When the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990, it effectively made discrimination based on disabilities illegal in employment, housing, education, and other important contexts. Its lesser-known purpose is to ensure that the right of disabled individuals to participate in mainstream American society is protected. What does this mean practically? The ADA protects individual rights to participate in government programs, and to enjoy widespread opportunities such as renting a hotel room and purchasing goods and services without fear of discrimination.
In recent years, it has become apparent that although certain technology makes accessibility issues easier for Americans with disabilities to navigate, not all technology has been formulated with disabilities in mind. For example, most websites are initially constructed with an able-bodied user’s experience at the forefront of their design concept. Not all web designers take the ADA into consideration when creating a website for a business or non-profit organization. However, it’s important to ensure that all companies are operating under the principles of ADA compliant website design. Not only does this approach ensure that Americans with disabilities can participate in mainstream American society as fully as possible, this approach helps to ensure that companies aren’t slapped with penalties for non-compliance.
ADA Compliant Website Design Considerations – The Basics
If you’re not sure whether your company’s website is compliant with the ADA, our company can evaluate it and let you know where you may have compliance-related gaps in its operation. There are several things that businesses (especially those that offer goods and/or services online) need to do in order to ensure compliance. Our company has extensive experience navigating ADA compliant web design considerations and we can assess your site accordingly. Most of the time, companies don’t need to change anything fundamental about their sites to make them ADA compliant. For the most part, ensuring that proper plugins have been installed and some coding updates in the backend (and possibly adding an accessibility page) are the most significant change that sites undergo. Many Americans with disabilities have access to software that makes navigating standard websites more manageable. For example, visually impaired individuals may have access to software that allows a site to be “read” to them. When companies install proper coding, their existing content becomes accessible for this accommodation-based software. Once a site has been analyzed and updated to become effectively compliant, it’s important to remain compliant. As technology (and the law) changes, so do ADA compliance requirements. Our company offers quarterly audits, reporting, and update service so that sites remain compliant over time.
ADA Compliant Website Design Assistance Is Available
If your company’s online presence was not constructed in accordance with the “rules” of ADA compliant website design, know that straightforward and effective options are available to you. Your site can become compliant in a short period of time and you will almost certainly not need to change much about your current user experience to get your site “up to code.” Connect with our company today so that we can provide you with guidance specific to your company’s online presence. We look forward to speaking with you.