Are Your Business and Website ADA Compliant?

If you have a physical storefront for your business, you are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, if you also have a website for your business, your website may also need to be ADA compliant. Websites and applications have been ruled as extensions to physical stores and therefore must be compliant with the ADA, which may affect your website as well.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your business storefront is ADA compliant, but as we shift to a digital age, it is important to recognize the changing requirements for business websites. It is important to make sure that everyone can access your services, whether they are offered online, on an application or in person.

What is the ADA?
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in any place that is open to the general public. It was first passed in 1990 before websites and e-commerce platforms were major ways to obtain products and services. Now that businesses operate both in-person and online, the law extends to websites which serve as extensions to physical storefronts.

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Does my business have to comply with the ADA?
“Employers” are required to comply with the ADA. An “employer” is defined by the ADA as someone who has 15 or more full-time employees for at least 20 calendar weeks in the year. If your business does not meet these requirements, you may not have to comply.

If your business solely operates online, you may not need to comply with the ADA because your website is not an extension of a physical storefront that is open to the general public. If you do have a brick-and-mortar location, and you offer your services online as well, you may want to check to see if you are required to comply with the ADA.

What does ADA compliance mean for websites?
The ADA now applies to websites and applications, not just restaurants and stores. This was stated by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Domino’s was sued in 2019 because their website and mobile app were not ADA compliant. A blind user was unable to order food from Domino’s website or mobile app using a screen-reading software.

What does this mean for website ADA compliance? It means that businesses that offer services both in-person and online may need to re-evaluate their websites and make sure that it is accessible for everyone.

What is an ADA compliant website?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have different levels that have different requirements, but there are no specific ADA regulations for websites and web content. For more information and a complete checklist of WCAG, click here.

How do I make my website disability-friendly?
Even if you are not required to make your website ADA compliant, you can still make small changes to make your website more accessible for everyone. For example, you can add alternative text for your images, which allows screen readers to ‘read’ the image. Consider changing the colors and layout of your website to make it easier to view, and make sure that the fonts you use are easily readable. You can also turn off AutoPlay audio and video which can be distressing for users with cognitive impairments.

These are all good steps to take, regardless of your requirement to comply with the ADA. However, they won’t guarantee that your website is fully accessible.

Can Octadyne Systems give me an ADA compliant website?
We can implement programs and offer plugins that will make your website more accessible and/or ADA compliant. These features include:

  • Ability to adjust web content – Allows users to increase or decrease font sizes, change colors and contrast, add more spacing, and etc. This will make your content accessible to people who suffer from visual impairments such as color blindness or glaucoma.
  • Optimization for keyboard navigation – This allows people who are unable to use a mouse the ability to use their keyboard to browse and use the internet.
  • Compatibility with screen readers – Make your website accessible to people who use screen readers to assist them due to visual impairments or blindness.
  • Disable animations – Flashing banners and animations can be distressing for many, and can even induce seizures for those who suffer from epilepsy. Give them the ability to disable all flashing and blinking animations.
  • Built-in dictionary – This assists people who aren’t able to comprehend or understand certain expressions.
  • And more!

How can I get started?
Make your website ADA compliant today with Octadyne Systems! Call us today at 515-232-2024 or send us a message by clicking on the button below!