The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was introduced in 1990 to help the nearly 50 million Americans who live with a disability. Great Idea is active in making sure that our clients who request ADA compliant websites conform to the industry standards set by WCAG 2.0 – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines so that people with disabilities can navigate through websites we design.

The entire goal of ADA compliance is to create the website in such a manner that a disabled individual can access and navigate your site easily. Since so many businesses are online, ADA Compliance ensures a certain set of standards, fairness, and bringing to the Web the same inclusiveness that can be found in brick-and-mortar establishments that also are required comply with the ADA.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) breaks it down into four different types for changes, known as POUR: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, & Robust

Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive (e.g. have alt image attributes that say what the image actually does) This is so that a screen reader can read what the image is in case the individual cannot see it.

Operable: User interface components and navigation must be operable (e.g. you must be able to navigate the site using a keyboard as well as a mouse).

Understandable: Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable, (e.g. error messaging on a form should make sense).

Robust: Content must be robust enough so it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies such as screen readers. Don’t use tags or code that only certain browsers understand.

Here are some of the steps we follow to assess the level of compliance on your website:

• Your website title should be unique, brief but still descriptive of the content of the page.
• Content should be organized and readable – there should be at least one heading tag or call to action on every page of the website.
• Heading tags should come in an order: h1, h2, h3
• Text that looks like a heading should be marked up as a heading and it should be relevant to that content its above.
• Some people find it hard to read text if there is no sufficient contrast between the text and background.
• Text should be readable if resized.
• Alt text will be added for any multimedia, images or videos.
• Web pages shall be designed in such a way that all information conveyed with color is also available without color.

ADA compliance can change throughout the years so it’s safe to say a yearly ADA check is in order to ensure compliance every year.

Do All Websites Have to be ADA Compliant? Why Do It?

1. SEO Reasons
Making your website appeal to more people gets you more traffic ultimately. Google measures nearly everything about websites and they’re trying to sort out each website and rank them accordingly, so why wouldn’t a website that’s more accessible rank better?

Websites that are easier to use will just naturally rise to the top and that’s the main thing ADA website compliance does. Your website will be following WGAC guidelines, which will allow everyone to navigate your website more easily.

2. Shows That You Care About Your Audience
Having an ADA compliance website just shows your customers that you care because you want your website to be more accessible to everyone. Whether people need this level of accessibility or not, they probably know someone who does, so taking this step just makes sense.

3. Legal Reasons
Your website might look beautiful and be super easy to use but it’s still very possible you could receive a threatening letter from a lawyer with an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) claim against your company/website. They might try to say that if your website is connected with a physical (retail) location, then ADA applies. If your company/organization does work in an industry where you need to be absolutely sure you’re ADA compliant at your physical location, then it might be a good idea to make sure your website is also ADA compliant. By doing it now, you an avoid penalties and legal action.ADA.gov – US Dept of Justice – Civil Rights Division

Title III of the ADA mandates that all “places of public accommodation” are required by law to remove all “access barriers” that might inhibit someone with disabilities from accessing the goods or services of the business.

Please keep in mind, we’re not lawyers, so if you’re concerned about this, you should seek legal counsel regarding this issue.

Please note, there is a safe harbor clause that protects your content as it is if it was published before January 18, 2018 but if you alter any content after that date (which has passed already), then you could be liable for making sure that content is ADA compliant. This is a clear sign that mandatory ADA compliance IS coming eventually for all.

As a side note, all government websites have set level AA of ADA compliance as their accessibility standard.

Are All Great Idea Websites ADA Compliant?

Only clients that request that their website be ADA Compliant end up with websites that are compliant when delivered. This extra work must be itemized in their project proposal. Our standard websites do not come out of the box with ADA compliance. We must also agree on which level of ADA Compliance Website they wish to achieve.

If you need this done with your website redesign project, please do let us know. If you want us to ensure your current site has ADA compliance, we will discuss which level it should be at for your specific business.

Some websites need just a few updates while some websites need more work to get to the level of compliance they desire. For some websites, it might even be better to start over and do a redesign – we can help with that if that’s the case. If we can do this work without a redesign, we certainly will. You’ve already invested in your website and we understand that putting more resources into it might not be something you were expecting.

Contact Great Idea today to ask talk about ADA compliance. We have the best designers, photographers, marketing & advertising specialists, as well as customer service team at your disposal. Give us a call at (352) 293-5195 and put our talents and resources to work for you!