In our last blog, we talked about the importance of User Experience (UX). We know it’s critically important to make sure all visitors to your website are happy, that they can navigate the site easily and are taken through a pathway that gets them to make a purchase or take another action (such as sign up, or download, or contact you, etc.)
Imagine having a disability that makes using the computer more difficult, blindness or a dexterity challenge, as examples. If this were you, it would be quite a job to simply surf the net, much less find what you are looking for and buy it.
There is a law that would help you and does currently help others who have disabilities. It’s called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and it includes a number of provisions that seek to make life easier for those with challenges.
As it relates to websites, there is a section of the ADA that requires companies to make sure their websites are capable of being navigated by someone with a disability. The law requires the ability to make the text larger for those with sight impairments and an icon that a deaf person can click to enable video content to be posted on the screen. In fact, there are many ways to make a website ADA-compliant.
Harmonia Media will help you
make sure your website complies with ADA rules.
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Why is ADA Compliance Important?
First off, it’s the right thing to do. But, much more importantly, in a business sense, it’s critically important to make sure your site complies with ADA rules because the punishment for failing to comply is VERY EXPENSIVE. If your business falls into one of the categories listed below, your website must be ADA compliant.
Failure to comply with ADA guidelines for websites may result in exorbitant fines!
That being said, the guidelines are so confusing!
The laws have been challenged in many states. The bottom line is that, in general, most courts have all said something that sounds like the following in response to Does the ADA require companies to make sure their websites follow ADA guidelines?
- Yes. Any website advertising or promoting a business is a “public accommodation” and, therefore, must adhere to the accommodations listed in the ADA guidelines.
- Yes, but only if the business also has a brick and mortar location.
- No, since the Act doesn’t specifically include websites, it doesn’t apply.
Why is ADA Compliance for Websites So Confusing?
We know the ADA says businesses with physical locations must be accessible to all customers. These accommodations may include Braille, wheelchair accessibility and audio considerations. Additionally, the ADA speaks to “public accommodations” but not to digitally-accessed businesses.
The ADA was passed in 1990; websites were hardly a thing. Therefore, the law doesn’t address digital access with regard to ADA compliance. Of course, the ADA has been amended in the past 21 years but not with regard to websites. This leaves everyone with a big question: Do websites have to be made ADA compliant?
That’s a hole in the law, for certain.
But, it hasn’t stopped people who would benefit from ADA accommodations from civilly suing companies that don’t have ADA compliant websites. It’s up to the specific court. If a judge decides the business should have an ADA compliant site, heavy fines can be levied against the defending company.
The Bottom Line on Websites & ADA Compliance
The law doesn’t specifically require businesses to follow particular rules. However, many lower court judges have ruled in favour of plaintiffs and have sentenced the companies to pay very hefty fines.
With that being said, don’t wait until you get sued! Make sure your website is ADA accessible now. You can even advertise that it is and possibly attract a new clientele that didn’t know about your company before.
Harmonia Media will take care of all the work for you! Contact us now to find out the ins and outs of website ADA compliance. And, remember, law or no law, making your website accessible to all is a great way to create amazing UX.