Accessibility matters. This should be obvious, but more and more we’re realizing that not everyone builds their websites with this crucial piece in mind. Not having a website that is ADA compliant means that you are preventing a part of the population – and a part of your audience, since they’re on your site – from interacting with you. More than that, it can get you into big legal trouble.
What is Accessibility for Websites?
As defined by Wikipedia, accessibility is:
“Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both ‘direct access’ (i.e. unassisted) and ‘indirect access’ meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers).”
So, how does this relate to you and your business? It means that if those who are, for example, visually impaired arrive at a website that is designed such that they aren’t able to see it clearly, then you’re unnecessarily making things more difficult for that part of the population, and certainly losing their potential business. WordPress is making it easier than ever to ensure your website is ADA compliant, so there’s really no excuse!
Avoid Legal Pitfalls by Making it Compliant
These considerations include contrast, colors, and text size, but there are more things to think about. Those who are deaf or hearing impaired should be able to have captions on all videos and/or text transcripts for those videos (and any audio clips). If you aren’t sure how to check whether or not your website is ADA compliant as it currently stands, then there are a lot of websites that can analyze and report back, and a lot of plugins and tools to help get it in good shape if it isn’t already.
Unfortunately, if some aren’t motivated by the desire to successfully reach as many people as possible, then they may be more compelled by the common consequences of not making your site compliant. “Last year, there were 2,285 ADA website lawsuits filed in federal courts across the nation, an increase of a 181 percent from 2017, according to website accessibility company UsableNet.” Small businesses in particular need to ensure their website is compliant, lest they face legal repercussions.
Users who utilize a screen reader on an e-commerce site, for example, need to have access to underlying code on the site that, when in place, allows the screen reader to do its job. Without that, they’re prevented from, in this case, shopping. Without having any chance to interact with the website or online store, that business is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and will likely get in trouble as a result.
Need a Partner in Web Accessibility?
If you’re concerned about this – and you should be – then the best place to start is to check if your own website is compliant. It’s certainly better to be safe than sorry, but more than that, it’s important – and our collective responsibility – to create a shared, accessible experience for all. Creating a mindset of inclusion will ensure a better experience online for everyone. Those involved with the lawsuits state that their intention isn’t to “go after small businesses,” as larger companies are guilty of this as well. They urge “business owners to take a serious look at their websites and make sure that a person with visual or hearing disabilities can use their site.”
That’s where we come in! At Eyler Creative, we want to be a part of making the web usable for everyone. If you aren’t sure whether or not your website is ADA compliant, or if you’ve had issues in the past and need to get your site in better shape, then get in touch with Eyler Creative today!