Oct 5, 2022
Your website needs to be ADA compliant. In this post, the leading Florida internet marketing company explains why!
In 2010, the US Department of Justice pulled a huge move: it passed the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, mandating that organizations across the country must become accessible to everyone in the disability community.
This act requires businesses to make their websites accessible to everybody, including people who need to navigate a website by voice, with screen readers, or other assistive technologies.
Now, what happens if you fail to build an ADA-compliant website?
Well, you face the serious risk of lawsuits or fines coming your way. Even if you have zero intention to discriminate or exclude people with disabilities from visiting your site, you could be forced to pay thousands of dollars.
Any website that provides full access to those with disabilities and makes it easy for them to navigate is considered ADA-compliant.
Then again, it’s important to note that the ADA has yet to set any clear rules for website compliance. For this reason, the board recommends organizations to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) instead, which is an international set of standards used to improve digital accessibility.
The WCAG guidelines have a three-tiered grading system:
Level A: Bare minimum level of accessibility
Level AA: Target level of accessibility meeting legal requirements
Level AAA: Exceeds accessibility requirements
Meeting the Level AA compliance standards may already be good enough, but as a Florida internet marketing company, we strongly suggest you design your website to be 100% compliant so nobody gets excluded. Along with being a good thing to do, making your website compliant can help you get opportunities you might otherwise miss out on!
There are currently three versions of WCAG: 1.0, 2.0, and 2.1. As with many businesses, you can use the 2.1 guidelines as your reference point. They ensure your web content is:
All your visitors should be able to perceive all the information on your website, including text, images, videos, and everything else. The goal here is to offer alternatives to create accessibility, such as closed captioning for those who can’t hear, and audio or assistive technology for those with visual impairment.
Users should have the capability to navigate your website and use all its features with ease. Providing keyboard accessibility, for instance, will help people with disabilities browse your website and access content seamlessly.
Everyone who visits your site should find your content easy to understand. Make sure there are instructions that come with the site tools, forms, navigation menu, and just about any features your website offers.
Even if you’re using assistive technologies to make life easier for disabled users, you still want them to have the same overall experience as the rest of your audience. In short, all your content must be universal. You don’t have to shorten descriptions, explanations, directions, and whatnot.
By following these guidelines to at least level AA, ADA compliance won’t be an issue for your business. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you’re not at risk for any lawsuits and penalties.
Additionally, you can consult with a lawyer who specializes in disability law. It’s also a good idea to hire an expert if you wish to learn more about WCAG and what adjustments should be made to your website. There are certain ADA compliance services available to assist you in recognizing website noncompliance.
Or, if you want to learn things on your own first, reading the ADA requirements should be your best bet.
Failing to make your website ADA-compliant can hurt your business. Your site will be targeted by a wave of lawsuits. And according to David Engelhardt, a NYC-based small business attorney, the costs of an ADA lawsuit can add up fast.
The severity of the violation will determine the outcome. In extreme cases, ADA lawsuits have been known to result in settlements of up to $25,000. Worse, if there are other issues found, it could likely cost the company a total of one million dollars.
That’s not all. Other than these excruciating penalties, businesses that don’t comply with the ADA will need to account for the cost of a lawyer to represent them in court, which can be as much as $1,000 per hour.
Imagine the hundreds of thousands of dollars your company will lose just because of a non-ADA-compliant website. That should be enough reason to rebuild your site and make it accessible as possible.
Besides avoiding excruciating penalties, increasing your website accessibility can also bring you a huge reward in the form of a tax credit.
The IRS has made it a point to provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to small businesses. Its policy, the IRS Site Tax Credit, states that small businesses are eligible for a 50% credit for ADA-related expenditures that cost over $250 but should not exceed $10,250.
To be qualified, though, your company should either have an annual revenue of less than $1 million or fewer than 30 full-time employees. If you do meet the standards, you can claim the tax incentive through the Disabled Access Credit on IRS Form 8826.
Learn more about how you can get an IRS tax credit from web accessibility here.
There’s no better way to steer clear of expensive ADA lawsuits and offer a superb user experience than by working with a Florida internet marketing company that possesses extensive knowledge on the WCAG 2.1 standards.
Our team of specialists here at Digital Resource will be more than happy to optimize your site to serve people with disabilities and expand your reach. You can fully count on them to get your website complying to the ADA. Oh, and they’ll also make sure to improve your search engine rankings so more people will learn about your business!
Get in touch with us today to learn more!