In the United States, 1 in 5 people have a disability. And yet, only 10% of the internet is web accessible. What’s the reason for the discrepancy?
Many businesses think of making their business physically accessible for those with disabilities, but because of the digital nature of websites, they often get overlooked. The American Disabilities Act was developed in 1990 and declared that all places of public accommodation remove any access barriers that would inhibit a person with disabilities from accessing the business’s goods and services – including their websites.
For many, making their company’s website accessible is a big undertaking that they think involves a lot of extra work and expense. If you’re questioning if it’s worth it to make your website ADA compliant, there are many reasons why it is important. Consider our top 10 reasons your website should be ADA compliant.
Increase Your Audience – Today’s marketplace is increasingly digital, and the web is one of the top places that people begin searching for new products or services. If your website is not accessible for users with disabilities, you may be missing out on a large audience segment. Studies from the disability-rights group ASPE (Association Of People Supporting Employment First) shows that customers with disabilities, their families, friends account for a $3 trillion market segment you could be excluding.
Be Socially Responsible – Knowing that the companies we chose to support with our dollars are being socially responsible is increasingly important to consumers. According to Forbes, 81% of millennials expect brands to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship. Being inclusive to all is an essential part of social responsibility, and having a compliant website is a great way to reflect that to your audience.
Remove Legal Implications – Lawsuits around ADA compliance have been coming up more and more frequently. Most courts have ruled in favor to consider the term “public space” referred to in the American Disabilities Act to include websites. If your website does not comply with the latest standards and someone with a disability feels you have not made your services accessible to them, a complaint can be issued against you and you could be penalized up to $150,000.
Save Money – Some clients are skeptical about the idea of making their website ADA compliant because they see it as a large financial undertaking. The truth is, you can often work out a plan to become more accessible as an ongoing process and doing it from the beginning is more budget-friendly than having to re-design it further down the road. Plus, website updates or a redesign is less expensive than a lawsuit may be.
Be an Industry Leader – Don’t wait until everyone else in your industry has already become compliant and try to play catch up. By establish yourself as the company within your industry that is taking the lead in accessibility, you can set yourself apart from the competition and get noticed.
Improve Your Business Reputation – Becoming ADA compliant is a simple way to improve your reputation in your target geographic area and industry. When you go to networking events or are meeting a new potential client, it’s a great conversation topic that shows you are forward-thinking and inclusive.
Improve SEO – Another positive aspect to ADA compliance is that many accessibility standards are also in line with best practices for SEO. Things like having alt text for images, meta tagging, and video transcripts will help to improve your overall rankings in search engines.
Be More User-Friendly – Making your website compliant does not just affect those who have a disability. Some users have certain circumstances that may make it difficult for them to navigate your website at any given time – like a temporary injury. Following ADA guidelines makes it easier for everyone – disabled or not – to navigate your website and find what they are looking for quickly.
Word-of-Mouth Advertising – Many individuals with disabilities are passionate about helping others find businesses that can meet their needs. If one person with a disability finds your website and has a positive experience with its usability, they are likely to share it with others and recommend you. There are platforms like AXS map which use the experience and opinions of others to evaluate businesses based on their accessibility.
Benefit Your Community – At the end of the day, communities benefit when all people can participate. Prior to the American Disabilities Act, people with disabilities often faced barriers that made it difficult to function in many aspects of life. We truly believe that by following these standards and being open to people of all levels of ability, your business is enriching its community and improving the lives of your customers and employees.
Work with A Digital Agency Specializing in ADA Web Compliance
Whether you’re creating a new website, interested in an ADA audit, or a redesign – Atilus can help. We are a web design & digital marketing agency that specializes in ADA web compliance. Ready to get started? Call us today at 239-362-1271 or contact us online.