Most website designers who work for the benefit of businesses and nonprofits map out their work according to two primary priorities: Provide valuable information about the company whose site it is and make the experience user-friendly and engaging so that users will want to return to the site again and again. These are both worthy goals. However, if the latter goal isn’t approached with a certain mindset, a significant number of potential users can be prohibited from engaging with the company’s site at all.
When architects build new commercial and residential structures, they must abide by ADA regulations designed to ensure that disabled Americans can navigate them safely. When web designers build new websites, they also need to prioritize ADA compliance so that all potential users can navigate those sites effectively. However, there is much more oversight of building construction than there is website development. Buildings can’t secure proper permits if they aren’t ADA compliant. But there is nothing stopping a company of any size or shape from launching a website that doesn’t adhere to ADA compliance principles. As a result, many companies and nonprofit organizations currently have websites that are not ADA compliant. Many companies who have an online presence may not even be aware that their sites are in violation of the ADA. Thankfully, companies who have existing websites can simply choose to work with an ADA compliance website vendor to get their site “up to code.”
How Will Making My Company’s Website Compliant Change It?
When the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990, it was passed with two primary goals in mind. First, the legislation outlawed discrimination based on disability in a number of arenas, including employment, housing, and education. Second, it outlawed certain practices with the aim of ensuring that Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in mainstream society as fully as they choose to. This latter goal is the reason why businesses must reserve a certain number of parking spaces for handicapped patrons, why public restrooms must be accessible, and why Braille lettering must overlay buttons in newly installed elevators. It is also the legislative aim that makes it important for companies with existing websites to work with an ADA compliance website vendor if their sites are not yet compliant. This is especially true if your site offers the sale of goods/services online. When Americans with certain disabilities visit your site, they won’t be able to make purchases unless your site is ADA compliant.
If you believe that your current web design is effective, you’ll be pleased to learn that working with an ADA compliance website vendor to become more compliant will not change your site very much at all. At the heart of the compliance process is ensuring that the code in the backend of your site is optimized for accessibility and kept up-to-date. Most Americans with visual, hearing, and certain physical disabilities have software on their own devices that allows them to browse compliant websites in ways that are accessible to them. By fixing portions of the code, possibly adding an accessibility page, and making other relatively minor “tweaks” to your existing site, an ADA compliance website vendor can help you modify your site in the necessary ways without fundamentally changing the structure or content of your site.