When was the last time you visited a website and it was loading slowly, some sections didn’t appear or maybe the contact or ordering forms didn’t work? It was probably recently, and I’m sure it was pretty annoying.
Nothing is worse than visiting a website and not having it work. Well… except if you went to a website that was loading and functioning perfectly fine, but you still couldn’t use it.
Unfortunately, this is something that happens to millions of Americans and people around the world daily. This is specifically in reference to people with special needs or limitations that inhibit them from fully accessing the content and services offered by a website or online business.
Even worse than having someone visit your site and not being able to use it, can you imagine getting sued for not being fully accessible or compliant?
Crazy enough, that is now happening daily as well. And in this article, we are going to highlight everything you need to know about protecting your site and brand from such legal action and regulations, while also making your online business fully accessible and compliant for all audiences.
What is the ADA/WCAG and Why Do They Matter?
The internet is changing all the time and new regulations and guidelines quickly come into play with many small businesses and site owners completely unaware of them. The discussion of legal action against a site for not being ADA or WCAG compliant is a perfect example of such a regulation.
With the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), all websites and brands must provide full accessibility to all site visitors, no matter the limitations or special needs they may have in place.
Such limitations may include full or partial blindness, epilepsy, parkinson’s disease, visual and hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities and more. And what’s even more crucial, is that up to 4% of the world’s population is affected by these issues.
Should someone come to your site and have any of these existing conditions and file a complaint against your site for not catering to their needs, you could get in trouble big time.
As reported by Forbes, this is exactly what has happened to brands like Domino’s Pizza, Nike, Burger King and Hershey’s, to name a few. Target was even sued and had to pay $6 million in damages after the National Federation of the Blind went after them over accessibility complaints with Target.com.
So what’s an online business and site owner to do?
Unfortunately, outside of fixing your site and making sure it’s compliant to all audiences, there isn’t much you can do. These are regulations and guidelines that are no in place and legal demand letters are going out to many sites that don’t have the necessary measures in place.
However, the good news is that there are ways to make your site compliant without hiring a new design and programming team to completely redesign your online business – through AI powered accessibility solutions.
How to Run a Compliance Audit on Your Own Site
Running a compliance report on your site is fast, free and easy.
Through the use of an accessibility scanner, sites can quickly be analyzed, while also being given a score and a full report on what areas of the site need work.
To get started with the process, you will need to visit ace.accessibe.com, and enter the URL of your site.
Next, your site will be given a compliance score and report for you to analyze.
Once provided with the report, you can then run through the list and see if there are any problems you’d like to fix right away. You can also enter your name and email address to download the report in a PDF for later viewing.
However, with everyone potentially having their own set of special needs and limitations, it would be nearly impossible to hard code your site so it would be perfect for everyone.
With this in mind, accessiBe created their own Accessibility Adjustments application that makes any website or online store fully ADA/WCA compliant in as little as 48 hours. You can see an example of the popup application in the screenshot below.
Through the use of this Accessibility Adjustments tool, visitors can adjust any website to fit their needs within a few short clicks. Such settings and customizations include screen brightness, text to audio, keyboard navigation and more.
Over 66,000 small businesses and brands are currently using the application on their site to not only stay compliant, but to also deliver the best user experience possible.
Protecting Your Site and Online Business from ADA/WCAG Guidelines
Starting and running a business on the internet can be one of the most exciting things to do. It can also be one of the scariest things as well, should you start getting unwanted demand letters and legal actions for something you didn’t even know about.
When it comes to ADA and WCAG guidelines, making sure your site is compliant isn’t just about avoiding legal fees and getting in trouble, it’s also about making sure your business is open and fully accessible to all audiences.
Be sure to read through all of our important information and guidelines above, then also run a quick and easy compliance audit on your own site.