ADA compliance isn't limited to physical spaces. It encompasses all public-facing entities, including websites.
Web accessibility — or eAccessibility — is the inclusive practice of ensuring the format, structure, content and visuals on websites are accessible by those with physical and situational disabilities.
A website with an accessible design lets everyone — with or without disabilities — experience and enjoy web-based services, content and digital products. Including assistive technology tools like screen widgets can help people with visual impairments interact with websites appropriately.
Unfortunately, many brands are not prioritizing web accessibility and ADA compliance best practices, which results in a poor user experience for individuals with disabilities.
Here are the five key reasons why your website should be ADA compliant:
- It's the right thing to do - As consumers continue to increase their interactions with businesses online, it’s critical to ensure your website is equally accessible for all users. An accessible website will greatly increase your potential customer base, and users with disabilities will fully be able to enjoy its benefits.
- Accessibility impacts your website SEO - A key element of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is accessibility to screen readers. These readers crawl your website pages just like search engines do. If your website meets WCAG, it will more than likely appeal to users, search engines, and screen readers alike, which could potentially result in improvement for your SEO endeavors. Because of this, meta tagging, alt image text and video transcripts should be highly considered.
- It can increase brand reputation - Having an accessible friendly website shows that you’re meeting the needs of all users. This could lead to a positive impact on your brand's reputation as users will appreciate the fact that you took the time to make your website more accessible.
- Accessibility improves user experience - Making your web pages easier to comprehend allows everyone to find what they’re looking for quickly. Laying out your text in a clearer way helps both screen readers and customers navigate your website. An easier user experience can mean more leads and conversions.
- It's the law - In 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) clarified that websites are considered places of public accommodation and should therefore comply with the ADA Title III. All updated pages on websites are required to at least be grade A compliant, with grade AAA being the highest level of accessibility. Inaccessible websites could face serious legal consequences - lawsuits are estimated to increase as the need to enable digital experiences becomes more prominent.
While ADA compliance for websites can feel challenging, understanding these standards will help you build a more conscious and inclusive business.
Not sure where to begin? We can help! Pipitone can perform a quick audit of your website’s ADA compliance through our partnership with AccessiBe.