The American Disabilities Act (ADA) was a monumental law that passed in the United States in 1990. This law ensured that people with disabilities had the same access to opportunities and advantages available to people without disabilities. A physical example of this in action includes making state & local public buildings accessible to people with mobility impairments with the inclusion of ramps, automatic doors, handicap parking spaces, etc.
But what about the digital space? Nobody envisioned that websites would need the same level of accommodation as a building back in 1990 – the public internet was still in the infancy stages then. However, that is not the case today where the internet is a regular part of everyone’s daily life.
Nowadays, it is imperative to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1), which is the current standard for universal web accessibility. These standards cooperate with the ADA in the digital space and should be followed by everyone that has a website. Here are four reasons why you should adopt these web accessibility guidelines on your website:
- Following web accessibility guidelines will improve your SEO
Semantic HTML not only allows screen readers to meaningfully process your information, but it also aligns with SEO best practices. Doing things like using nav/header/section/footer tags, only including one H1 tag per page, filling out all image alt text tags, and avoiding depreciated tags/attributes benefits everybody.
- Following web accessibility guidelines allows you to reach a larger audience
According to the last United States census, “About 56.7 million people — 19% of the population — had a disability, according to a broad definition of disability, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe” – Census.gov. That is a lot of potential readers and/or customers that would be instantly excluded if your website isn’t accessible to them. Lost opportunity = lost revenue.
- Following web accessibility guidelines will help you avoid litigation
According to UsableNet, a web accessibility technology company, “2019 saw 2,235 new website lawsuits filed in federal court”. This number is slightly lower than the number of cases recorded in 2018. However, both 2019 and 2018 were significantly higher than the previous two years which illustrates the pertinent nature of this issue:
2019 – 2,235 cases
2018 – 2,314 cases
2017 – 814 cases
2016 – 262 cases
- Following web accessibility guidelines is the right thing to do
Consider how much of your day is spent online. Imagine having a visual impairment, an auditory impairment, or not having the motor skills necessary to use a mouse/keyboard and then trying to use your own website. Would it be a convenient experience? Or would it be nearly impossible? All individuals should have the same opportunity to effortlessly experience your website, disabled or not.
Help those with disabilities and your company by following web accessibility guidelines that will allow everyone to access and process your information equally. Having trouble getting your website ADA compliant? Contact iMedia today for web accessibility support.