As a business owner serving the public, you’ve probably gone to great lengths to ensure that your environment is accommodating to the disabled. You’ve added handicapped parking and removed obstacles outfitted accessible bathrooms and entranceways, and made sure that service animals are welcome in your establishment.
However, accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act extends beyond the physical environment. If your website and virtual offerings aren’t equally available to those who are sight or hearing impaired or whose physical limitations which keep them from accessing your website, then your business is not fully ADA accessible.
So the question is…What’s stopping you?
Maybe you are not sure if your website is accessible. Or you’re just not sure if accessibility laws apply to you. It could be your team doesn’t have the knowledge or capability to implement accessibility on your website or there could be other reasons.
Are you worried that your business is a target for non-accessibility compliance lawsuits under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or that you might be missing sales opportunities from those 55 million people with disabilities in the USA market? Stop worrying because we’re here with Frequently asked questions by companies looking into website accessibility including some do’s and don’ts.
1: How to become ADA compliant?
The first step to becoming ADA compliant is to decide to buy a software solution service or hire a developer or consultant that can provide a programing solution for your current site. Trying to adjust your website yourself is very difficult requiring many skills and software tools that have to be combined to attain compliance.. The difficulty in a do it yourself solution is that you will never really know if your site is compliant unless at the end of your adjustments you hire an expert to test your site from top to bottom usually being an expensive proposition because what they find is wrong still has to be adjusted and then tested again. Make sure that the solution you pick will grant you a Certificate of compliance when the job is done.
2: How to make my website ADA compliant?
You have 4 choices, 1 Buy a Turnkey Solution that comes with a Certificate of compliance, 2 Hire a service provider that will Analyze, Remediate/adjust and maintain your site going forward and then issue you a Certificate of compliance, 3 Hire a web developer who has the service available to Analyze, Remediate/adjust and maintain future site changes issuing a Certificate of compliance, 4 Hire a consultant to analyze and tell you what elements of your site need to be adjusted to comply and then use points 1,2 or 3 for your steps to attain compliance and never take an option that does not come with a Certificate of compliance.
There is always the option of Doing it yourself if you have the staff to do the job, it is possible but not recommended by the writer as you will not have a professionally provided Certificate of compliance unless your firm is confident to do the Analysis, remediation/adjustment and maintenance yourselves and ongoing remediation work. In such a case of doing it yourself, the company is mitigating the risk of legal action but not eliminating it since it is difficult and sometimes internal programs lose focus so more testing is necessary to stay on top of accessibility.
3: What are the ADA guidelines for websites?
ADA guidelines are provided by the W3C world body whose guidelines are called WCAG 2.0 and soon to be 2.1. The WCAG guidelines are generally an accepted set of guidelines to follow when approaching the question of website accessibility. Following these guidelines will make content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including accommodations for blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these, and some accommodation for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations; but will not address every user need for people with these disabilities.
These guidelines address the accessibility of web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. & explains how to solve many of the problems that your users with disabilities face.
4: What are the ADA compliance requirements?
With technology usage only expected to increase, organizations must ensure that their websites are ADA compliant. So, what does that mean for you?
1) Review the website content accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0). these guidelines offer recommendations on how to make your website accessible. 2) Conduct an audit of your site using Access You Can which has a great tool to look for access issues, including missing alt tags, styles, etc. Make sure your images have descriptive alt tags. Alt tags are used by screen readers, players, and voiceovers to describe elements on a website to users. 3) Review your website’s styles and elements, such as headings, buttons, and links. Keep in mind “all” types of users who access your website, including those who experience disabilities. 4) Audit your website’s code. Have a developer review the code and CSS to ensure best practices are being utilized and clean up outdated code. With new ADA regulations for the Web planning to go into effect soon, it’s important to start taking steps to make your site ADA compliant.
5: How does accessiBe work?
accessiBe is a complex software that makes website accessibility look simple but it is not. Essentially, accessiBe inserts a one-line Java Script on the first page of your site that creates an interface view/window of your site that organizes your site so that it can be read by assistive technologies that disabled people use to help them navigate websites. This interface window has approximately 50 possible adjustments that can be made by the user from color adjustment, font size adjustment, flash speed adjustments and many other needed and required element adjustment options.
6: What is the Cost for website ADA compliance.?
I categorize the attainment of website accessibility into 2 options, 1 Buy software or hire a provider of a tool that creates an interface/window that assistive technologies can interact with while navigating your website and 2 Hire such service providers that will program your website to be accessible. The price range for both 1 and 2 goes from starting at $490 to $10,000 to $20,000 and could be higher, Depending on the size and complexity of your site. The more pages your site has that vary in programing makes the cost of attaining Accessibility more expensive. For example, if your website has 300 pages but every page has the same elements populated with different data the cost would be much lower than if multiple pages have multiple features and functions with different programing on multiple pages.
7: How to Avoid the ADA website lawsuit?
The latest move by the Supreme Court has essentially opened up the way for blind people to sue online retailers and e-commerce stores if their websites aren’t accessible. That means that if you fail to make your website easy to use for those with disabilities, you could fall victim to a lawsuit and face hefty legal bills at best and extensive fines at worst. Of course, if you’re struggling to decide if your website should be ADA compliant, don’t waste too much time deciding if you should do the right thing. The only way to avoid ADA lawsuits is to make your website accessible.
8: What’re the Do’s & Don’ts of making my website Accessible?
1: if you manage website accessibility internally, hire an expert to test your site regularly or at least 5 to 8 times per year if you make changes during any 2 month period and if no changes are done to the site after you have received your green light from your outsourced expert then you can skip one test cycle. Best practice actions are to Always update your accessibility as ongoing changes occur. The writer is not responsible for any legal action caused by the suggestions made here.
2 if you buy outsourced website accessibility expert services always make sure you can get a Certificate of compliance..
3 if your web developer programs your site to be accessible either get a certificate of compliance. from the developer or insist on a 3rd party expert for testing your site and remember to include and test site changes as time goes on.
1: Don’t add content on the website using images of text instead of text & without including text-based alternatives for any visual content.
2: Don’t put a limit on the audience by not providing an alternative way to digest this content, such as captions that are synched with the video.
3: Avoid making it difficult to separate information in the foreground and background for all the senses. Don’t rely on color only, like highlighting errors in red, add a text cue stating the error in case someone is colorblind or uses a monochrome display.
4: Don’t restrict your website to mouse navigation, allow all types of navigation such as using a keyboard. Allow the user full control and full functionality without needing a point-and-click device.
5: Do not stop at just making your site accessible by a keyboard, it should also be accessible by a pointer device, like a touch screen with a stylus.
6: Try to avoid surprises on your website. Instead, keep things predictable and familiar so users know how to interact with it. If you’re giving users an error, make sure they know what it means and how to fix it. If the user does encounter an error, make sure they can recover from it.highlight the fields that had errors, use visual cues like icons and written instructions instead of just color to show where the error was and how to fix it.
9: Our developer doesn’t know WCAG 2.0 requirements, can you help our team so we can become accessible?
WCAG 2.0 has over 50 standards in four sections – Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust. There are four different levels of compliance, A, AA, and AAA. It’s a huge amount of specialized knowledge needed. Most developers I’ve talked to do not have the needed knowledge nor time to learn it all. Most agencies don’t want to add the overhead of having an accessibility expert on staff and would rather partner with an expert who can work with their design and development team providing auditing and reporting on the accessibility errors on the website and providing the needed code to remediate them if needed.
Access You Can, the first & only automatic, AI-Powered website accessibility solution that delivers website accessibility with a certificate of compliance in 48 hours with a 15-minute installation for $490 finding you a potential 55 million new clients is how your company can easily cope with all aspects of accessibility. The only true 96% compliance software solution that specializes in the WCAG 2.1AA standard and knows the ins and outs of ADA compliance. The software helps people with disabilities participate more actively in society & helps business owners avoid website accessibility lawsuits.
Ensuring that you comply with website accessibility standards won’t just help you avoid lawsuits though, it’ll leave you much better equipped for long-term success in the growing digital world. After all, apart from all the accessibility issues and legislation, making sure that your website is accessible is also good business – especially if it means that more people can buy from you.