ADA compliant websites are accessible to people who browse the web using assistive technologies.
ADA Compliant Web Developers in Greensboro, NC
The Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design can be a complicated and confusing piece of legislation for most webmasters to follow successfully. It’s no wonder that there is so much conflicting information regarding what the requirements for being an ADA compliant website are. According to WebAIM, 97% of homepages tested have resulted in Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) failures. This projects to an average of only 3% of all homepages on the internet currently in compliance with the ADA Standards.
To help you protect your business from any unforeseen complications or legal actions stemming from a non-ADA compliant website, our website developers have become experts in designing, building and updating WordPress websites to meet the ADA standards. Get YOU Found ADA programmers use their extensive knowledge to create or update your website to meet ADA requirements, eliminating the risk of legal liability while also introducing your business to a new group of consumers and enhancing your reputation.
What is ADA Compliance?
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law that was initiated in 1990 to prohibit discrimination based on physical and cognitive disabilities. The ADA Act ensures that people living with a disability receive the same services and (reasonable) accommodations as the rest of the population. This legislation led to the introduction of wheelchair ramps, handicap-accessible restrooms, and the accessibility of websites for vision and hearing impaired individuals.
Under Title III of the ADA, every owner, lessor, or operator of a public place of accommodation must provide equal access to individuals who meet the standards of disability set by the ADA. Due to the rapid growth of the internet, many courts have started to consider websites as a place of public accommodation for many businesses because they link to their physical location, or it is the main resource of how the company conducts its business.
What is WCAG?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, commonly referred to as WCAG, is an internationally recognized set of guidelines regarding digital disability.
For example, all web content should be accessible to visually-impaired or hearing-impaired users who use screen readers and voiceover software to navigate websites. Though the ADA does not have its own set of guidelines, it does recommend that organizations follow the WCAG 2.0 Level AA Guidelines as their target level of accessibility to meet legal requirements, known as P.O.U.R.
- Perceivable - Content must be presented in an easily perceivable manner, which can include offering an alternative for text that allows the content to be digitally read to a visually impaired site visitor.
- Operable - Your website should already be designed around user experience (UX); however, the website’s navigation must be relatively easy to use. All website functionalities, including links, scrolling, and navigation should be easily available from a keyboard.
- Understandable - Users with or without disabilities must be able to easily comprehend and decipher the content of your website.
- Robust - Your website needs to be more than responsive. The website must have the ability to adapt in order to meet the needs of users with disabilities, such as ensuring your website is compatible with the most recent versions of screen readers.
Even though WCAG 2.0 is only a set of recommendations rather than enforceable legislation, the WCAG is what forms the basis of many online accessibility laws in the U.S. and around the world. By meeting the standards set by WCAG 2.0, your company should be considered ADA compliant. Please note that many states have started to create their own ADA compliance regulations. We recommend checking North Carolina’s state legislature to ensure your website is truly ADA compliant.
Levels of ADA Regulations
The guidelines of WCAG 2.0 are broken down into three levels. Each level is based on the level of conformance the business meets.
- Level A - This is the lowest, most basic level. The criteria is easy to meet, but does not actually address accessibility issues.
- Level AA - This mid-range level typically eliminates obstacles for disabled individuals that are the most common.
- Level AAA - This is the highest level of web accessibility. Typically, businesses find it hard to meet all of the criteria.
If you are following the WCAG 2.0 guidelines, you will likely meet the requirements for Level AA of conformance. We perform an in depth ADA compliance audit to identify the exact issues preventing compliance for each site, which we provide as a report and also use internally. We then provide an estimate for the time and cost to work through every item that we found, in order to achieve A or AA compliance (based on your individual needs and desires). Most of these updates are technical in nature, having to do with the structure of the website or theme, content, and related files. This can be very time intensive and requires a high degree of knowledge and skill. Our expert developers have extensive knowledge and experience allowing us to achieve the appropriate level of compliance effectively.
Common Problems in Website Accessibility
As experts in ADA compliance for websites, we are aware of the many problems a website may have when it comes to accessibility. Over the years, we have found that the following issues are the most common:
Images Missing Text Equivalents (Alt Tags)
Individuals with a vision impairment will often use software or screen readers to have the content of a website spoken to them or translated into refreshable Braille displays. If the images on your website do not provide a caption or an alt-tag that explains what the picture is, the screen reader is unable to identify or describe the image. To correct this issue, our WordPress developers will add descriptive alt-tags to all of the images on your website.
Additionally, if your website contains video or audio content, we will create text transcripts that go along with them to assist the hearing impaired.
Documents Posted in Non-Accessible Formats
The majority of government websites will post documents to their website as Portable Document Format (PDF); however, PDF documents are not accessible for screen readers, which do not have OCR capabilities. To overcome this problem, we will add a text-based version of the PDF to ensure that screen readers and other assistive technologies can translate the document.
Colors and Font Size Discrepancies
Users with low vision do not always see monitors, screens or websites with the same clarity as people without low vision. The text may be too small or blend into the background color, making it harder to read. For some individuals, the content can only be seen if the text or images appear in specific colors. In most cases, we are able to install plug-ins to your WordPress website that provide color-contrasting text and font options that make it easier for the visually impaired to view the content.
When you contact Get YOU Found for ADA compliance assistance, our team will perform a site audit to see which areas of your website can be improved to meet the standards set by WCAG 2.0. Once the audit is complete, we will begin any necessary optimization and website design changes immediately.
What Happens If My Website Is Not ADA Compliant?
If your website fails to comply with the ADA, it is possible that your company will be held liable if a lawsuit is filed against it regarding the accessibility of the website. These are typically referred to as “drive-by lawsuits.” They got their name from plaintiffs and lawyers who will file upwards of 50 to 60 new lawsuits each month. The plaintiff or lawyer is not finding these businesses that are not compliant with ADA regulations by accident. They are “driving around” in order to identify companies with violations. Typically, they will be in one town and suddenly many businesses in the area receive notice of an ADA lawsuit against them.
In addition, ignoring ADA compliance can tarnish the reputation you have established for your business. In this day and age, word travels fast, especially when it is negative. By having a site that is not accessible to the disabled community, many people may perceive your business as discriminatory and choose to take their business elsewhere.
You may also be losing potential customers if your website is not easily navigable by visitors with special needs. According to the CDC, 1 out of every 4 adults in the United States is living with some type of disability. That means a large portion of your target audience may not be able to use your website. Those visitors will have no choice but to find a website that does accommodate their disability.
ADA Compliance Web Designers
Luckily, the path to getting your website ADA compliant is easy when you choose Get YOU Found Digital Marketing. If you are asking yourself if your website is ADA compliant, the short answer is no, it probably isn’t. However, due to the limited amount of clear legislation regarding ADA compliance, it is best to work with a digital marketing company that specializes in ADA-compliant websites and processes. To get started, contact us using the online contact form or give us a call at 336-790-6735 today!
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