Why ADA Compliance is Crucial for Your Website

ADA Compliance is nothing new, and is extremely important to ensure that you are not excluding or inhibiting users from having a stellar experience on your website.   

Unfortunately, having a website that is not ADA compliant can have an impact on your customers, and your business’ bottom line. In fact, 74% of ADA-based lawsuits were filed against eCommerce sites in 2022, with over half of them being filed against companies with less than $25 million dollars in revenue. On average, ADA lawsuits have been known to draw as high as $26,000 worth of compensation for the settlement amount, legal fees, and remediation fees for fixing your website. 

These numbers aren’t meant to scare you; they’re to give insight as to how costly this can be for your business. 

Fortunately, staying ahead of the curve when it comes to compliance is manageable, and can safeguard your business. In this post, we’ll highlight what it means to be ADA compliant, and the steps you can take to achieve and maintain compliance. 

Let’s dive in by defining what exactly ADA compliance is. 

What is ADA Compliance? 

In short, the definition of ADA Compliance is the ability to create high-quality websites and web tools, and to not exclude people with disabilities from using your products and services. When you have a website (and web tools) that are designed, and coded, for people with disabilities, you are offering them the accessibility and user-experience that they need to interact with your website. Not only is this extremely beneficial from a business standpoint, but more-importantly from a societal perspective as well. ADA Compliance and web accessibility allows people with disabilities the ability to navigate and interact with the web, while also contributing as well.    

Why is ADA Compliance Important? 

ADA compliance is essential for eCommerce sites, because it ensures that your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. By making an eCommerce site ADA compliant, it ensures that users with disabilities can easily access your site and its content. This includes ensuring that the site is compatible with screen readers, providing alternative text for images, ensuring that the site is navigable with a keyboard, and providing closed captions for videos.

Not only does ADA compliance make an eCommerce site accessible to more users, but it also helps to avoid potential legal issues (and costs) like we mentioned earlier. The ADA Compliance act allows for individuals with disabilities to file lawsuits against businesses that fail to comply with ADA standards. Ensuring your site is ADA compliant can help avoid costly legal fees and more-importantly improve the overall user experience for all users.

How does ADA Compliance Benefit my Business?

Like we mentioned briefly in the previous section, having your website be ADA compliant can avoid users from taking legal action against your business. 

Outside of preventing potential legal action, there are three more positives to making your site ADA compliant. 

1. Enhancing your user experience for all users:

While making your site compliant positively impacts those with disabilities, it can also impact all users across your site as well by providing a better user experience. For example, making accommodations for ADA compliance can improve your site’s navigation, readability, and overall usability, making it easier for users to find the information they’re looking for. In turn, this can also lead to increased engagement, repeat visits, and higher conversion rates. 

2. Improving SEO: 

Having your site be ADA compliant can also provide a lift for your site’s SEO as well. Google favors sites that are accessible and user friendly in their search results, and if your site is better than your competitors, you will most-likely rank higher than them. This can lead to more visibility, and more customers! 

3. Reach a wider audience: 

Making your website accessible to people with disabilities can help you reach a broader audience. In the US alone, approximately one in four adults has some form of disability. By making your website accessible, you can tap into this market and attract more potential customers. Furthermore, you will be establishing yourself as a brand that cares about the customer base. As brands “becoming more human” has been a trend for the last few years, showing empathy, and accommodation will go a long way. 

How do I become ADA compliant?

We wanted to start off this section by stating that no site, no matter how much effort you put in, will be 100% ADA compliant. The goal is to make a reasonable effort to comply with the requirements of the ADA. When we look at making your website ADA compliant, our recommendation is to break it into three parts: 

1. Create a Plan

In order to make your site ADA compliant, everyone will need to be involved from your team, along with your agency partner’s technical team. 

2. Remediate any issues

Your agency partner will work to identify a11y issues, and create a plan for fixing them. If you’re launching a new project, it will start by following the WCAG standards. At this point, you may be asking yourself, “what are the WCAG standards?” Allow us to answer! 

The WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. These guidelines are organized under four principles: 

  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust

WCAG has testable success criteria in levels which are A, AA, and AAA, and there are descriptions of the intent of the success criteria including benefits, as well as examples. In the next section, we’ll highlight some common failing standards. 

3. Maintain your site, and keep it accessible

From time to time, it is important to run accessibility reviews, and stay on top of any changes that come through, or if there is anything that fails. Some common failing WCAG standards are: 

  • Non-text content: All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose.
  • Keyboard: All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface.
  • Color contrast: The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1
  • Link purpose: The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone or from the link text together with its programmatically determined link context. 

Can 121eCommerce help me become ADA compliant? 

Yes! 121eCommerce has a team of developers that are certified from the US’ Department of Homeland Security that can help your site become ADA compliant. Just send us a quick email, or give us a call, and we will be able to help your site become ADA compliant. 

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