The Americans with Disabilities Act has helped to protect the needs and interests of individuals with disabilities since 1990. This vital piece of legislation ensures that businesses do not accidentally discriminate against people who have disabilities. Since its inception, the Internet and digital age has grown significantly. The amount of growth is precisely why organizations should use an ADA compliance checker to seamlessly communicate with the individuals who are disabled.
The “Who” Of ADA Guidelines
It is important to note that the ADA does not have specific web accessibility standards. However, where the lack of specificity is prevalent, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has stepped in to ensure that websites are accessible to those individuals with disabilities. If the website is not accessible, then the business must provide an “accessible alternative” under the DOJ guidelines. In addition to following ADA and DOJ guidelines, organizations should ensure that their websites meet the technical requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.¹
The “What” Of ADA Compliance
Now that you understand who is involved in ADA compliance, it is important to understand the “what.” As an organization, you are required to create a website that can be used by individuals with disabilities. Failure to build your website to meet the needs of a disabled person is not only unfair, but it also violates certain civil rights. In this vein, an ADA compliance checker will help you to remove the online barriers that might make your website inaccessible to those individuals with disabilities. As you begin to remove online barriers, you can refer to the technology guidelines found in the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG): WCAG 2.1.
The “Where” Of ADA Requirements
ADA requirements apply to certain areas and types of organizations. These organizations include:
- A state or local government agency
- A non-profit service provider that is a place of public accommodation
- A privately operated entity offering certain types of educational courses and examinations
- A privately operated transportation organization or commercial facility
They also include Title II and Title III organizations. To discover if your organization falls within the above areas, you can visit the ADA.gov website.
The “When” Of ADA Compliance
The short answer is: right now. If you are not ADA compliant, then you will fail to communicate successfully with those individuals who experience mental and physical disabilities. Additionally, your organization could be subject to fines and lawsuits, if you fail to create an ADA compliant website. Whether it is from fines or a loss of potential clients, you simply can’t afford to wait if you want to become ADA compliant. The good news is that you can and should leverage the power of a proven ADA compliance checker as you take the first steps towards becoming ADA compliant.
The “Why” Of Becoming ADA Compliant
Every year, plaintiffs file cases against organizations that have failed to make their websites digitally accessible. This is a direct violation of certain civil rights² and can be incredibly frustrating and detrimental to the livelihood and general well-being of individuals with disabilities. In essence, this is the first factor in why you should become ADA compliant.
The second reason that you should become ADA compliant has to do with customer experience. A Forrester study revealed that 90 percent³ of customers say that a good experience is vital to their online success. Additionally, 86 percent of buyers will actually pay more for a product or service if it is accompanied by a better customer experience. When you consider that 15 percent of the global population have a disability, the moral of the story is simple: the disability market is one that should not be ignored. These individuals can and should be able to enjoy a seamless experience that makes them want to do business with your organization. If you fail to make your website digitally accessible, then you miss out on the market opportunity that is represented by the over 190 million individuals with disabilities.
The “How” Of An ADA Compliance Checker
An ADA compliance checker works by methodically conducting a series of both automated and manual accessibility tests on your digital properties.4 These extensive tests will result in a comprehensive report and evaluation, where analysis will reveal how and where online barriers occurred. The ADA compliance checker then will actively recommend ways to resolve the online barriers.
The “Why” Of An ADA Compliance Checker
As mentioned in the preceding sections, there are several reasons why your organization needs an ADA compliance checker. From avoiding hefty fines associated with ADA non-compliance, to making sure that you are not hindering the digital experience of any group of people, ensuring that your site is compliant is a win-win scenario.
To learn about how our automated testing tool is helping organizations across all industries achieve ADA compliance, contact a member of the eSSENTIAL Accessibility team today for a personalized demo.
- WCAG 2.0 and 2.1. W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, January 2018
- Website Access and Other ADA Title III Lawsuits Hit Record Numbers Sefarth Shaw, 2018
- Real-Time Customer Experience, A Forrester Paper by CEO George Colony, July 2018
- Checking Compliance With The ADA: This Is The Gold Standard, eSSENTIAL Accessibility, February 2019