By Kathy Bazan, Business Recovery Center Consultant
As quickly as you earn money, someone would like to scam that money out of your pocket and into theirs. Here is a revived scam of small business owners:
Lawyer firms accuse business owners of having websites which violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or marketing firms scare you into getting a new ADA compliant website when it might NOT be a legal necessity.
Please Note: There are no clear ADA website accessibility guidelines and no federally codified compliance directions. Anyone telling you otherwise is extracting money from your wallet for no good purpose.
Are there businesses which are REQUIRED to have an ADA compliant website? Yes.
- Government websites
- Private businesses contracting with the government
- Title I businesses that
- Operate 20 or more weeks per year AND
- Have at least 15 full-time employees.
- Title III businesses.
For this specific set, the ADA requires that these businesses ensure web content is accessible to those with disabilities.
What is the history?
In 1990, the ADA was signed into law. In 2010, ADA expanded with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, which decreed that websites for this previously listed set of businesses be accessible for those with hearing or vision loss, or those who have cognitive, language, or learning disabilities.
Is there a reason you want to be in ADA compliance?
Yes—greater market reach. According to the CDC, there are 61 million disabled American people (about 26% of the population).
Is there a FREE ADA Website Checklist? Yes.
Let me be clear: the ADA does NOT provide website compliance guidelines. Your option is the follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This is for reference and NOT a legal requirement.
WCAG has three compliance levels:
- A (minimum accessibility)
- AA (meets legal requirements) and
- AAA (exceeds accessibility requirements).
Examples of website accessibility:
- Offer audio or assistive technology as alternatives to text.
- Offer keyboard accessibilities to allow easy navigation.
- Make your content accessible by assistive technologies.
Who can make your website ADA compliant?
Your web designer can:
- install screen readers, Braille text, and other technologies.
- Create alt tags for videos, images, and audio files.
- Write text transcripts for audio and video content.
- Specify the website’s language in the header code.
- Offer navigation alternatives.
- Provide an organized, predictable layout.
Where can you get more information about ADA compliant websites?
- A lawyer who specializes in disability law
- A business mentor like me! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me help you avoid scams and grow your business! Coaching is confidential and at no cost to you!
Sources: Kris Rivenburg, “The ADA Checklist: Website Compliance Guidelines for 2021 in Plain English,” Medium.com https://medium.com/@krisrivenburgh/the-ada-checklist-website-compliance-guidelines-for-2019-in-plain-english-123c1d58fad9Sammi Caramela, :Is Your Website ADA Compliant?” Business News Daily (https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10900-ada-website-requirements.html)
Kathy Bazan, BRC Consultant to Business Owners
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