The Importance Of ADA Compliant Websites


The essence of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is to make all public spaces accessible to everyone. As the internet, the way business is conducted and our own lives became more public, ADA law has applied more and more to public online presence. This is why an ADA compliant website is so important. The internet is designed for everybody, so it should also be accessible to everybody. It is the right thing to do, for visitors and even for the organization.

ADA compliant websites affect the physically able as well.

Avoid ADA Compliance Lawsuits

There are many organizations who have been slapped with ADA lawsuits after somebody had a negative experience due to somebody’s inability to use a website. In 2018, there were over 10000 lawsuits of websites violating Title III of ADA. Since then it has become a hot topic for many organizations and more organizations looking for ways to prevent lawsuits.

Good For Business

Building a website that follows ADA requirements for business is a wise decision for an organization, regardless of a pending lawsuit. It provides a strategic advantage to small businesses just starting out or when a new website design is being considered. It is much less difficult to make a website ADA compliant from the beginning when content is light, even if they are small enough to not need to abide by ADA law. By following guidelines you can see advantages such as a broader audience. A website that does not follow WCAG 2.0 guidelines is potentially excluding around 20% of the population. This percentage is a rather large percentage of potential business.

A Better User Experience For Everybody

WCAG 2.0 guidelines are all written to accommodate the way people with disabilities use the internet, however many of these guidelines are truly just best practice for everybody. For example, one Level AA criterion covers the minimum color contrast of text and the background behind it. The guideline recommends “The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1”. In simple terms, this means making sure the text is very light and the background is very dark or vice versa making the important content as visible as possible.

In this example, let us assume a visitor is one of the 4 out of 5 that does not have a visual impairment. This contrast still makes a lot of sense. Content should be clear and easy to read for everybody. Ignoring this contrast makes achieving the goal of the page at risk, be it a call to action or just as a resource of information. Compare this to a physical example, such as a wheelchair accessible ramp leading up to a hotel. The requirement exists to accommodate disabled guests, but it can certainly make moving luggage from the car into the building a better experience as well.

Simple Structure, Navigation And User Experience

The WCAG 2.0 guidelines also encourage good user experience (UX) design. How page templates are structured, the navigation and the way content is displayed, all have guidelines that not only benefit visitors with disabilities, but all visitors. It will provide a guide for design that is clean, simple and SEO-friendly. It is important to know that most major website builders do not do this by default and require a conscious effort.

Build An Online Reputation

Following web accessibility guidelines can be valuable for online reputation management. Businesses tend to benefit most from customers who fit into a specific category. That category is different from industry to industry, or even business to business. Customers in this category become a target audience that the business will focus their marketing on. A goal of this marketing strategy is to make the customer feel valuable to their business. This good feeling in the customer has been shown to be worth a lot. Making ADA compliant accommodations on a website for impaired customers can make them feel valuable, and will feel good about the brand.