Do miami businesses need ADA compliant websites?
When it comes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the term “reasonable accommodations,” the image of a brick and mortar business or workplace might immediately come to mind. The reality is that along with bricks and mortar, online marketing and e-commerce have changed the way people interact with products and services. Maintaining a web presence that is accessible to everyone, regardless of disability is vital whether required by law or not. That’s why the ADA expanded guidelines and rules to include digital information.
Many, but not all types of businesses are required to meet ADA guidelines. Organizations located in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties who meet the standard must make a reasonable effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities, including those who are deaf, blind, or must otherwise navigate the internet using a screen reader. At the same time, recent court cases seem to indicate that complying with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) is adequate.
What businesses must adhere to ADA web compliance regulations?
Title II of the ADA indicates that state and local government agencies must comply. Title III of the ADA specifies that public accommodations, commercial facilities, and businesses that have a certain number of employees must comply. There are exceptions, but to reduce the likelihood of legal exposure due to website non-compliance, all organizations should consider meeting WCAG 2.0 standards.
What are WCAG 2.0 compliant accommodations?
In general, your site and content should be completely accessible and coherent when viewed with a screen reader. Screen reader compatibility is a good indication that individuals with hearing, vision, and other physical impairments can access your content with assistive technology.
Here is a partial list of content issues that should be addressed to be WCAG 2.0 compliant:
- Alt tags for images
- Descriptions, scripts and appropriate captioning for audio, video, and image files
- An organized and coherent layout that is easy to navigate is also vital
- Skip navigation links (shortcut to text navigation)
- Tab-friendly forms
- Pop-ups that can be accessed and controlled
- Control over animation
- Control over font size, color, and contrast
- Accessible pdf documents and attachments
- Link highlighting
- Accommodation for interactive elements
What happens if businesses fail to comply with the ADA?
Redesigning a website or adding WCAG compliance features can be costly and time-consuming. Many businesses located in South Florida might be tempted to ignore the issue even though they are legally obligated to comply. Given the potential cost of a lawsuit, fines, and damages, making an effort to comply could be seen as a form of insurance.
What if you are not required to comply?
You may not face legal hurdles, but your site may not be accessible to an entire audience who wants to use your products or services. What is ignoring an audience worth in sales, or missed opportunities?
The best option is to create a compliant site from the start and ensure that your business is available to everyone, regardless of disability.
For more information on accessible website design, or making your website ADA/WCAG 2.0 compliant, contact Vortex Communications today.
* The reader should seek the advice of an attorney to discuss legal obligations and exposure. Vortex Communications is not offering legal advice or making any legal representations concerning WCAG or ADA website compliance.