ada compliant website

Why You Need an ADA-Compliant Website

There are many reasons your website should be ADA-compliant. Inclusivity is absolutely one of the reasons, but there is another perhaps more glaring and more immediate consideration: COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic required everyone to turn online for many of the things they were used to doing in person. From school to work to keeping in touch with friends and family, people all around the world were using websites and mobile apps more than ever, and finding some major flaws with functionality. While technological hurdles are tough for everyone, accessibility issues are even more frustrating for someone with a disability.

With everyone at home interacting with your brand or business through your website, you’d better bet that it works for everyone. In fact, now the law requires it, kind of.

ADA Website Compliance via the WCAG

Commercial websites have been deemed as “places of public accommodations,” per Section 508 in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) much like physical locations. As such, they must follow ADA rules and regulations. Unfortunately, the ADA doesn’t have the clearest rules in place and there is no federal oversight.

The ADA does have guidelines built by The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). While they aren’t law, businesses can still be fined for a non-ADA-compliant website.

The guidelines are always being updated since the pace moves fast online and there are different conformance levels (A, AA, AAA). The full list of guidelines can be found here. The W3C is currently working on WCAG 3.0, which they are calling “Silver.” The latest addition is titled Making Content Usable for People with Cognitive and Learning Disabilities.

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While the guidelines can feel a bit abstract, the main takeaway is that websites should be:

Perceivable

Operable

Understandable

Robust

Per ADA requirements, your website, especially if is financially-based or there is any sort of money exchange (e-commerce), must be able to be used by all. While there is some flexibility around what makes a website accessible, there are still some general rules to follow to avoid a lawsuit.

A website must:

  1. Have clear navigation.
  2. Be coded on the back end to be used by assistive technologies like screen readers and keyboard navigation
  3. Be cognizant of color contrasts, backgrounds, foregrounds, and text to ensure they are clear and legible.
  1. Have clear navigation.
  2. Include a title and metadata on every webpage and alt text on every image.
  3. Avoid using images as text.

Who needs an accessible website?

Anyone with a disability benefits from an easy-to-use website but the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were built specifically to help blind and deaf people, people with cognitive and learning disabilities, and those with emotional, behavioral, or anxiety disorders.

A website that has different brightness settings, transcriptions, captions, and audio descriptions can help those with visual or hearing impairments.

A simple, uncomplicated website structure can help those with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or dyslexia.

A website with clear language, plenty of white space, and color and animation only where it makes sense can be calming and easy to use for those with anxiety.

Interested in making your website ADA accessible?

Fill out the form below and we will reach out to schedule a meeting!

ADA Compliance
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There are over 25 million people in the USA with visual impairments. 1 in 8 people in the USA have a hearing impairment, totaling over 30 million people.

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018 gives internet consumers more control over their personal data. That means websites must disclose what they do with the information they collect from their users and provide them with the option to delete the information given among other things.

The statute also includes a section on accessibility. A website’s privacy policy must be easy to access, easy to read, and be read with assistive technologies. As of July 1, 2020, California’s Attorney General will begin to enforce non-compliance starting with a $7,500 fine with each penalty up to $15,000.

Each state has its own accessibility requirements which make compliance even more difficult. If your website serves a global audience, you will need to make sure you are complying with international accessibility standards as well.

RhinoHub is based in Reno, Nevada but we serve many clients in California that could be affected by the CCPA accessibility fines, so we can help you navigate through accessibility.

Additional Benefits to ADA-Compliance

A website should be able to be used by all in order to include the millions with disabilities and avoid litigation. But there are few more benefits to an ADA-compliant website as well.

An accessible website requires technical features like site titles, H1 and H2 headers, meta descriptions, image alt text, and more. Coincidentally, a website with a strong SEO ranking needs the same things. The internet reads the back-end of your website much like a screen reader would read a website to someone who is blind. Accessibility is great for SEO: a win-win!

A website that meets ADA standards has a clean, easy-to-use sitemap and design. Not only does this help someone who has trouble navigating a website, but it helps all the visitors to your website. User experience is something that all websites should consider, not just because the WCAG requires it.

ADA Adjustments Screenshot

accessiBe and RhinoHub

RhinoHub builds websites and specializes in all things digital marketing. We make sure our websites are easy for you to use in WordPress as a business owner, while making sure they are easy to use for your customer or audience, too. From accessible design to SEO to web development, we create beautiful things that work for you.

While we always have ADA recommendations in mind when designing, writing, and coding, we want to be sure our websites are truly accessible. We use accessiBe to help ensure that our clients are providing the best experience possible for everyone, avoid lawsuits, and stay up-to-date with ADA regulations.

While most plugins and even free widget overlays claim they will find accessibility discrepancies, they often call more attention to the website, resulting in lawsuits and fines when the widget or plug-in failed.

accessiBe uses AI to scan and analyze your entire website to adjust the functionality for screen reader accessibility to make sure it is ADA- and WCAG-compliant, ultimately protecting you from litigation.

Plus, your website will finally be available, usable, and approachable truly for all. Equal access amd usability are more important now than ever, especially during this global pandemic pushing us all online.

If you’re interested in website accessibility, but need some guidance or consultation, reach out through the form below!

Interested in making your website ADA accessible?

Fill out the form below and we will reach out to schedule a meeting!

ADA Compliance
reCAPTCHA
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