It’s unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities in various areas of their lives. Disability discrimination can come in to play in education, at work, or when providing goods, facilities, and services.
However, laws have been put in place to protect the rights of people living with disabilities. One of these laws is the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA). The ADA is a civil right law that seeks to eliminate discrimination of people on the grounds of their disability— either physical or mental.
It bridges the inequality gap between the abled and the disabled, by protecting individuals living with disabilities; and penalizing such discrimination when they occur.
Using an ADA compliance checker tools can help improve your website’s accessibility overnight. Learn about what tools are out there, how much they cost, and how to use them.
What Are The Consequences of ADA Non-Compliance?
While the law isn’t clear on ADA’s relationship with website accessibility, courts continue to entertain several cases on how these standards apply.
Failure to satisfy ADA website compliance standards can have severe consequences. For example, there’s been litigation over lack of assistive technologies, ranging from screen readers, screen magnifiers, Braille embossers, etc.
In 2018 alone, the number of accessibility lawsuits reported against websites exceeded 2250, rising by 177 percent from 814 similar cases in the previous year. This trend is going to continue, so it’s imperative that you take the steps necessary to make your website ADA compliant.
Another notable case was that of Expedia.com, a hotel marketing business that operated online. Some of its customers with disabilities sued them for the difficulty they encountered in booking reservations through the website.
They complained that often they’d have to make extra efforts to access the services that other customers without disabilities weren’t required to make.
While courts still grapple with how ADA compliance requirements should be implemented, businesses and organizations should be proactive by utilizing ADA compliance checker tools, instead of waiting to find out later and paying for heavy sanctions, fines, lawsuits, and other legal measures.
Is Your Business Required to Comply With The ADA?
According to Title I of the ADA, any company with at least 15 full-time employees operating for 20 weeks or more per year must be compliant.
Another provision is that companies that fall under the “public accommodation” category, such as hotels, banks, and public transportation, must be compliant with the rule.
If your business meets these two stipulations, then you may want to start using ADA compliance checker tools in your operations.
Why You Should be Accessibility-Conscious
Internet accessibility concerns and rights didn’t start or end with the enactment of the ADA. There’s an abundance of other laws such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, 2019. Therefore, it’s often difficult to escape the loopholes surrounding its application or enforcement.
On whether websites are covered by the ADA or not, the Supreme Court in 2019 upheld an earlier ruling which held that the ADA protects access, not just to brick-and-mortar public accommodations, but also to the websites and apps of those businesses.
Apart from insulating your business against regulatory sanctions or penalties, compliance can help you in the following ways:
1. Compliance Boosts Reputation
Making your website compliant is a great way for your business to gain some positive impression. Your customers will know how valuable they are to your business.
They may have accessed other websites that weren’t accessible enough. They’d appreciate the effort you put in to make your website available to everybody, and thus, puts you ahead in the competition.
2. ADA Compliance Increases Your Target Audience
Non-compliance means that you risk losing potential customers who can’t access your website because of their disabilities. For instance, some of your audience may miss out on the product you’re selling online just because a promotional video isn’t captioned (for those with a hearing disability).
Likewise, if the video or image has no alternate text (which allows screen reading tools to describe the image), visually impaired users may miss out.
3. It Improves Your SEO Efforts
Search engines are evolving to crawl pages with more human intention. When your site is compliant, it’ll appeal not only to users but also the search engines, thereby improving your SEO efforts.
By integrating defined meta tags, image searching, descript linking, video transcripts, etc., into your SEO practices, you boost the outcome.
4. It Enhances Overall Website Usability
By being compliant, you will have a more accessible and navigable website that benefits every user, regardless of their disability status. Everyone will be able to find what they’re looking for quickly.
Also, it’s likely to deliver more leads as users are certain that they can access the content they need.
ADA Compliance Checker Tools
The ADA Compliance checker tools help you to assess whether or not your website is ADA compliant. Read on to learn more about their features and how they operate.
WAVE: Website Accessibility Evaluation Tool
WAVE is a suite of products run by WebAIM, an organization devoted to making web content accessible to people with disabilities. When you enter your website URL on their homepage, it will list all the errors, warnings, and accessibility issues present in your site.
It also provides a feature that you can use to schedule and/or automate accessibility checks for your site. But you have to pay to use this. API helps you to determine accessibility, and provide authentication, among others.
aXe: The Accessibility Engine
When running the report on a page, you get a list of all the problems. aXe filters out these accessibility issues as either plain violations or issues that require further review. This is a valuable feature, because an accessibility test success or failure depends on the context.
SortSite scans websites for quality issues such as web standards compliance, accessibility, browser compatibility, legal compliance, etc. It scans for every error and warning, and prioritizes them based on the level of impact. The highest priority means that users will find certain pages impossible to use, down to pages that are somewhat difficult. Its report time is also faster and more comprehensive than WAVE’s and aXe’s.
SortSite is available both as a desktop and web application. Scanning for 10 pages at their site is free. To scan more pages, you have to buy their software.
tota11y was designed to simplify the understanding of accessibility issues by visualizing them on a page. It highlights accessibility issues on the page and provides details about possible causes as well as the steps you can take to rectify them. It’s available as a bookmarklet that can easily be used on any site in any desktop browser.
There may be loopholes in the legal application and implications of the ADA rules, such as the safe harbor clause that allows pre-existing content to remain the way it is; that is, non-compliant. But the efforts you put into making your business ADA compliant and your site accessible, will help you tremendously. Now is the best time to make the necessary changes to your website if you want to avoid the risk of legal sanctions.
If you don’t know how or where to get started, the ADA’s website has some tips. There are also many third-party resources available apart from those discussed earlier.
Let RSI Security help ensure that your website is ADA Compliant and provide professional support as you use the ADA checker tools. As a top ADA website compliance consultant, we will make sure your website is accessible to people with disabilities and that you avoid any penalties associated with ADA non-compliance.
Schedule a FREE consultation today to enjoy our superb compliance advisory services. Speak with one of our compliance experts to know if your website is ADA compliant.