How to Mitigate Business Risk With Web Accessibility and Compliance

26% of Americans live with some form of disability. Excluding people based on something like this is morally wrong and bad business. Imagine the 61 million potential customers you might not be reached if they are excluded from accessing your business’s website.

Plus, it’s the law. Getting involved in an accessibility lawsuit can be costly and difficult to deal with. Let’s take a look at some measures you can take to increase web accessibility and digital compliance.

Legal Implications of Non-Compliance

Legal issues with web accessibility start with a demand letter. This is the precursor to a lawsuit, and many non-compliance claims are settled privately, out of court. This process can be tricky to navigate and can lead to larger cases. It’s best to nip it in the bud and maintain compliance.

Most web accessibility cases are filed as ADA Title III lawsuits. Claims in state courts are sometimes made using local anti-discrimination laws that are parallel to the ADA.  Some are also filed under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

This law states that Federal departments and agencies must make sure their information and communication technology is accessible. This has even led to lawsuits against the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Experts expect future litigation to involve mobile apps and mobile-related experiences more often. Many plaintiffs cite the more current guidelines, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA, which has more mobile considerations.

You should follow the current guidelines as closely as possible when getting your website up to speed with web accessibility. But be aware that the guidelines for ADA compliance may change further as new technology comes on the scene.

Web Accessibility Guidelines

The ADA guidelines are the most commonly used ones. There are different requirements for website accessibility depending on your jurisdiction. For example, websites for businesses in the EU need to follow a few additional rules compared to those based in the US.

It’s important that you make sure to closely follow any guidelines determined by your local area. Luckily, many steps you take to increase web accessibility can help many different people.

For example, adding the ability to listen to text can help people who have difficulty seeing or reading. It can also help people read when there’s not enough light or when they are multitasking. This can greatly increase the overall functionality and reach of your site.

Making these changes can improve your SEO, on-site time, and bounce rate while giving your users a better experience. Plus, public relations about diversity and inclusion are well received today.

Web accessibility can have positive benefits on your digital marketing efforts. Using paid advertising to let others know that you are working to reach those with disabilities can provide an opportunity to expand your reach and more potential customers.

Navigation and Format

Straightforward website design not only helps search engines accurately categorize your website, but it can also make it easier for visitors to use your page.

Use headers including h1, h2, and h3 to organize each page. The title should always be in h1. Other headers should at least be h2. This allows readers to skip around the page when using a screen reader. The software can then use commands or keystrokes for navigation.

Tables used to be a common way to make sure elements lined up properly on the page. This method is now outdated. Never use tables to format text that is not data. Doing this decreases the accessibility of the page.

It’s also helpful to make anything that you want people to click on accessible using keyboard navigation. Just make sure you do it the right way, so you don’t break any other on-page elements. A web development professional can usually help you do this easily.

Design and Display

Many people zoom in on a page if they need to make the text larger to read. This isn’t an easy way to read what’s on the screen as it makes everything on the page larger. Instead, add an option that will allow users to adjust only the size of the font manually.

Adding an option for dark mode can help make looking at a screen for a long time better for the eyes. Many website themes come prepackaged with a dark mode option. You can just allow users to toggle the dark mode on or off.

You can use a color blindness simulator to determine if your color scheme is easy for visually impaired people to see. When adding elements in a different color, make sure they stand out another way, for example, through a box or in different text formatting.

Other Page Elements

Images should always have captions and alt text. This allows screen reader software to read the descriptions when it comes across images. It can also serve as a placeholder for visitors with slow internet connections.

If you add a form, any descriptive text in the fields should be explicitly associated with that element. You can also use placeholder text in the fields. Just note dimmed text may not be easy to read.

Any placeholder text should be available through the title property of the field. This will allow it to be displayed as a tooltip during a mouseover or read by screen reading software.

Captions can also be used if you add any video to your website. This can help people with hearing difficulty to still know what is being said in the video.

Drive Social Media + accessiBe Partnership

Bringing your up to speed for web accessibility and digital compliance can be a little nerve-wracking. Luckily, Drive Social Media has recently partnered with accessiBe to be proactive and empower its customers to reach compliance.

Web accessibility should be universal, but many websites (likely yours) are not accessible to everyone. accessiBe is an AI-powered solution that can make your website more accessible and protect you from ADA lawsuits. You can even test your website’s accessibility for free.

The ability to combine your social media marketing with website accessibility can increase your return on investment for your marketing budget. Plus, it allows you to streamline your marketing while reducing your chance of litigation.

Ensure Greater Web Accessibility for All

Web accessibility is a moral necessity that can also protect your business legally. Plus, you can reach a previously untapped client base just by making few changes.

Interested in making sure your website is ADA compliant? Click here to contact Drive Social Media today.