Having an ADA compliant website is something that is becoming increasingly more paramount. As website functionality continues to improve, so too does the expectation that it will become easier to navigate, for those with disabilities and without. After all, an estimated 48.9 million people in the U.S. are considered disabled.
While those of us who don’t have disabilities may take website navigation for granted, whether it be desktop or mobile, this isn’t the case for these 48.9 million individuals. For this reason, an ADA compliant website is becoming the standard.
What is ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. It was a civil rights act that prohibited the discrimination of individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. This included public places, job locations, hiring of said jobs, schools, transportation and so on. Then in 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) modified the definition of a disability. They also expanded the limits of what could be considered discrimination.
One of those areas newly-appointed as possibly being discriminatory is company websites and mobile apps. A perfect example of this is the Domino’s Pizza lawsuit, where a blind man was unable to complete his online order and sued the pizza giant as a result. The end result was a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the man filing the suit. Worse, the court didn’t even give Domino’s Pizza the opportunity to give their reasoning for whether or not it is required for them to have an ADA compliant website.
While we empathize with the victim in this situation, it’s easy to see why Domino’s didn’t have an ADA compliant website: they weren’t aware. This hasn’t been widespread news. And if Domino’s Pizza—a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange with a team of lawyers—isn’t aware of the regulations, how should you be expected to know?
That’s where we can help.
What Happens if My Website Is Not Compliant?
The Domino’s Pizza lawsuit isn’t an anomaly. According to UsableNet, nearly 2,300 lawsuits related to ADA compliance on websites were filed in 2018. Attorneys are targeting companies with websites that are non-compliant and filing lawsuits against companies of all sizes.
Think large corporations are the sole targets of these lawsuits? Think again. We have worked with several small businesses in the Miami area alone that have been slapped with fines over $20,000. These companies were still required to remediate their website to meet with ADA regulations.
Fines for not being ADA compliant could range from $20,000 – $40,000. For small businesses, this could be crippling. Could you imagine having to close your business’s doors over a website fine?
3 Reasons to Have an ADA Compliant Website
As a marketing firm with our own team of web developers and researchers, we know the importance of having an ADA compliant website and have solutions, that when combined with an effective liability insurance policy can help protect your business from significant loss, as well as help you to do the right thing by allowing potential clients and others with disabilities to navigate and interact with your website.
Your site could also benefit organically from being an ADA compliant website in the following ways:
- Improves SEO Efforts: It just so happens that many regulations to make your site compliant are also good rules of SEO. Google “crawls” sites and looks for certain things like descriptions of images and videos in the form of readable text. If you have an ADA compliant website, your images will all have descriptions. This—and other aspects of ADA compliance—are SEO-friendly. The result: higher Google rankings.
- Increases target audience: Remember those 48.9 million Americans with disabilities? Having a site they can easily—and happily—use will increase overall traffic to your website…and isn’t that your number one goal?
- Help your reputation: There are a lot of individuals who struggle with everyday website and smartphone use because of the limitations on most websites. Imagine the satisfaction and inclusion they must feel when they can simply log onto your site and navigate it without issues or roadblocks. Your overall business could thrive from this one simple, yet meaningful change.
Interested in Learning More About Having an ADA Compliant Website?
There are many reasons for creating an ADA compliant website, both personal and professional. If you find yourself wanting to move forward with the features that will enable users with disabilities to easily access your site, give us a call at 305-702-0112 or head on over to our contact page. We’re happy to help.