Is your site inclusive? Why ADA compliance matters.

Jun 28, 2019 | Anthony Frasca Man with Visual Impairment Trying to read non-ADA Compliant Website

When it comes to maximizing your brand’s potential, there's no denying the value in ensuring that everything is appealing and accessible to your current and potential customers.

At its core, that means outwardly demonstrating diversity and inclusion in your corporate practices, advertising, and brand communications, regardless of your industry or your company size.

Unfortunately, too many companies unintentionally overlook a key component of inclusion, and one that, when ignored, many even land you in a bit of legal trouble:

Your website.

Designing and developing your website to be ADA compliant is a critical investment that, in the end, will benefit a wide variety of consumers, disabled Americans, and ultimately your own bottom-line.

But what does ADA compliance actually mean, and why is it so important? We created this quick guide to ADA website compliance to give you some insights toward improving your website experience for all visitors.

The Basics of the ADA

George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990.

The aim of the ADA Act is to protect the rights of and prevent discrimination against the nearly 49 million disabled Americans.

Handicapped parking spaces, wheelchair ramps, elevators in buildings, and designated seating areas for disabled people on public transportation are all examples of societal improvements that exist today because of the ADA.

However, in 1990, the Internet wasn't as relevant or present in daily life as it is today. That's why, in 2010, the American DOJ proposed to expand the ADA requirements to finally include website accessibility.

This means it's your brand's responsibility to ensure that people with disabilities, whether a visual impairment, difficulty with motor skills, reading challenges, and more, can access your website and read and/or hear the content.

ADA compliance is not only the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint, but it's also a form of legal protection. Lawsuits against non-ADA compliant websites are on the rise.

However, companies operating in the proactive interests of their customers should be able to navigate through this concern with a few thoughtful updates to their websites.

ADA Guidelines: WGAG 2.0 AA

To help you understand how to create ADA compliant websites, companies can rely on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or the WGAG 2.0 AA for short (click here to see the full set of guidelines.)

These guidelines outline 38 different criteria that your site needs to fulfill for ADA compliance. It sounds like a lot, and things can feel murky and complicated quickly. Stick with us, as the journey is worthwhile.

In general, focus on the 4 main principles of the WCAG. Your website must be:

  1. Perceivable: Your site's content is available to everyone, including those with disabilities.
  2. Operable: Someone with a disability is physically able to use the website.
  3. Understandable: The content, structure, and website navigation are simple and can be universally interpreted.
  4. Robust: Technologies like screen readers and microphones can access and interpret your website across different browsers and devices.

Now, let's take a look at some of the best ways to put these 4 principles into practice on your website.

Tips to Make Your Website ADA Compliant

If you ask Harvey, "What are some of the best ways to ensure that my website is ADA compliant?"

The good news is that it's not quite as daunting as it may appear.

To begin, be certain to include alt text on images in your website, and create closed captions for any videos on your site. Where possible, you should even include descriptions of the action in your videos.

Why ADA Compliance Matters

If you haven’t already figured it out, ADA compliance is beneficial to brands for a couple of reasons.

It's a great way to let consumers know that everyone having a seat at the table is one of your priorities. Brands that fail to demonstrate inclusivity ultimately struggle to connect with today's consumers.

But don't just take our word for it. Studies prove that operating with inclusivity will expand your customer base.

You’re also be entitled to a tax credit for doing what’s right if you can prove that your site is ADA compliant.

Need Help Creating an ADA Compliant Website?

Making sense of the legalities of ADA compliance and the real-world web design/development implications can feel overwhelming.

Even when you desire to do everything you can to make your CPG website as accessible as possible, the reality is that not everyone has the tools, the understanding, or the time to make it all happen.

At Harvey, we have the practical and technical experience to help you take the necessary steps toward modernizing your website for ADA compliance.

Reach out to us to learn how we can help you to make your website (or other marketing and advertising) work for you and your customers.

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