ADA Compliance: A Primer and its ImportanceSeptember 1, 2018 Peter A. Liefer II
This blog was first published on this website on January 23, 2017 and was updated to reflect the latest available information
The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA calls for businesses and service providers, profit and nonprofit, to make their products and services accessible for people with disabilities. Websites and digital media are not exempted from this law.
In fact, compliance with the ADA applies to all companies with at least 15 people in their workforce. The requirement is enforced to these qualifiers, but it doesn’t mean that smaller businesses don’t get to join in the fun. They can still reap the benefits by making sure that their websites are compliant with the ADA. It improves businesses by reaching further out to more potential customers and by hindering accountability.
Technology and ADA Compliance
Businesses and web developers should incorporate features that are ADA compliant in whatever digital media or platform they manage. Since the birth of the digital age, companies have been increasingly relying on the internet to execute their different business operations. These companies are also becoming more and more knowledgeable of what ADA compliance means and how it could benefit their business and online operations.
Accessibility to developing technology is progressively becoming a crucial part of our everyday lives. We use various media and not to mention the Internet to help us with all kinds of tasks, from the mundane–like connecting with our friends and family from far away–to the more essential–such as in banking and applying for health care.
This accessibility should not be limited to capable individuals. It should also come in handy for those who are not as capable as they are. The good news is that ADA compliance is very easy to attain. On the other hand, it poses a legal challenge since there are several different compliance levels and considerations to be taken into account.
Why Is ADA Compliance Important for Websites?
Now that you have a background of what ADA is, the next subject to tackle would be why is it important and to what extent is its importance? Okay, first of all, ADA compliance checklist was brought to life because there was a need for it. So, to answer the question “How important is ADA?” we should understand the very reason of its existence.
Address People’s Accessibility Issues
The primary reason as to why ADA is such a big deal because people are starting to complain about website accessibility. Websites of educational institutions like college and e-commerce sites have received thousands of complaints about their site’s accessibility. It is a known fact that a lot of people with disabilities are part of the college population and a good number of consumers online may have disabilities. In a nutshell, the ADA compliance checklist is essential to cater to everyone’s needs and introduce the essence of equality even in the virtual world.
Another reason why businesses should consider ADA when building their site is the fact that it could help them expand their service. You see, ADA is not only made to cater people with disabilities; it also gives businesses and enterprises a chance to widen their bases and networks.
If before, a business only caters to millions of site visitors a month, with ADA compliance, they can expand their services and also cater to people with disabilities. And let’s be honest; there are millions of people with disabilities worldwide. If people, with disabilities or not, can easily access your website, then your network will grow in no time.
Have Tax Incentives
Yes, you got it right! If your website is ADA compliant, then you are entitled to some tax incentives. Apparently, a tax credit will be given to all businesses that comply with ADA. This tax incentive can be used to improve the accessibility of the site like providing Braille, audio tapes, and changing fonts to bigger print.
So, if you want to lower your taxes and improve your website at the same time, then complying to ADA checklist is rather a big deal on your end. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone— pay lower taxes and have a better website.
To know more about these tax incentives and check whether your business is eligible for these credits, you can visit the ADA’s Fact Sheets.
ADA Compliance Jurisdiction
The ADA applies to the following businesses:
- Private companies with at least 15 people on its payroll
- Local and state public sectors, including both programmed and physical access to programs and services rendered (under Title II of the ADA)
- Public facilities and nonprofit businesses (under Title III of the ADA)
- Online businesses
Meanwhile, if you are working with the federal government, be it direct or indirect, you are regarded under a completely different legislation–the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, specifically under Section 508. This legislation takes into account several limitations that may be crucial to your web design.
Tips for Complying with the ADA Standards
ADA compliance means meeting the standards of the WCAG 2.0. Although the basic guidelines and fundamentals are kept constant, techniques that you can work with are regularly brought up to date as technology. This particularly because the internet is constantly evolving. If you’re a web developer, it is essential that you keep yourself informed with new techniques.
The following are just some of the techniques that you can use to make sure your website complies with the ADA:
- Include text alternatives and captions for multimedia
- Present content in multiple ways
- Develop assistive tactics and technologies
- Provide keyboard shortcuts for all website functionalities
- Develop assistive navigation to make it easier to find information
- Minimize potentially seizure-inducing content
- Ensure easy user readability for all text
- Make the site is compatible with all devices
Three Levels of ADA/WCAG 2.0 Compliance
Level A compliance to the ADA is the least beneficial to users with a disability. This level focuses on easy navigation and readability, which includes various preferential options like font size and language.
Level AA compliant websites include more significant features like text-to-speech capability and text alternatives to non-text content, error identification, and color contrast options.
The most stringent level of ADA/WCAG 2.0 compliance makes the website accessible to most people with disabilities. Websites that comply to this level provide sign language in all multimedia and content presented in multiple ways.
Want to read more about ADA compliance and your website? Read here: Website Accessibility under Title II of the ADA
To make sure your website is ADA compliant, look for a professional web developer or just contact us at PrimeView to shed light on this topic. It is needless to say that ADA compliance plays a crucial role in website developing.