Digital accessibility is focused on designing or adapting digital spaces, content, and tools—like websites or apps—so people with disabilities can use them. Digital accessibility provides people with disabilities the opportunity to interact with digital content confidently and independently.
With more than 1 billion people around the world using assistive technology, such as text-to-speech software, there is an obvious need for websites to be accessible to all of their users. How accessible is your business’s website?
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 is WCAG?
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).
All content and website components must be presented in a way all users can perceive. This means every user who visits your website should have the means to perceive, or comprehend, information, such as your website’s text, images, or video. Users must be given the option to achieve this either directly or through alternative options, such as text alternatives like a text transcript or audio captions for a video.
User interface components and navigation must be operable for all users. This means all website users should have the ability to navigate your website and use its features. Users should not have an issue using main navigation, a search bar, or other tools. Websites can implement keyboard accessibility to allow users to navigate the site and find content via their keyboard.
Your website, content, and digital operations must perform in a way and be accessed in a way that is easy to predict and understand. This means users must be able to understand the information and the basic operation of the website, being both readable and predictable.
Your website and content must be “robust” enough so they are compatible with assistive technologies and can be reliably interpreted by assistive technologies. Essentially, your website must provide all site visitors with the same experience.
WCAG Compliance Levels
WCAG Compliance has different levels of conformance depending on how much a website implements. Each level consists of higher adherence with more robust, comprehensive standards.
A: This is the most basic level. It is fairly easy to achieve with minimal impact to a website’s structure or design.
AA: This level is the most commonly referenced in legal proceedings. According to previous rulings, achieving AA standards of WCAG compliance makes a website acceptably accessible.
AAA: This is the most comprehensive standard for digital accessibility and includes a higher set of benchmarks in order to achieve it.
Digital Accessibility Benefits
Maintaining an ADA-compliant website helps protect your business against potential lawsuits and fines in addition to providing inclusive accommodations for all of your customers. ADA-compliant websites expand audience reach, enrich SEO efforts, improve brand reputation, enhance user experience, and offer businesses tax benefits.
By making a good-faith effort to achieve reasonable accessibility for people with disabilities, businesses can avoid potential fines, lawsuits, and losing valued customers.
Does your business need help becoming ADA Compliant?
Sun Sign Designs offers a full suite of digital accessibility solutions to help your 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.
To find out more about ADA website compliance and how you can protect your business, contact Sun Sign Designs today!