The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) has been in existence for three decades. This fact brings up the question- Why is such an old law gaining so much media attention lately? The regulations featured in this act were designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to products and information.
Recently numerous lawsuits have become the basis of some changes in the law. The precedent set is that websites of businesses that employ 15 or > employees are now considered to “public accommodations” which now requires them to follow the ADA website compliance laws.
ADA Website Compliance 2020
From a practical perspective, ADA guidelines should be followed by all websites so that people with disabilities have equal access. Making sites accessible to the “differently-abled” is the right thing to do. If you are a website owner, here are four crucial things you need to know about ADA compliance.
1. You are Legally Required to Follow ADA Compliance
Having an ADA compatible website means that you have made it accessible for people with disabilities. One example includes individuals with vision issues who use screen reading software to access the content displayed on websites. The ADA touches upon various aspects of operating businesses, which makes it necessary for sites to be compliant with this law.
2. You Need to Follow WCAG 2.0 (61 guidelines)
ADA compliance involves 61 different screen elements that relate to things like descriptive language, ALT text, readable text etc. that most sites already have in place, without making any special efforts. However, it’s still a good idea to use analytic software programs like Google Lighthouse and the WAVE tool from AIM to crawl your website and flag potential ADA problems.
3. E-Commerce and Healthcare Businesses Are At the Top of the List of ADA-Related Lawsuits
Most ADA compliance-related lawsuits are in the healthcare, medical, legal and e-commerce fields. If your business operates in these sectors, or you have an online store, you should scan your website immediately for ADA noncompliance exposure. The lawsuits are growing geometrically each year and if you get a demand letter, it is usually too late to avoid the statutory $4,000 penalty (plus lawyers’ fees).
4. ADA Compliance for Websites- Useful Tips
Here are the useful tips gleaned from the relevant guidelines on the U.S. government’s ADA website:
- Use appropriately marked web page titles and headings
- Ensure that the contrast and readability is set for colors, fonts and text sizes
- Use Alternative (“ALT”) Text tags on digital media
- If your images have text embedded in them, rewrite the text in your source code
- Make your website content accessible through keyboard navigation only
- Ensure that a screen reader device can “Read” your content
- Use closed captioning for video content
- Organize the structure of the site with proper HTML Tags and Coding
- Make sure that the PDFs you use can be recognized and read using screen readers
- Use ARIA tags
ADA Website Compliance- Get It Right
The digital space has become integral to modern-day living, and it needs to take into account the unique needs of people with disabilities. People are filing ADA lawsuits at the rate of one per hour. It means that as a business owner with a website, you need to be aware of and follow WCAG 2.0 rules as well as the website development guidelines set by the ADA.
The Website Compliance with ADA website has been set up as a free resource to educate website owners on how to comply with ADA and WCAG guidelines. We also have trained ADA specialists who can scan your business website for ADA-related compliance problems and recommend suitable fixes.
For information about our compliance services, feel free to contact us at this number- 310-437-8185 or send us a request through this Contact Us form.