Enhanced Website Strategy: Accessibility + ADA Compliance

Executive Report

Enhance Your Website Strategy with Accessibility and ADA Compliance

So many factors go into creating the best website for your business, but one crucial aspect that many website owners overlook is website accessibility.

Neglecting website accessibility makes it harder for potential customers to interact with your company and products online. Poor accessibility can also violate regulations such as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design in some enterprises. However, even organizations without a regulatory obligation can improve their SEO strategy and user experience by making their websites compliant with accessibility standards.

Digital inclusion is on the rise, and with one in four American adults living with a disability, it is more important than ever to ensure that all customers have access to information and communication tools online.

“Digital inclusion is about including disabled people in the digital world, and it is so vital for participation, diversity, civil rights,” Lainey Feingold, a disability-rights lawyer, and author, told the Wall Street Journal.

What Is Website Accessibility?

Website accessibility is as simple as it sounds — creating a website that is easily used by people with visual, auditory, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. According to the White House accessibility statement, the goal is “to ensure all functionality and all content is accessible to all Americans.” The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 are the industry standards for assessing and implementing website accessibility.

For example, all videos should have closed captions available for those who are hard of hearing and video transcripts for those with cognitive disabilities. The ADA standards also recommend large interactive buttons and responsive web design for accessibility on all devices. Animations, however, such as bouncing or flashing icons, are highly discouraged.

Brand colors are important for uniformity and brand awareness. However, colors with high contrast are recommended as the background and text colors, such as the ubiquitous black font on a white background, for those with vision impairments like color blindness.

Some accessibility goes deeper than how your website looks. Certain CSS tags within the code can hinder screen readers for the visually impaired.

WebAIM, a non-profit focused on accessibility solutions, provides many free resources for bringing accessibility compliance to your website, including the WAVE Evaluation Tool and Contrast Checker.

Why WCAG and ADA Compliance Matters For Your Website

Bringing accessibility to your website is good for customers, good for business, and good for your brand.

In July 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect. The new law can impose fines of up to $7,500 for businesses that do not comply with its web accessibility and privacy policy accessibility provisions. Though this only applies to companies within California, more states are poised to implement similar measures to require businesses to make their websites more accessible.

Last year, as schools transitioned to online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, lawsuits over digital web accessibility began to rise and have continued to increase since. In the first half of 2021, lawsuits alleging websites, apps, and digital videos were inaccessible to people with disabilities rose by 64% compared to a year prior. Plaintiffs filed about 3,500 cases in 2020, and the number may exceed 4,000 in 2021.

Beyond creating a more user-friendly experience, accessibility is well-established as a best practice for search engine optimization (SEO), too. Google’s developer guidelines contain multiple accessibility recommendations. For example, Google instructs website owners to “ensure that your pages are useful for readers with visual impairments, for example, by testing usability with a screen-reader.” Additionally, Google recommends against incorporating “content hidden behind Flash animations or text generated within the browser by executable JavaScript,” which remains opaque to Google’s scanning technology. With that advice, Google clarifies that website owners should make accessibility a critical part of their efforts to achieve the best results in Google’s search engine.

Contact Us Today

Keeping your business website accessible for all potential customers is vital for modern brands to engage audiences effectively and stand out from competitors in search results.

Looking to revamp your web presence? Contact us to set up a free consultation to talk about making your website both appealing and accessible with WCAG and ADA standards.

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