The ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act was created with the purpose to address the needs of individuals that have a disability from discrimination in a variety of areas like employment and public services.
Today, we’re focusing on Title III of the act which requires organizations make accessibility accommodations so that individuals who have disabilities and those who don’t can still be able to obtain the same level of service.
With the news that came out earlier this year that Beyoncé’s and Domino’s website were getting sued due to ADA accessibility issues, it’s a good time to look back at your organization’s website and determine whether or it not it’s ADA compliant. Here are some tips to ensure that it is:
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provides a very comprehensive breakdown of exactly what you need to do to make your website compliant. For anyone that’s unfamiliar with ADA compliance, the guideline is written in an accessible style, so whether you’re an HR professional or website designer, it’s easy to jump into a variety of sections without getting too confused.
Audit Your Website’s Code
If you have an understanding of coding, it’s simple to go back and inspect for elements that aren’t implemented which can cause ADA compliance issues. Even if coding isn’t in your repertoire, work with your IT department or your website designer to assist in the compliance effort. This is where the WCAG becomes extra handy; using that guideline in tandem with correcting your site makes it easier to spot errors on the fly.
Test Your Website Yourself
Do all the images on your site contain alternative text? In the event that a website isn’t being displayed properly or a visually impaired individual is trying to access your site, the alternative text will clearly describe what the image is. Or, is there too much meaningless link text? If someone is trying to use a screen reader on your website, but it becomes too caught up in text clutter than that can potentially cause an issue. No hypothesis is ever definite without testing it first. Even if you feel 100% confident that you’ve done everything to ensure your website is on par with accessibility standards, it never hurts to go through the site for yourself.
Stay Updated on Current Compliance Standards
Like most regulations and laws, staying up-to-date with current compliance standards is crucial in ensuring your organization avoids costly fines and potential litigation. As a business, having your site be ADA compliant also provides secondary benefits.
One clear example of that is it could potentially lead to more traffic due to search engines recognizing that your site is a reputable one and easily more accessible, so it’s considered trusted. If search engines start giving their users bad links, they lose credibility much like a bad website.
ADA regulations are important and if you get too overwhelmed with the plethora of resources and information, we don’t blame you. Consider consulting a specialist, that assists with a variety of regulatory and compliance needs. For additional information and assistance regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, please feel free to contact your Preferred Loss Control consultant, or visit the Preferred Risk Management Resource Center, which is available to all Preferred members who place their employment practices related coverages with Preferred (https://login.enquiron.com/pgit).
* Special thanks is given to Enquiron® which has given us limited permission to reprint this article from the Preferred Risk Management Resource Center, which is available to all preferred members who place their employment practices related coverages with Preferred.