3 Big Reasons Your Sites and Apps Need to be ADA Compliant (And What Could Happen if They’re Not)

Oct 27, 2016 by Jared Starner

Recently, you may have heard about businesses being on the receiving end of lawsuits for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many of these lawsuits have merit and their primary intent is to provide additional access to users with visual or motor skill impairment(s). That said, there also exist a few lawyers taking advantage of the broad – and sometimes undefined – requirements of the ADA.

You may be thinking that most of this is confined to parking lot spaces, physical access to buildings, and that these lawsuits mainly affect big businesses who haven’t properly taken the time to comply. So why should a website or other application worry about being ADA compliant? Well, aside from providing those with disabilities access to more services, the general ideas behind the ADA can provide benefits for everyone.

Avoid a Lawsuit…duh!

Just ask Target, (who settled a $6MM lawsuit over this issue a few years back), you don’t want to mess around with an audit from the ADA.  Why take the risk when meeting compliance standards are easier than you’d think?  The ADA itself states that we must, “… provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of their programs, services, or activities or would impose an undue burden.” The main way to accomplish this (in terms of a website or other piece of software) is to ensure that there are accessible features for people with disabilities. Not everyone sees or accesses a webpage or app in the same way – some basic accessibility problems outlined by the ADA are:

  • Images without text equivalents
  • Documents that are not posted in an accessible format (text-based)
  • Specifying colors and font sizes
  • Videos and other multimedia that lack accessible features

Grow Your Customer Base

This one is simple – the more accessible your solutions, the more potential customers! Do you let your customers pay their bill online? Or submit feedback to you for improved services? Maybe even just look up their current online order? Ensuring that those with disabilities can perform these same actions will only improve a business’s reputation and respect in the industry. 

By not being accessible to those with disabilities, a large portion of the populace is being excluded from your business’s offerings. Make sure your website plays nice with voice dictation, keyboard navigation, and screen readers!

Provide 24/7 Access to Information

Evolution in digital business has empowered government agencies and commercial businesses to publish more information about their available programs, services, and products than ever before. Many people can access this information 24/7, but the ADA endeavors to make sure this information is available to everyone. One huge benefit here is the ability for the public to participate at any time of day without any needed personnel to interact with.

Cool – so what happens if my sites and applications are not ADA compliant?

Should you really be worried about a growing litigious trend?

Yes, yes, and yes.

Click on any of those yesses, or do a search for ‘ADA Compliance Lawsuit’ and you’ll see countless articles detailing lawsuits cast on unsuspecting businesses. Not all of these will be related to technology, apps, or websites – but new lawsuits being filed are trending that way.

Curious to see if your website or app is ADA ready?  We’ve built a fancy little quiz to tell you.  Take our HMB Compliance Grader and see how you score in less than 2 minutes.  

Take the ADA Compliance Quiz - Click Here

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