Everyone has easy access to the countless number of digital or online sources on the internet, right? Wrong! There are sections of society that companies tend to completely ignore while building their website and sharing content online.
Companies are unintentionally depriving individuals with disabilities access to their online resources, and it’s costing them big money.
According to Digital Authority Partners, ADA compliance is important for any and all digital projects, whether they are websites or apps. The ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, regulates online sites to ensure nobody is discriminated against based on a disability. This applies to all online content.
Websites should have accommodations for those with visual and hearing impairments along with others to make the experience equal across the board. It can cost your company up to $75,000 in fines for a first offense of not complying with ADA standards.
Even big-name companies have had run-ins with ADA noncompliance. While it will likely lead to a lawsuit, it is also very unethical to deprive individuals of access to online resources. In addition to this, not following the guidelines is losing potential customers for the company who require accommodations.
ADA compliance for healthcare websites is especially important. As a field that helps care for those with disabilities, it is vital that healthcare providers offer digital platforms that are easily accessible to these individuals. Without resources that disabled clients can use, it is likely that patients will leave for more easily accessible providers.
To avoid the consequences of not complying with ADA regulations, it is best to just follow them accurately. Here are five simple steps that will help keep you from a hefty lawsuit.
- Stay Updated on Compliance Standards
It’s hard to make your website ADA compliant without knowing exactly what you have to do. The standards are often changing, so it is necessary to check for updates over time.
A quick search will yield many results that express the current ADA compliance standards. It is worth taking the few minutes to read the information rather than it costing your company thousands of dollars.
In the long run, ADA compliance is more beneficial than detrimental. While it saves lawsuits, it also raises your credibility and gives you an advantage among competitors. More people can effectively access your website!
- Use a Professional Development Company
Hiring outside help to ensure ADA compliance might be expensive but is still worth the peace of mind knowing your digital project will not lead to a lawsuit.
Many professional development companies exist that best know the standards for ADA compliance. In addition, they can ensure that the look and functionality of the website are not compromised due to any changes that need to be made.
The financial toll upfront will be worth more than having to pay large fines and potentially losing customers because of ADA noncompliance. Is it worth risking your reputation and ultimately losing more? Professionals exist to help and will make sure you avoid legal trouble connected to ADA compliance.
- The organization is Key!
Anyone can appreciate a website with a nice layout and easy navigation. But consider the importance of organization to an individual with a disability. Ease of use is crucial in the development of any site and is particularly important in not discriminating.
All links and menus on the website should be clearly laid out from one another to ensure effective navigation. Anyone should be able to access your site and get where they need to without a headache.
An unclear website will turn away users and will definitely raise red flags for the ADA. Font colors should properly contrast with backgrounds, graphics should be descriptive, and links need to be accurate. This ensures that disabled users can use reading software to navigate the site or better see the information.
- Make Your Content Easy to Read
Web content should almost always be conversational, but did you know this follows ADA compliance standards? This writing style allows readers to absorb the most important information from the content with a quick read through. This style is most effective to ensure a clear understanding of content.
Using headings and subheadings to better organize online content is a key way to keep readers focused and allow all readers to best understand the material. Information is broken up into smaller sections this way, so readers don’t feel like it is all being thrown at them at once.
Lengthy sentences and big words prevent readers (or listeners) from comprehending content quickly. If they have to consider the meaning, they will quickly lose interest and are less likely to benefit from what you are offering.
- Offer Language Translations
ADA compliance ensures that nobody is discriminated against for any reason, their language included. With this in mind, it is worth noting that pages should be easily translated. Having a development professional code your text with translations is essential for ease of you among those who use screen readers.
Think of the vast number of customers you will reach if you offer multiple translations for your page. The ADA compliance requirements are not as much of a hassle as you may think, so it is worth taking the time to adhere to the guidelines.
Being able to reach large audiences is important for any company, and the requirements that the ADA has set in place will only enhance this task. No person should be excluded from gaining knowledge just because it is online. Websites should consider those who need assistance and take the time to support them.
The risks of not being ADA compliant are much too large. Huge companies like Netflix and Nike faced lawsuits because they did not comply with ADA standards. The fines are hefty, and your reputation will suffer as a result of perceived discrimination.
Following these few steps will help keep you on the path to ADA compliance. At the end of the day, it will benefit your company and allow it to reach masses of audiences. Save yourself the stress before risking your reputation in the future.
This article was contributed by Julian Gnanteco @ JGBilling