As soon as your website goes live, that means that anyone in the world has the potential to view it, right?
Not so fast.
Unless your website is compatible with screen readers, uses closed captions for videos, has prerecorded audio descriptions, and offers extended screen time-out options, that’s not the case.
Website accessibility for ADA is quickly becoming one of the most essential things you need to consider when designing your website and creating new digital content. If your website isn’t accessible to those with a disability, you’re opening yourself up to the potential not just for lost customers, but also to lawsuits.
But why is ADA accessibility important, and what are the benefits of using an ADA accessibility tool and scheduling an ADA site audit?
Keep on reading this post to find out.
1. Because the Requirements Are Complicated
The number one reason why you should have an ADA accessibility audit?
Because the requirements are much more complicated — and likely, much more detailed — than you may expect. (Don’t believe us? Take a look at the website accessibility guidelines as defined by the WCAG on their website: https://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG21/quickref.)
In fact, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that you’ll need to meet are made up of 38 specific requirements. These requirements include things like descriptive text, a color contrast ratio, closed captioning and transcripts, no automatic pop-ups, videos, or audio, and keyboard-only website usability.
And that’s just the beginning.
Even the way you code your website could impact its accessibility for certain users.
If you don’t know the ins and outs of the regulations, you could end up in some serious legal hot water. (More on that later.)
2. Because You’ll Increase Your Customer Base
ADA accessibility isn’t just about avoiding hefty penalties and facing potential lawsuits (though that’s certainly a key part of it for the majority of companies.)
Nearly one out of every five people in the United States — or close to 57 million consumers — have some sort of a disability.
This number alone is perhaps one of the strongest arguments for why making sure your website is ADA accessible is such a good idea. You’re not only following the law but you will also exponentially increase your customer base.
After all, those with disabilities want to try out the latest cult product, book your services, or buy your company’s bestselling items just as much as everyone else does. You’re missing out on the opportunity for big business if your website makes it impossible for them to do so.
Having an accessible website isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s also an excellent way to edge out your competitors and tap into markets they’re overlooking.
Plus, search engines have now started to increase the rankings of websites that are in compliance with ADA regulations.
This means that scheduling an ADA accessibility audit will help your website make it closer to the coveted first page of search engine results.
3. Because Having an ADA Compliant Website Boosts Your Reputation
One of the most prominent concerns and complaints coming from the disabled community is that they consistently feel overlooked, forgotten about, or simply ignored by companies that don’t consider their needs.
If you’re looking to boost your company’s reputation not just in the eyes of the disabled community, but in the eyes of your target market as well, ADA accessibility is key.
Younger clients especially expect the brands they do business with to share the values they hold. One of the biggest values that consumers are looking for is a company that has a clear commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
By showing that you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure your site is accessible to everyone, you will enjoy a serious boost to your brand’s reputation. This means you can expect not just more customers, but increased customer loyalty, as well.
4. Because Lawsuits Are on the Rise
The final reason to schedule a website audit for ADA 508 compliance is likely the one that businesses are the most concerned about: the threat of legal action against your company.
Over the past few years, lawsuits — and the accompanying fines and damages to a brand’s reputation — have been consistently on the rise.
In fact, some of the biggest companies in the world, like Kylie Cosmetics and the Avanti Hotel Group, have been the recent recipients of an ADA violation lawsuit. Even popular job posting and application sites have been the subject of ADA accessibility lawsuits.
No matter the size of your business, the new reality is that people often see ADA lawsuits as a great way to make some quick cash (and in some cases, bring down their competitors.)
Though certain exemptions do apply when it comes to an ability to take legal action, the laws are changing at a rapid pace.
You need to do everything that you can now to protect your company’s reputation and assets. You don’t want a lawsuit to end everything you’ve worked so hard to build.
Ready to Schedule Your Accessibility Audit?
We hope that this post has convinced you about the importance of an ADA accessibility audit for your website.
Not only will a thorough audit save you from potential lawsuits, but it will also protect and boost your company’s reputation, help you to connect with more clients, and ensure that you’re following these often complex requirements correctly.
Our incredible team at Get ADA Accessible can help.
We offer accessibility audits for businesses within a wide range of industries, as well as other services like accessibility training, accessible web development, accessible document creation, and much more.
Reach out to us today to schedule your audit.