What is ADA Compliance?
ADA stands for the American Disabilities Act, a groundbreaking law passed in the 1990s addressing the needs of people with disabilities and their right to have access to all the advantages and opportunities as those without disabilities. This means that businesses, federal offices and other public realms are supposed to ensure their goods and services are equally accessible to people with or without disabilities. Originally, these regulations were for physical accommodations, such as ramps and elevators, that would allow people with disabilities to get around in a school, government facility or even a retail store. However, when this law was passed, many overlooked the fact that even the virtual environment would have to accommodate people with disabilities in the same way that physical locations do.
As technology becomes more and more ubiquitous, so does the need for businesses to have ADA compliant websites. It is often forgotten that a website often serves as the equivalent to a physical location; it usually offers goods or services and information needed to obtain those goods and services. For this reason, your business’s website needs to be just as ADA compliant as actual brick and mortar locations.
Who Needs to Be ADA Compliant?
All this information about ADA compliance and website development leads to the question: does your website need to be compliant? If your website provides a good or service for the public, is a local or state government agency or a private company with 15 or more employees, then you’re better off becoming ADA compliant. A good way to approach it is if your business’s physical location needs to comply with ADA regulation, chances are so does your business’s website. However, besides the regulations and legally binding laws, ADA compliant websites have more many more benefits other than avoiding a lawsuit.
Benefits of an ADA Compliant Website
ADA Compliance Increases Your Target Audience
One of the many benefits of having a website that fulfills ADA regulations is that you reach more people. If around 20 percent of the American population has some form of disability, not having an ADA compliant website is leaving close to 57 million people out of your audience pool. Maybe some of those people are seeking out goods or services you can provide, but are not able to reach you because your website is not fully accessible to them.
ADA Compliant Websites Improve SEO
One of the greatest advantages of having an ADA compliant website is that it complements your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts. SEO uses tactics to help bring your website as one of the top results when a user searches a keyword that is related to your business. This helps improve rankings and drive more traffic to your site. Regulations to have an ADA compliant website include having captions and appropriate alternative information for all multimedia featured on the page. This means any images or videos need to have captions, and web developers will use this as a way of getting more targeted keywords to have even better SEO. Similarly, ADA compliant websites cannot have backlinks hidden in “click here” or “learn more” texts. They must be descriptive as to where the backlink will take them which also increases the number of keywords a developer can use.
ADA Compliance Results in A Better Website
Building a website following the ADA regulations automatically results in a more user-friendly and easy-to-navigate page. Regardless of your audience, a website that is flawlessly operable allows users to find what they’re looking for quickly. This flow is likely to increase potential leads and build a loyal customer base that keeps coming back because they can trust to find the goods or services they need from your website.
ADA Compliant Websites Build Your Reputation
Having an ADA Compliant website lets your customers know that you value all types of people and builds on your social responsibility. The fact that you made the extra effort to have an ADA compliant website shows that you care about inclusion. The disabled community will appreciate these efforts and may even share your website with others because it has been helpful to them. This will increase your brand awareness and bring your website more traffic.
How to Create an ADA Compliant Website
The American Disabilities Act has published guidelines called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) that website developers and business owners are encouraged to use in order to become ADA compliant. The first step is to conduct an audit on your current website to see where you stand.
Appleton has completed several ADA compliance website audits that allow our partners to see where their websites stand. This also helps us develop a list of recommendations that need to be implemented in order to meet all the WCAG guidelines. We analyze each of the website guidelines suggested by WCAG that are organized under four main principles that a website must adhere to: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. These add up to 61 specific guidelines that may seem complicated. Although there are websites and software that exist to assist in meeting all these requirements, the process can get very technical and challenging to understand. Hiring a digital marketing agency with a strong web development team is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to make sure your website meets all the requirements to be ADA compliant.
Stand out from the competition and make sure your website meets all the ADA compliance guidelines. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service advertising agency that specializes in Orlando web design services. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to deliver powerful, responsive websites that are specifically designed to be seen first in search engines. Reach your target customers in the right places and establish highly qualified leads with a dynamic and accessible website. Your web design and development goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or firstname.lastname@example.org