Did you know that your website and mobile app MUST comply with the Americas with Disabilities Act? And if your site is not accessible to people with vision and hearing disabilities, you risk a federal lawsuit? In 2022, 2,387 website accessibility lawsuits were filed in federal court, which is an increase of 1.5% over 2021. Private businesses are not usually sued for damages, instead they are sued for attorney fees and compliance, whether they knew the law applied to them or not. Here is some good news though, the IRS is offering one time tax credits* to help businesses upgrade their websites with the Disabled Access Credit. So don’t panic (easier said then done after this paragraph, am i right?), there is still time to make sure that your site meets all the requirements. We will break down what you need to know about ADA compliance, what they look for, and how to fix any issues that exist.

What is ADA (Americas with Disabilities Act) Compliance?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. ADA compliance ensures that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. This includes providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities to ensure they can access services and activities in the same way as non-disabled people. ADA compliance requires businesses to provide accessible services and products, such as wheelchair ramps, Braille signage, and other accommodations to ensure disabled people are not excluded from participating in everyday activities. Businesses must also make sure their websites are accessible to blind or visually impaired users by using screen readers or other assistive technology.

How do You Make Sure Your Website is ADA Compliant?

There are lots of web developers out here who are going to inflate the cost of these services as they become more and more necessary so it’s important to understand the basics for what is needed for compliance. You need to take a critical look at your website from multiple perspectives. At its core, the regulations are about the end user’s experience. Here are some ways to start: Below is our list of 10 things to start with:
  1. Start by understanding the basics of ADA compliance and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Understand the sections that are applicable to websites, including Title III and WCAG 2.1.
  2. Utilize an automated evaluation tool to provide an initial assessment of your website’s accessibility.
  3. Create a plan for implementing changes to make your website compliant, such as adding or revising text descriptions for images, providing alternative text for audio and video elements, making sure all forms are accessible, etc.
  4. Ensure that all images have descriptive alternative text (alt-text) associated with them to allow screen readers to interpret their content accurately.
  5. Make sure any videos include captions or transcripts so they can be interpreted by users who are unable to hear them or those who need help understanding the audio content.
  6. Make sure all form elements are labeled correctly and that they can be tabbed through in a logical order so they can be filled out easily by users who rely on assistive technologies like screen readers or keyboard navigation only.
  7. Add skip navigation links at the top of each page so users can quickly jump past any navigation elements and get to the main content of each page easily without having to tab through a lot of links first.
  8. Ensure that all font size options are available for users so they can adjust the size of text if it is too small or too difficult to read because of their visual impairments or other disabilities like dyslexia or low vision conditions.
  9. Test your website with real people who have disabilities in order to get feedback on how well it is working and what needs improvement before you consider it fully compliant with ADA standards and regulations.
  10. Review your website frequently after making any changes in order to ensure that it continues to meet standards for accessibility and compliance with ADA regulations over time as new technologies emerge or content is added/changed/removed from your site pages as needed.
While this all may seem daunting, they don’t have to be. If you already have an updated website there are many plugins that are affordable and easy to install that can make some of these adjustments. You could also contact a digital marketing firm as a lot of the necessary adjustments have become part of their “best practices”. At VGCC, we are committed to providing marketing services at affordable rates for our clients. Let us take on the headache of managing your digital presence so you can focus on what’s important – growing your business. Get in touch with us to learn more. *To learn more about the Disabled Access Credit, you need to speak to a certified accountant.