ADA Website Compliance Tips & What to Avoid
As ADA lawsuits increase year over year, and as awareness of website accessibility (Inclusion) grows amongst consumers and the media, the need for ADA website compliance is greater than ever.
Is your website or mobile app ADA compliant? Unless your website or app has gone through a thorough audit and remediation, or was specifically designed and built for ADA compliance, as gauged by the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG 2.1 A, AA), it simply isn’t.
Quick Tips for ADA Website Compliance
Accept that this is a new cost of doing business online. And realize that in pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion, ensuring that you serve our most vulnerable you are demonstrating a commitment to DEI. There is value in that, and in accessing a marketplace with over a billion consumers.
- Be aware that automated auditing tools cannot even detect 70% of WCAG issue types.
- Overlay plugins and widgets (which rely solely on automation), may claim to make your website ADA compliant, however these are simply false claims. Industry professionals and accessibility advocates strongly oppose these methods, which have been demonstrated to neither provide the accessibility claimed, nor protection from lawsuits. Lawsuits against companies using overlays are increasing, and that little blue accessibility icon is becoming a bullseye flag for trolls. More on this point here.
- Work with reputable ADA website compliance consultants that augment the limitations of automated web accessibility tools, with manual and assistive technology testing. The more invested in quality reporting upstream that not only shows where and what each issue is, but provides the remediation guidance to address each issue will save money during remediation. This will save developers from wasting precious expensive time researching and trial and error.
- When selecting an ADA web accessibility consultant, pay attention to their depth and experience. In particular, how well do they understand the code. It’s one thing to be able to identify gaps. It’s quite another to be capable of guiding a developer to the solution.
- Unless your development team is unavailable, don’t outsource remediation. It’s important for your team to learn from the process of remediation, and avoid web accessibility issues in the future.
- ADA Website Compliance Costs and Approaches
ADA Website Compliance Costs & Options
The first part is the audit. A complete 3-step audit will run between $10K for a basic marketing website to over $30K for a complex ecommerce site. These projects however can be broken down into phases. You can start with just automated auditing to catch low-hanging fruit and help reduce your legal exposure. You can also limit the number of pages that are audited using manual and assistive technologies - as this is the key number that affects cost. This is a smart investment, so invest what you can.
Given that no brand wishes to unintentionally discriminate against people with disabilities, and given that no brand wants to deal with on-going ADA-related website litigation, this is a wise investment. The temptation is to take short cuts however. And that temptation must be avoided.
Best of luck. Let us help.
Photo by Joshua Aragon on Unsplash