What do Domino’s, Amazon, and Nike have in common?
Stumped? They have all been sued for not taking the proper steps to make sure the content on their websites is accessible to people with disabilities. Just like businesses are required to have accessible parking and ramps, it's necessary to make websites and other digital assets usable for people with disabilities.
According to a study of the home pages for the top 1,000,000 websites, over 51 million distinct accessibility errors were detected. Meeting these requirements isn't just a legal issue, though — creating an accessible site is beneficial for your bottom line and for the social responsibility we have as organizations and humans.
Not-so-fun fact: In 2020, over 2,500 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III website accessibility lawsuits were filed in federal courts. In addition to warding off lawsuits, here are three benefits of having an ADA compliant website.
- Your business can reach more potential customers.
- People will appreciate your efforts to be accessible.
- Search engines can read your website better.
1. Reach more potential customers
According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has a disability. If your website isn't easily accessible, that could be roughly 25% of people who aren't seeing your content or learning about your services. According to the World Health Organization, one billion people live with some form of disability. That’s approximately 15% of the world’s population.
Unsure where to start? An excellent first step is to rewrite any vague or confusing metadata on your site. For example, you can adjust the alt text on your site's images to be more descriptive, allowing those using screen readers to gain more from your website.
2. Positive brand associations
Whether people have a disability or know someone with one, many have a personal connection to the hardships people may face when navigating daily life. Creating an inclusive space is not about meeting your users halfway but rather meeting them where they are and developing an equally accessible website for all. Users will recognize your company's efforts to remove barriers, creating positive associations with your brand.
3. More search engine optimizations
Part of making websites usable involves adding code that allows screen readers to read it aloud. Adaptive devices and search engines also read alt tags or text descriptions on visual and audio files, which help people understand all of the essential elements of your site. This content not only makes everything more accessible, but it also helps search engines crawl your website and get a better idea of the content, which can positively impact your location among results in organic searches.
What is ADA website compliance?
While there are no legally set guidelines for compliant websites, courts generally use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a general measure. Fortunately, the Web Accessibility Initiative has created a guide of tips and tricks you can use to increase your site's usability based on WCAG.
What type of websites need to be ADA compliant?
There are two main types of organizations this applies to — Title I and Title III. Title I businesses have at least 15 full-time employees and operate a minimum of 20 weeks a year. Title III organizations provide public accommodation, whether it's lodging, food, entertainment, etc. You can find a more comprehensive definition of Title III businesses here.
Everyone is essential, and helping everyone access your website is important. DECODE has nearly a decade of experience providing culturally relevant content for clients across the country. Let's get in touch. We can grab a cup of coffee and discuss ways in which your brand can grow to meet your consumer where they are. At the end of the day, taking this extra effort benefits not only people everywhere but also your brand.