You may have heard the term “ADA compliant” as a business or organization, but do you really know what it means?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was developed in 1990 and is meant to ensure that people with disabilities have the same civil rights and opportunities as anyone else. These accommodations are often associated with physical accommodations, such as automatic door openers or wheelchair ramps in public institutions and businesses. Though, these standards further state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities. This includes how websites should work to accommodate people with disabilities. Your site should be accessible to everyone on desktop computers as well as mobile devices.
What businesses/organizations does the law affect?
- All local, county, state, and federal government agencies
- Businesses operating for the benefit of the public
- Private employers with 15 or more employees
- Non-profit and charitable organizations which either have 15 or more employees or which operate for the benefit of the general public
Is ADA compliance mandatory for my website?
Right now, the general consensus is that any business considered a “public accommodation” should have an ADA-compliant website.
Public accommodation is defined broadly and could include one or more of the following types of businesses or public locations:
- Apartment and Rental Properties
- Bus Stations and Terminals
- Healthcare Facilities and Hospitals
- Parking Garages
- Public Parks
- Resorts, Hotels, and Motels
- Retail Stores
- Sports Stadiums/Arenas
- Train/Rail/Subway Stations and Terminals
How do I make my website ADA compliant?
Your site probably meets many ADA rules already. However, there are some items that may not. Start by evaluating your current site using the WCAG guidelines. This technical standard features 12 guidelines which are categorized in four distinct groups.
- Perceivable: a user’s ability to find and process information on a website (All images and videos that convey meaningful content should be given suitable alternative text.)
- Operable: a visitor’s ability to navigate and use a website (All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface.)
- Understandable: a user’s ability to discern and comprehend all information and navigation on a website (Make text content readable and understandable. Compose error messages that include a clear explanation of the error and direction for correcting it.)
- Robust: a website’s ability to adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of users with disabilities (Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents [e.g. browsers], not only with current agents, but also with future agents, too.)
With this information, you should have a basic understanding of ADA-compliant websites. If you’ve identified ways your business or organization’s website isn’t compliant, necessary adjustments should be made as quickly as possible. Failure to be ADA compliant could open a business to lawsuits and damage a brand’s reputation. If you don’t know where to start, contact the Baer Performance Marketing team to find out if your website is currently ADA compliant and how you can change it if it’s not.