The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that any facility open to the public must be accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. This requirement extends to online facilities as well, where websites must be accessible and usable by people with disabilities, regardless of their web browser or assistive technologies they use. A great deal of thought and planning should go into making sure your site complies with the ADA’s accessibility requirements in order to avoid discrimination lawsuits, lost customers, and other issues that can result from non-compliance.
What is ADA Compliance?
ADA compliance is a legal issue that website owners have to consider before going live. The acronym ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed by Congress in 1990 to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities and ensure they could gain access to privately-owned businesses. Those who do not comply can be sued under Title III of ADA, which states that no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or manages) a place of public accommodation. Nowadays ADA compliance solution for websites has become increasingly popular as over 1 billion people in US have disabilities.
Is Your Website Compliant?
If your website is not ADA compliant, you may be subject to an ADA lawsuit. Make sure your site follows ADA guidelines and has a way to make it accessible, even if you plan on building a mobile app at some point. For example, can someone using screen-reading software navigate your site? If not, get yourself some legal help right away and start fixing issues on your site as soon as possible. There are several free online resources that can help businesses understand how to make their websites comply with ADA regulations. Be sure to check them out before submitting any web design work or making changes on existing sites.
How Do You Make Your Website Compliant?
The first step to addressing ADA compliance is knowing what you need to comply with. The ADA and Section 508 specifically require that individuals with disabilities be provided access to and use of information on your website. This means that if your business receives federal funding, you may already be subject to complying with these regulations in addition to any local requirements. If your company does not receive federal funding, then it’s still a good idea to make sure your website meets web accessibility standards so as not to alienate or confuse people who might come across it. For more information about how disability access laws apply to businesses, check out www.ada.gov/cguide/Businesses_and_Communities/index.html
Does It Cost Extra to Be Compliant?
It’s understandable to wonder if an ADA compliance program will cost you more. After all, many businesses have never had to worry about ADA regulations before, and they probably don’t have a dedicated legal team at their disposal. So it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that adhering to disability-access laws could come with a hefty price tag. Thankfully, there are lots of ways on becoming ADA compliant without breaking your budget or making drastic changes to your operations. Our hope is that these strategies will keep costs down—so you can focus your resources on building an accessible web site instead of fretting over legal fees.
How Can You Reduce the Costs?
ADA compliance solutions have been available on commercial and government websites for some time now. However, many of these systems are costly, slow and come with additional charges for specialized help. Some of them are so complicated that they require you to outsource a team of developers to make any changes or additions to your website. If you’re looking for ADA compliance solution that isn’t too expensive and won’t cause headaches down the road, it’s a good idea to start exploring ADA-compliant templates and themes.
Does a Lawyer Review Your Site Before You Launch It?
Do you think your website is up to code? It’s a good idea to get a second opinion, especially if you’re trying to open a business in an industry that requires compliance with strict rules and regulations. For example, if you’re opening a restaurant, it makes sense to hire an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) consultant. The ADA requires businesses that are open to the public (even online!) to be fully accessible by people with disabilities. Make sure your site is as accessible as possible: Have all of your pages checked out by someone who knows what they’re doing. You may find yourself needing more than one person.