ADA compliant websites has become a huge topic recently and if yours isn’t complaint you could be opening up your business to a whole host of problems. There has been a recent rash of lawsuits against websites that are not ADA compliant. If a suit is brought against your business, it could be catastrophic.
This recent rash of lawsuits even received media coverage locally here in Tampa on news channel 8. They did 2 stories, one of which we were interviewed for. Last year there was over 2,000 of these lawsuits filed and the settlements ranged from a few thousand to over twenty thousand dollars. Amounts like that would cripple, if not devastate, most small businesses.
What makes a site ADA compliant? Well there are actually no rules in the ADA governing websites which is what makes this difficult. Where the guidelines come from is mostly case law from how these lawsuits are decided. So how do you know if your website is compliant? I would first start by running your website through a tester like this one https://www.webaccessibility.com/. This test will tell you how accessible your website really is.
So what makes a website ADA compliant? Well first you need to make sure all of your text can be read by a screen reader. Also, all of your meta and alt tags need to readable to a screen reader as well. Making sure your website design works well in high contrast is another big one. There are many, many things that need to be done to make sure your website is accessible to those with disabilities.
What can you do about it? First, I would start by running your site through the accessibility test linked above. Then I would work with my web developer to find out if your business is at risk. If your website was built correctly from the start, it should take no more than a few hours of work to make your website compliant. However, it could become a large project if corners were cut when your website was built. If your images don’t have alt tags, then that’s a problem, if your slider or hero image has unreadable text in the images, that is a problem as well. Again, if you worked with a competent company to build your website then it should be no more than a few hours of work.
This is something so new that we ourselves are just really getting a grip on what it takes to make a website ADA compliant. In 2018 and before, I had never heard anything about websites needing to be ADA compliant. Now in 2019, it’s all the buzz and making sure your website is compliant should be relatively high up on your list.