Did you know that an estimated 15% of people worldwide have some form of disability that makes using a computer difficult, if not impossible?
These disabilities could include physical disabilities such as blindness, and impaired mobility, health conditions such as epilepsy, or cognitive disabilities such as autism or dyslexia.
Unfortunately, despite ADA laws protecting those with disabilities from discrimination, many website operators and owners fail to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled visitors browsing their websites.
At Interactive Palette, we understand the importance of meeting technical requirements. That’s why we specialize in offering ADA compliance solutions to clients.
Everyone Deserves Web Accessibility
Many tools and technologies are available to help people with disabilities use computers. But due to cost, availability, or lack of awareness, many people with disabilities cannot take advantage of computers to the same degree as their non-disabled peers. Therefore, society must strive for a more inclusive and accessible computing environment for all users.
For disabled people to access the internet, they may need the following adaptations to streamline their experience:
- Screen readers and text-to-speech software to convert text to audio.
- Closed captioning for videos.
- Adjustable font sizes and text color options.
- Keyboard navigation for those who cannot use a mouse.
- Adjustable cursor speed and size for those with reduced motor control.
- Voice recognition software for those with speech impairments.
- The ability to adapt the text size or color, website background, and images on the screen.
- Adjustable time limits for tasks requiring quick responses.
- Options to reduce or eliminate flashing images or text.
Website owners should integrate an inclusive site into their organization or business ethos.
What Is The Americans With Disabilities Act Or ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or acronym ADA, is a civil rights law that forbids discrimination against disabled individuals in all places of public life. These areas include workplaces, educational institutions, transit, and all places, private or public, but open to the general public. The ADA’s goal is to ensure those with disabilities enjoy the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
As these regulations apply to website owners and operators, as a best practice, ADA compliance is part of a comprehensive digital strategy that not only improves the user experience but offers legal protection for entities providing these measures.
Without this legal protection, businesses and organizations could be the target of “drive-by lawsuits.” A driveby lawsuit online is a type of lawsuit or a legal claim filed against a website or online business to make quick monetary gain.
That’s why leaving as little room for error as possible is essential. And fortunately, integrating technology to empower visitors of all ability levels to set preferences that best suit their needs results in favorable outcomes.
People with disabilities have the tools readily available to navigate, interact, and access website content without relying on assistive technologies.
What Does ADA Require In Terms Of Web Accessibility?
Websites must allow people with disabilities to access and use the same information, content, and services as everyone else. Ideally, website owners and operators should provide accessibility features such as alternative text for images, captioning for video and audio content, keyboard navigation, and adjustable font sizes.
What Are Web Content Accessibility Guidelines OR WCAG 2.0?
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) are guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to help make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines cover a wide range of topics, including text alternatives for images, page titles, navigation, coding, and ensuring content is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
These guidelines are the framework used to assess the accessibility of web content and help web developers create content that is accessible to all users.
What Are Potential ADA Non-Compliance Penalties As Related To Web Accessibility Protocols?
The penalties for non-compliance with the ADA and web accessibility protocols vary depending on the jurisdiction. For example, in the US, the Department of Justice can take legal action against companies or organizations that do not comply with the ADA, and they can impose civil penalties of up to $75,000 for a first violation and up to $150,000 for any subsequent breaches.
Other unfavorable outcomes could include reputational damage, loss of business, and potential legal action from individuals who have experienced discrimination due to the lack of accessible web content.
If A Site Has Responsive Design, Does That Mean It’s ADA Compliant?
With so much technical jargon surrounding websites, it can be a lot for non-specialists who may need help understanding the terminology or technology.
But the answer to the question, “If a site has a responsive design, does that mean it’s automatically ADA Compliant?” is no.
While both are essential components of an overreaching digital strategy, ADA compliance and responsive design solve different problems. ADA compliance refers to website design that meets the accessibility standards established in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In comparison, responsive design refers to website design that automatically adapts to the size of the device used to view the website.
Responsive design is essential in creating an immersive user experience. A responsive design automatically adjusts the site, so it renders correctly on any device, whether visiting from a Smartphone, Laptop, Desktop, or Tablet computer. In addition, a responsive design provides an optimal viewing experience, easy navigation, and readability, allowing users to interact more efficiently with websites.
However, while responsive design is an integral part of the overall user experience, it does not explicitly address the needs of those with disabilities.
For instance, people with light sensitivity may have difficulty viewing websites with bright colors and high contrast. In addition, people with epilepsy can get triggered by flashing lights on a website, so it is essential to ensure that websites with flashing images offer a way for those with epilepsy to deactivate this website component.
Visitors with limited motor skills may find it difficult to navigate websites without the proper design elements that provide easier access.
Integrating Responsive Design And ADA Compliance For The Win
Implementing responsive website design and ADA best practices can benefit companies and organizations.
Responsive web design ensures that your website is accessible on any device or screen size, allowing users to have an optimal browsing experience regardless of their device. In addition, following ADA best practices makes your website more accessible to those with disabilities, providing them with an equal opportunity to access your website and services.
Ensuring your website is responsive and compliant with ADA standards helps you meet the needs of everyone browsing your website. Further, it offers legal protection. If a business does not meet ADA requirements, the potential for a lawsuit from a disabled individual denied access to the website exists. Not to mention that companies and organizations may face fines if found to violate ADA. Meeting ADA compliance requirements, then, is not only a way to increase accessibility, but it also protects your assets.
What Is The Most Reliable Way To Test For ADA Compliance?
If you do not know whether or not your site is ADA-compliant, it’s safer to assume it is not, especially if it’s a “DIY” website created without professional guidance or advice.
Unfortunately, many “out of the box” website builders don’t include advanced customization options. And inexperienced web designers, or those thrust into the role without training, don’t know all the tools and technology they need to create a website that meets ADA and other technical requirements.
So, if ADA website accessibility is a topic that is new to you, it’s a subject worth researching. Luckily, an ADA compliance audit is the fastest and most efficient way to identify areas where the company or organization is not meeting the requirements and provide a roadmap to fix them.
Achieving ADA compliance online is an essential moral obligation to ensure everyone has equal access to their online services and to protect the website operator from potential legal issues. By performing an audit, operators can ensure that their website meets all of the ADA requirements and will provide their users with the best possible experience.
Contact Us With Questions And Answers To Meet Website ADA Requirements
An accessible website is essential for companies and organizations that strive to create an inclusive environment. It ensures that all users can access the website and its services, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. Having an accessible website also helps to create a more diverse customer base and workforce, as it opens up opportunities to those who would otherwise get excluded due to physical or cognitive limitations.
By creating an accessible website, companies and organizations demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and desire to create an environment where everyone can participate and succeed.
At Interactive Palette, we understand the importance of meeting technical requirements. That’s why we specialize in offering ADA compliance solutions to clients. Please contact us to start the conversation if you have questions or want to learn more about our ADA compliance solutions.