Legislation plays an essential part in the operations and management of all businesses. Whatever your business model, as long as you operate legally within the boundaries of a particular area, state or country, you’re liable to follow all pertinent rules and regulations. You wouldn’t want to create any hassle between your company and the government. You have to comply with the laws and regulations; otherwise, you risk getting levied fines, suspensions, or even revocation of your permit to operate.
In 2010, the United States Department of Justice released the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. These standards require all companies to provide and maintain web pages and services that people with disabilities can access without prejudice to their existing conditions. The legislation calls for a more proactive approach to ensure that your pages become more inclusive and accessible to anyone, regardless of their conditions.
Your company needs to ensure ADA compliance in a variety of ways. If regulators find out that your site isn’t compliant with the legislation, you will be held liable, and there will be financial repercussions of your non-compliance. Even if you didn’t want to discriminate against users based on their disabilities, the law wouldn’t be lax in levying fines.
Who needs to adhere to ADA requirements?
Now that we have a fundamental idea about the ADA, what are the requirements that a company needs to comply with the statute? First and foremost, if the entity is a state or local government agency, they need to adhere to the law – that’s a no-brainer. Second, if your company employs 15 or more full-time employees and operates at least 20 weeks per year, you have to find ways to comply with the ADA. Finally, if your company works for the benefit of the general public, you would have to follow the statute.
Since the language can be vague at times, there are some questions about whether websites have to comply with the law. The short answer is, of course, YES. You have to ensure that your website is ADA-compliant aside from being 508-compliant. You need to comply with the regulations to prevent lawsuits and loss of leads.
Why should you ensure compliance?
The ADA seeks to make all businesses and websites accessible to all. That’s one of the best reasons we can think of why you need to comply. If you do, you would include a portion of the population that previously hasn’t been included, allowing you to expand operations. It may be unchartered territory at first, but in the long run, you’ll get used to it.
Secondly, being ADA compliant will help your SEO ranking. With Google incorporating new metrics, you will ensure that your effort to include video transcripts and alternative image text will help get your site a boost in the rankings. The more the search engine understands your page and what it offers, the better it’s rank.
Additionally, if your site is ADA compliant, your online reputation will get a considerable boost. It will show that your company cares about the general browsing public, reflecting positively on your brand and image. Finally, it also increases page experience as it fosters site usability. The more comfortable users are when they visit your page, the better it will be for you overall.
How can you comply?
Although the statute doesn’t have any set guidelines, your company can provide alternatives to ensure compliance. First, you can incorporate text readers to ensure that those with visual impairments can still access videos or photos on your site. Those with hearing impairments will benefit if your site has captions and subtitles or video transcripts available.
You can also offer a feature where your users can adjust the font sizes or color contrast so those with visual impairments can still read things at their own pace. Another feature is to adapt the site so users can navigate using their keyboard or other assistive devices. Other experts also recommend using Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) to make it easier for disabled persons to read your site.
Ensuring compliance with ADA is a non-negotiable action. Your company must adhere to the policy to ensure that you would reach a larger audience and they would enjoy the experience thoroughly. It may be challenging to incorporate these at first, but your team will get used to it in the long run.