A business website is central to a company’s business success, especially in modern times when customers make a majority of their purchasing decisions online. The website is a significant part of the buyers’ journey as it quenches their thirst for product- or service-related information.
But not all buyer journeys are the same. Customers with disabilities, making up almost a quarter of the US population, have quite a challenging journey right from research to product purchase.
Therefore, it’s time companies stepped up and made their business websites more ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible. In this post, we will share some of the most compelling reasons you should have an ADA-accessible business website in 2022. Let’s cut to the chase and get started!
What is the ADA law?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law passed by Congress in 1990. This civil rights law protects people with disabilities from any discrimination across public life, jobs, schools, transportation, and other public or private places. To make public websites more accessible, the government ensures that companies understand their legal obligations and abide by ADA — in their quest to provide web accessibility.
Importance of having an ADA-accessible website
Here are the reasons why you should ensure an ADA-accessible website for your business in 2022.
1. It’s about ‘doing the right thing’
Consider website accessibility as an ethical issue and you will achieve a mindset shift that puts customers in the driving seat. Take the example of a sidewalk with no wheelchair ramps. How would people using wheelchairs cross the street? ADA ensured immediate inclusion, at least across the country. Similarly, your business-related decisions should ensure that people with disabilities are never left out. Prioritizing an ADA-accessible website makes it easier for people with visual or physical disabilities to navigate through the content and collect the required information in no time. Do the right thing as it helps establish a strong foundation for your website to grow in the future.
2. Helps improve user experience
Often we find website designers and developers generalize the audience and render sites for users having similar capabilities. This is highly unacceptable under ADA since user experience varies widely. Let’s talk about website themes and colors. Designing a website while considering the 8 percent color blind men across the globe sets you up perfectly to create an ADA-accessible website. In other words, you not only have to design the site for blind people, but also for people with color deficiencies. Such an inclusive website design strategy allows designers and developers to deliver a well-organized site that facilitates ease of use and faster navigation.
3. Opens the site to new demographics
The rate of disability among different demographics increases as the populations in countries age. The World Health Organization claims that more and more people across the world are experiencing blindness due to diabetes. In other words, as people with diabetes increase, the number of people in a demographic experiencing vision loss will increase too! How will you prepare for such human disabilities that show prominence over a period of time? ADA accessibility is one of the best ways to make your site accessible to as many people as possible.
4. Better search engine optimization
The websites designed with ADA in mind tend to perform better on search engines. This is because ADA is a part of SEO that improves website accessibility. Since search engines rely on text to evaluate sites, brands get the opportunity to play with the textual content on their sites and make them ADA-friendly, i.e., organized and easily understandable by people with disabilities. You will have to focus on adding image ALT tags, using ordered and organized content structure, adding descriptive hyperlink text, adding captions to visual content, creating optimized URLs, lessening user interaction that requires a mouse, adding site maps, and providing search bars.
5. Improves online reputation
Brands that follow or preach a social cause often find a soft corner in the customers’ hearts. Becoming ADA compliant is a sure-shot way to boost your company’s online reputation. Indeed, we are discussing ADA compliance in this extensive guide. But, there isn’t much noise about this social cause. Developing websites that cater to people with disabilities is a noble cause and people will appreciate your efforts, especially when you network at events or meet potential clients. Make ADA compliance a core element of your strategy and the potential clients will find your company progressive, forward-thinking, and inclusive.
6. Avoids the risk of ADA lawsuits
This is by far the most important reason you should build ADA-compliant websites. However, you shouldn’t be approaching ADA-driven website designs just to prevent lawsuits. Anyway, the ADA legislation in the country has triggered over 2,285 lawsuits in 2018, a staggering increase considering the number was only 815 in 2017. The number of cases is only going to grow in the coming years and cost companies millions of dollars. Adopt a proactive accessibility strategy to avoid legal implications and a bad reputation.
7. Develops more mobile device-friendly sites
As more and more people use mobile devices to access information on the internet, we suggest brands create mobile-friendly websites that function as per the mobile guidelines set by Web Accessibility Initiative. This will help you adapt your websites to different mobile phone displays and make your site more accessible.
8. Leverages word-of-mouth marketing
Who’d have thought ADA compliance can help businesses with word-of-mouth marketing? Well, it does precisely that as the community of people with disabilities is passionate to recommend better solutions and help make life easier. Even if one such person finds your website useful, you can rest assured that more people with disabilities will use your site, share their experiences, and recommend your business. Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. So, leverage it to sustain business success.
9. Generates more conversions
Generating more conversions is no rocket science. All you have to do is focus on the ideal buyer journey and design websites accordingly. Accessibility leads to the deployment of better user journeys, which eventually leads to higher conversion rates. We suggest you use less complicated forms, reduce the number of steps in the checkout process, add clear instructions for each step, and ensure long session timeouts.
10. Triggers a creative business mindset
ADA accessibility is a challenge businesses should cherish as it pushes them to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to meet accessibility issues. Accessibility-driven website design opens new avenues of innovation and the team quits thinking about accessibility as a hassle. Instead, engineers, designers, and product managers become more vigilant in their quest to develop highly effective ways to reach a wider audience. It’s an opportunity to capture the customers’ imagination and implement the right solutions. ADA-accessibility not only spurs innovation but also translates the challenge into more profitability.
What does your website need to be ADA compliant?
Now that you know how important it is to build an ADA-compliant website, let’s find out what it takes to create one. Here are some common ways brands can address accessibility issues on their sites.
- Make sure all the images, videos, and audio files on the site have ALT tags to help users with reading disabilities hear alternative descriptions of the content they aren’t able to consume.
- Create text transcripts for the video and audio content as these allow people with hearing disabilities to understand the content.
- Many online customers with disabilities use text readers to find their way through a site. So ensure you put the language in header codes to help text readers identify the language your site’s in.
- Users with disabilities might find navigating through a site very time taking. The challenge worsens when they have to enter information and encounter input errors. In such cases, it is better to offer alternatives and suggestions.
- Lastly, you should strive to build a consistent and well-organized website that has a uniform layout. Make sure the menus, options, links, and buttons are clearly delineated to deliver easier navigation.
As these tips only touch the tip of the iceberg, we highly recommend consulting a professional website developer that has expertise in ADA compliance.
Building an ADA-compliant and accessible website is your first step to building a more inclusive company. In an economy where the shift is majorly towards digital mediums, brands need to stay more conscious about customers’ online experiences and deliver superior accessibility. Is your business website ADA accessible? Connect with us as we help businesses identify and implement the best practices and tactics to meet the set ADA and WCAG standards. Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments. Also, don’t forget to check out other informative posts on the blog!