July 14, 2017

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - Compliance for Websites

Many organizations think ADA compliance pertains only to physical, tangible items such as wheelchair ramps or bathroom handrails. However, there are numerous guidelines regarding websites and ADA compliance.  ADA compliance is about fairness and providing the same accessibility to goods or services to the web.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. In recent months, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has made it clear that it interprets the ADA as applicable to websites and mobile apps and has already begun enforcing it.

WCAG 2.0 - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is the industry standard organizations should look to regarding their web content. These guidelines are designed to address the accessibility of a website and user elements. WCAG 2.0 is the gauge used by the DOJ in its court cases so far. (Click here to read the DOJ's position in their announcement of the Peapod Settlement Agreement.)

WCAG 2.0 has varying levels of guidelines: A, AA, AAA.  Level A is the weakest and has minimal impact to website style and design, but it also has minimal effect for users. Level AA guidelines encompass a larger number of users with disabilities, but is not so restrictive that it strips out all of a site's look, feel and functionality. The DOJ wants to see website compliance with Level AA.

How to get started

While WCAG 2.0 has been around for a while, this topic is still unfamiliar to many businesses and organizations - and website and marketing agencies, for that matter. It is important for organizations to understand the accessibility of their web content. Finding a website partner to review your site for accessibility compliance is the first step.

If you need assistance or more information, contact Encore Web Works. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your needs regarding website accessibility.

Making your website compliant and accessible for users with disabilities can enhance customer satisfaction and minimize vulnerability or risk.  It is simply the right thing to do.