The New Year presents a fresh start and new opportunities to improve your business. With the start of the New Year, now is the perfect time to reflect on your business and decide what you want to do different.
Sun Sign Designs is encouraging all businesses to add this goal to their list:
Ensure Your Website is ADA Compliant.
Digital accessibility provides people with disabilities the opportunity to interact with digital content confidently and independently. Making digital accessibility a priority for your business’s website is the best New Year’s resolution. Why? Because everyone deserves the opportunity to access and enjoy your business’s website without difficulty.
With more than 1 billion people around the world using assistive technology, there is an obvious need for websites to be accessible to all of their users. Through this one resolution, your business will become more inclusive, expand audience reach, mitigate legal risk, and enhance brand reputation.
What is ADA Compliance?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) legally requires businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities. Your business’s website falls under Title III of ADA and is considered a place of public accommodation. As a result, the website owner is solely responsible for developing a website that offers “reasonable accessibility.” Failure to meet ADA compliance can result in lawsuits, fines, and damage to your brand reputation—but most importantly, it prevents a portion of your audience from using your website.
What Your Business Can Do To Improve Digital Accessibility This Year
In today’s age, digital experiences pervade nearly every aspect of our lives. It’s important to make those experiences available to everyone. What can your business do this year to improve its digital accessibility?
- Perform a Digital Accessibility Audit
Learning where your website currently lacks ADA Compliance is the first step to improving your digital accessibility. Evaluating your website and finding its shortcomings in digital accessibility will give your business a clear path to move toward a more inclusive digital experience. When done right, the audit will help your business identify accessibility barriers on your website and help you understand how well your digital content currently conforms to accessibility standards like WCAG.
- Get Familiar with WCAG Guidelines
Unlike ADA Compliance, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) isn’t a legal requirement. However, it is the most-referenced set of standards in website accessibility lawsuits and is widely considered the best way to achieve website accessibility. In fact, even certain court rulings have ordered businesses in breach of ADA to rebuild their websites with WCAG standards in mind. Even though WCAG isn’t mentioned specifically in ADA, it does provide the gold standard for website accessibility.
WCAG is a set of digital accessibility standards that focus on assisting individuals with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments. It is organized into four major categories: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR). Review POUR in more depth here.
- Focus on User Experience
When designing your website, focus on the experience of all users. This means your website’s elements are easily accessible to all. No user will have to ask for features that will accommodate them. Rather, those inclusive features will be available as soon as they land on your site. How can you provide inclusive features as soon as your customers land on your website? Read on below.
- Implement an Accessibility Tool
Digital accessibility tools like widgets make websites immediately available to every web user and ensure websites are ADA compliant. Using an accessibility widget is an affordable solution that simplifies and streamlines digital accessibility. Widgets provide an interface that allows all users to customize the website to their individual needs. As a result, users can personally adjust your site’s design to suit their accessibility needs. This could include changing font sizes, switching to keyboard navigation, using a screen reader, changing color contrasts, and more.
Sun Sign Designs offers a full suite of digital accessibility solutions to help your business’s website meet ADA Compliance. There’s no need to overhaul your website and rewrite code—we will seamlessly integrate our AI-powered accessibility widget into your website. We offer a secure and easy compliance solution that doesn’t require reworking your entire site.
- Have an Accessibility Statement
By making a good-faith effort to achieve reasonable accessibility for people with disabilities, businesses can avoid potential fines, lawsuits, and losing valued customers. With that said, it is also important for your business to have a statement outlining your ADA Compliance efforts and inviting users to give your business feedback.
With an accessibility statement, your business will show users that you care about accessibility and about them, provide customers information about the accessibility of your content, demonstrate social responsibility, and display a strong commitment to inclusivity on the Internet.
Want to discuss digital accessibility and ADA Compliance in more depth? Contact us today to schedule a strategy session.