Since 2018, there has been an increase of over 300% in lawsuits against small businesses whose websites are not ADA Compliant. It’s not the disabled community bringing forward these lawsuits. It’s lawyers who are targeting small businesses because they are vulnerable.
What does it mean to be ADA Compliant?
It is required by law that every website be compliant and accessible to the disabled community. First of all, it is the right thing to do, but it can also be very costly and time-consuming to maintain. With all this in mind, we created a shortlist to help ensure your website is accessible for all and out of danger of landing an expensive lawsuit.
1. Transcriptions, Captions, and Image Metadata (Oh My!)
If your website is not utilizing transcriptions, captions, and metatags, you’re missing out on more than just the disabled community.
Using transcriptions on your audio and video content is a simple way to ensure your content is accessible to all. It’s also great for Search Engine Optimization (bonus!). There are many ways you can transcribe your website content. You can do it manually (cost-effective), or you can hire someone from Fiverr.com or Rev.com to do it for you. Whatever your choice, transcriptions can profoundly enhance your website’s accessibility.
A recent study from Instapage.com showed that only 12% of viewers watch website and social media videos with sound.
So, not only are you missing out on the nearly 6% of the American population who suffer from some form of hearing disability, but you’re missing out on 88% of the hearing community, too! That’s a lot of customers and potential customers who never view the content you worked hard to create.
Visual content is vital to any website. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, how do we make sure those words are accessible to all? The answer: Image metadata. What is image metadata? Image metadata is information included in the HTML of the website that describes in detail what the image is and how it pertains to the site. If you use images as CTAs (Calls to Actions), then image metadata is a must.
2. Pay Attention to Colors
Millions of Americans alone live with some form of color blindness or color deficiency. So the colors you use and the way you use them on your site is essential.
A good tip is to use colors on opposite ends of the color wheel. The more distinction you have between colors, the more likely a colorblind or color deficient person will be able to differentiate them. Colors that are similar to one another often mesh and become difficult to tell apart.
Another tactic to consider is using texture to increase the accessibility of your website. It’s very common to use the change of text color to indicate a link. Someone with color blindness or color deficiency might not be able to see the difference in colors, and therefore never know there was a link prompting them to go elsewhere on your site. Consider underlining links in the text as well as changing the colors. If a colorblind or color deficient person sees underlined text, they’ll be sure there is a link there for them to follow.
Making the colors of your site accessible is a big task. But accessibility for all truly means for all. It may take a lot of time, but you’ll be glad you did it if it helps you avoid a nasty lawsuit.
3. User Experience Audit
We recommend doing an audit of your website with accessibility in mind.
Be sure to think about all different types of disabilities as well.
- Epilepsy: Are there many fast-moving gifs and videos that could trigger seizures in someone with Epilepsy? Are there lots of bright colors on your site? These can also induce seizures.
- Visually Impaired: This encompasses everything from colorblindness to total blindness and everything in between. Does the metadata on the backend of your website ensure a visually impaired user would have no issues navigating your site? Are your fonts a readable size for anyone visually impaired? Is your website accessible to a screen reader?
- Cognitive Disabilities: Are there many distractions on your site that might be difficult for someone with ADHD? Is it difficult for users with cognitive disabilities such as Autism, Dyslexia, CVA, and others to focus on essential elements of your website?
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing: Are there transcriptions and captions on all audio/video content for the hearing impaired?
- Motor Disabilities: Can a user use keyboard navigation to access your site and all it’s features easily?
It would help if you considered all of these when doing your website audit. To be ADA compliant, any person with any form of disability should easily access your website.
Becoming ADA compliant is not a one-off project. It is something that needs to be continuously monitored and takes a lot of upkeep. As you edit your website or add new content, you’ll need to ensure that the changes are compliant as well.
Being Accessible is No Longer Optional
Lawsuits against small businesses and their non-compliant websites are skyrocketing. Law firms view small businesses as easy targets and are on the attack. It’s no longer optional for your website to be accessible.
At Local Impact, we have always understood that, as a business owner, your biggest concern is running a business. There’s no time left in the day for digital marketing, content creation, reputation management, or social media, let alone constant worry about an ugly lawsuit showing up in your inbox. We can help. With our software, we run automatic audits of your site every 48 hours to ensure anything new or updated is 100% ADA Compliant.
Is your website accessible to all? Schedule a free website analysis today!