5 Reasons to Make your Website ADA Compliant Today

Blocks spelling ability or access when viewed on on different sides.
by Anthony Wilson in Accessibility

There are many great ideas to consider for your website in 2024. Web accessibility updates for the disabled may not be on your list, but it should be. While Congress and the Department of Justice (DOJ) exchange letters about the responsibility to define rules, private groups continue to take legal action against website owners.

There are many reasons why you should pursue Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) now. The most obvious is to address accessibility for users. Beyond this point, there are many reasons to update your site.

1. Legal action is on the rise

$9.5M Target’s settlement cost, 20% of people have disabilities and 2523 federal lawsuits in 2020Companies face expensive settlements from lawsuits under the 1990 American Disabilities Act because of inaction. Target found this out the hard way as one of the first companies sued in 2006. They settled for $6m with another $3.5m in legal fees. They were not the last. Other high profile cases include Bank of America, the NBA, Harvard University, Winn Dixie and many others (see a partial list here). Some reports 2523 federal lawsuits in 2020 alone, which does not include state action or demand letters. A quick scan of cases shows retail and financial institutions are currently most at risk but this is starting to change with cases against MLB, Patreon and Albertson.

2. Brand Reputation

The court of public opinion can be as difficult as the trial courts. Defending against a lawsuit may be expensive but that is not the only financial impact. Your brand can also take a hit if legal action becomes public. Further, accessibility updates can be used to show a company cares about customers and is at the forefront of technology.

3. Website Usability – Convert more people

Though WCAG guidelines are for disabled people, many are very relevant for those without disability. Font size and color contrast are two (2) key guideline sections that can benefit all users and increase conversions on your website.

4. SEO – Increase traffic

Another key aspect of WCAG is accessibility to screen readers. Screen readers navigate your site in much the same way a search engine crawler does. By improving accessibility to screen readers, you are also improving access to search engines. This includes navigation, meta tagging and alternate forms of content such as video transcripts.

5. Drive Revenue – The numbers count

According to the US Census Bureau, nearly 20% of people in the US have some level of disability. The type of issues vary and many affect use of websites. 8 million Americans have difficulty seeing. 19 million have issues lifting or grasping. Some of my aging family members have issues accurately using a mouse or even phones and tablets. There is a large market of users who will appreciate updates and use your site.

Next Steps

In short, make a commitment to have a plan by Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 19th, 2024. Website Accessibility not only helps the disabled, it improves your customer experience and can help your bottom line. The first step is quick and easy. Start with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (W3C WCAG) to make sure a site is accessible. Audit your site for compliance and decide what is critical to fix and what is not. You may not fix everything at once, but making efforts and documenting those efforts will protect you and improve customer experience. Reach out to Digital Artisans if you need professional advice or support fixing issues.