ADA Compliance & Website Accessibility

When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed in 1990, the digital realm wasn’t of much concern because it was fairly new and not as widely accessible as it is today. Along with the ADA, you may have also heard about the 508 compliance. The 508 compliance is about section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals must have equal access to federally-funded programs and activities. In section 508, digital access

to programs and activities are addressed. In January 2018, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2,0 was implemented by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The W3C is a digital, online community that develops standards to create long-term web growth. The W3C handles both public and some non-public-facing business content.

If you are faced with an ADA compliance issue or simply have questions or concerns regarding a demand letter or potential lawsuit, we are here for you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Web Accessibility:

Search engines have two main goals when it comes to deciding which pages will appear in the search engines. The first is relevancy. A web page must support content that is relevant to the search query. The second goal is accessibility. Pages must also be accessible to whoever finds them. If a page requires a password to view content, they typically do not get ranked. Making sure that everyone can access a web page and that ranking pages can be read in any browsers, including unique browsers for the visually impaired is important because it assures that everyone has equal access to all of the information they need. Pages should also load quickly, making page speed extremely crucial as well.

How Website Accessibility Benefits from Having a Good SEO:

Web accessibility takes extra time and effort. Due to this, many SEO companies refrain from putting extra effort into web accessibility. Other SEO companies aren’t aware they can follow web accessibility guidelines and make gradual improvements to their website. When you take advantage of our SEO services, we can guarantee that your website accessibility will see major improvements. Our SEO procedures include necessary and practical standards that will positively reflect on your search engine rankings. During our SEO process, some of the implementations can include any of the following:
  • HREF Title Tags
  • Descriptive link titles on HREF’s
  • Descriptive images alt text
  • Tables solely used for data
  • CSS for layout
  • A full website navigation analysis
  • Recommendations for users who do not use a mouse
  • Techniques for flash content
These implementations are a direct result of both reading and adaptive software systems. Without these software systems, many sites would not be accessible to all users.

Below you will find the 3 vulnerabilities of accessibility non-compliance:

Alienating a Portion of Your Audience:

Believe it or not, many of your audience members have a disability. In the United States, 25% of adults have a disability. 40% of individuals over the age of 65 have a disability. Roughly 15-20% of people have a form of a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia. Many more individuals are also affected by disabilities that affect motor functions which can directly affect how they can use a mouse or type on a keyboard. If you do not have a fully accessible website, you can potentially alienate audience members who have disabilities such as the ones mentioned. Because individuals with disabilities such as blindness, low vision, etc. need alternative options to navigate your website, it is important to be as user-friendly and accessible and as possible.

Non-Compliance Lawsuits:

According to The Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog, between January 2015 and August 2017, there have been at least 751 web accessibility lawsuits filed – with 432 of them coming in 2017. In 2018, the number of suits filed raised by 30% as the ADA lawsuits reached nearly 5,000 in federal court. The lack of legal consensus regarding which websites fall under the Department of Justice and the ADA jurisdiction is the mean reason why these suitcases have been on the rise.

ADA Non-Compliance Legal Fees:

As a website owner, you should ensure that your website is compliant with ADA standards. This is the safest way to ensure that you will not be sued in court by someone with a disability. If you are issued court papers, legal representation may only account for a portion of your legal fees. You may still have to spend money to bring your site to compliance as well as being responsible for plaintiff legal fees. For these reasons and more, investing in getting your website compliant from the start under ADA standards and section 508 using WCAG, is the best and safest route to take.

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