actions.

The key is to get a WCAG audit report that identifies violations and how to fix them.

ADA Remediation

After the audit, the development, design, and content specialists can break down the tasks and execute the recommended solutions. If the verdict is good enough, this may be all you need. If not, you may require ongoing guidance from an accessibility specialist.

In Summary

ADA compliance has become a necessity for website owners. An ADA-compliant website creates more business opportunities for you by giving exposure to a broader audience. It allows you to reach and engage with your target audience in the right places, and at the right time and establish highly qualified leads with an accessible website.