What is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) and how it impacts your business website?
What is the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law passed in 1990 and updated in 2008. It is a landmark ruling by the Federal Government which aims to create equal rights and access while prohibiting any discrimination against individuals with disabilities. ADA is considered a revolutionary decision that protects the civil rights of people with physical or mental disabilities.
What does ADA compliance mean for businesses?
As per law, disabilities are defined as physical or mental impairments that “substantially limit” or impact a person’s major life activities. The aim of ADA with its mandate to make businesses compliant is to avoid discrimination against individuals with disabilities and to provide them with full access to every aspect of society. ADA includes and mandates this law for government organizations and private businesses including large and small companies. ADA regulations include five Titles, Title I for employment; Title II for state and local government; Title III for public accommodations and commercial facilities; Title IV for telecommunications; and Title V for miscellaneous provisions. Every business owner, of a large company or a small company, should ensure that their businesses are ADA compliant, physically as well as online. While physical changes would include installing wheelchair ramps, signage readable in braille, etc., online changes would include ADA compliant website, auxiliary aids in communication, etc. to make web content easily usable for disabled users.
What is the impact of ADA compliance on Internet use and digital content?
In the early 90s, when ADA was signed, Internet use was not as prevalent as today. Due to this ADA does not address web accessibility with absolute clarity. Internet accessibility is a very basic thing nowadays. Quite a few physical businesses have become obsolete after the advent of the Internet. So while the law remains ambiguous and open to interpretation, many litigation and lawsuits proceedings against private companies for inaccessible websites and online content tell us that ADA includes all digital information and websites of companies with physical outlets as well as online businesses with non-physical presence. Reviewing the summary of judgments, the US Department of Justice now considers the Internet as a public place. As per Title III of the ADA, 'places of public accommodation' and 'commercial facilities' have to remove 'access barriers' for people with disabilities. This includes privately owned and leased facilities like office buildings, warehouses, hotels, factories, restaurants, golf courses, retail outlets, convenience stores, health clubs, schools and so on. As per them, necessary modifications should be made to become accessible by disabled users to do business online. We can help you build the same.
What cost do you pay for non-compliance or being not accessible?
While you pay heavy fines and penalties for lack of ADA compliant website, you could also lose funding and your reputation. Let's see how:
- Save Money - There are fines up to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for each subsequent violation. For those companies who have been sued under ADA, the costs also include court fees and attorney fees along with the settlement amount. Many big brands have lost lawsuits and paid heavily for not having ADA compliant websites.
- Avoid funds being revoked - Federal funding of companies could be revoked for being in non-compliance with the ADA.
- Save your reputation - Discriminating someone with a disability causes irreversible damage to your reputation and can adversely affect prospects or potential customers.
What do you gain from having an ADA compliant website or online presence?
Estimate says that one out of every five people in America has a disability. An ADA compliant website can help grow your business. Here are some advantages:
- ADA compliant website will protect your business from discrimination lawsuits and hefty penalties from a legal standpoint
- An advantage over your competitors when your website can be accessible to people with disabilities and even more if it has easily usable web content
- You may get a tax credit due to expenses and upgrades made for having an ADA compliant website
- Google ranking and SEO scores get better for ADA compliant websites
- Better online reputation for discouraging discrimination while being accommodating and accessible
To know more in detail, feel free to get in touch with our experts.
What guidelines to follow to make your website ADA compliant?
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is responsible for regulating standards for the World Wide Web. W3C created the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to address the gap between growing digital content and its limited accessibility among people with disabilities. WAI brought together industry experts, disability organizations and government and research labs for developing the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG. WAI-WCAG provides a single shared standard for web content accessibility for individuals, companies, and governments globally. The most recent, 2018 recommendation of WAI, WCAG 2.1 looks into the accessibility of web content on devices such as desktops, laptops, tabs, and mobile phones. WCAG 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making digital content more accessible and these recommendations are made available to all companies with an online presence. Currently, web standards recommended by WCAG 2.1 apply to all companies that fall under ADA, including private companies and Government organizations. Our firm is dedicated to bridging the gap by helping companies develop and modify web content that is easily accessible and user friendly for disabled users.
How to make your website ADA compliant?
GSA, General Services Administration of the US Federal Government has hosted an online course on how to make your website ADA compliant and meet Section 508. You can firstly get your website assessed and list down the changes required to make it ADA compliant. This accessibility audit can be then used to format your website coding to have an accessible web design and make your website ADA compliant as per WCAG 2.1 standards. We have expert developers and web designers who can train your team and guide them through the entire compliance process. As per your business requirement, we can either develop a completely new ADA compliant website for your company or modify the existing website after conducting the accessibility audit. We can conduct ongoing monitoring regularly for any new content added to your website to ensure it meets WCAG standards for ADA compliance at all times.
As a company owner, it is your legal and moral responsibility to make sure that your business is ADA compliant and accessible. Discuss your requirements with us and we assure you the best solution.
Skynet Technologies USA LLC is a Las Vegas based company offering visually excellent and user-friendly ADA compliant website design to make the website accessible for people with cognitive and physical disabilities. Whether you are a start-up, businesses, enterprise, corporation or web development agency, hire our dedicated developer today on hourly, monthly and fixed cost basis or Partner with us for your ADA compliant website development projects.