The Department of Justice (DOJ) requires some businesses to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Websites should be accessible to users with hearing loss, visual impairment, and those who need assistive devices to navigate. Failure to comply with ADA leaves your business at risk of losing potential customers, damaging brand reputation, and attracting costly lawsuits. For this reason, ADA compliance is a necessity for designated businesses.
Which businesses need ADA Compliance?
Title I of ADA requires businesses with more than 15 full-time employees that work for at least 20 hours a week to comply. Similarly, Title III mandates public transportation, banks, hotels, and other “public accommodations” to comply. This mandate applies to both digital and physical considerations. However, ADA does not set clear rules for website compliance. Businesses rely on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure their websites are accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG is a reference point for businesses looking to improve their website’s accessibility—and consequently avoid lawsuits and other risks. Conformance to WCAG is organized into three levels:
- Level AAA: The most complex and highest level attainable.
- Level AA: Addresses common or significant barriers to web accessibility.
- Level A: The bare minimum—featuring basic features.
What are some common ways businesses can address ADA Compliance issues?
Please note that ADA compliance and website accessibility are a bit subjective. Here are a few checklist items:
- The content should be robust and compatible with assistive technologies and other user agents.
- Audios, videos, and images should have Alt tags that describe the object and its purpose on the website. Making content perceivable is especially useful for users who need to hear or read alternative descriptions to understand the media.
- Content should be understandable – i.e., predictable and readable.
- The site should be operable by providing keyboard accessibilities.
- Ensure an organized and consistent layout. Buttons, links, and menus should be easy to navigate and delineated.
- The language used in the website should be identifiable in the header code for visitors who use text readers.
- The site should automatically offer suggestions or recommendations for better navigation—especially for users who come across input errors.
- Audio and video content should have transcriptions to help users with hearing impairments.
Generally, websites should facilitate reasonable accessibility.
Contact Edge Digital
To find out more about how you can deal with the complexities of ADA compliance or how to improve your website’s accessibility, consult Edge Digital for a FREE accessibility assessment. Call 919-726-4366 for an appointment.
A long time computer enthusiast – going back to the early 80’s learning COBOL while still in high school. He happily spends his days in front of three computer screens looking at website analytics and figuring out how to get sites to rank even higher.