In the not too distant past, it was a day like any other at JEG DESIGN INC. Phish was playing in the background, french bulldogs were licking each other’s crotch, and Jonathan Gicewicz, owner and Chief Designer of JEG DESIGN INC, was in the middle of designing a new client’s website design in. Then, well, have you ever received an email and then instantly got a phone call from the sender of said email inquiring whether or not you received the now thrice mentioned email?
Well, Jon got that email. Then he got a phone call about that email. It was an existing client. And they were freaking out. Why? Jon’s client was being threatened with litigation because their website lacked the accessibility to make it ADA Compliant.
Imagine living in a world that wasn’t designed for you to live in.
You’re told how fantastic a place is. And how that place offers an amazing experience. And how you have to check out this other place because it will undoubtedly blow your mind.
But you can’t. You’re denied access. And we’re not talking about being denied access because of bias exclusivity like a golf course in Georgia. We’re talking about not being able to enter because you weren’t even taken into consideration when the establishment was built.
Now imagine another world was created within this world. And instead of things being different, they are identical.
Well, the first world is the actual physical world we live. A world where handicap ramps and handicap parking are not only essential, they are required by law.
The latter is the cyberworld. Many web designers often overlook accessibility and ADA Compliance, yet, without realizing it, both are essential and required by law.
The purpose of this piece is to inform you of:
- What is ADA Compliance?
- What does an ADA Compliant/Accessible Website Look Like?
- Why ADA Compliance/Accessibility Is Important.
- And finally, how can you make your site compliant.
Because, and just like what happened to many businesses back in the day when they didn’t have the aforementioned ramp or parking spot — they can be sued out of existence.
What is ADA Compliance?
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disability Act. Title III of this act stated that all businesses open to the public were required to be accessible and make “reasonable modifications” to that end.
Then, in 2010, the Department of Justice added revisions called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. These revisions decreed that a website needs to be accessible to people who have disabilities that affect their hearing, vision, or physical capacities. And while this is, in fact, a law, it is not enforced like the DEA enforces narcotics or the INS enforces immigration. Meaning, the only way for a company/business/website to be held accountable is via lawsuit.
And pay attention to this — not only can you be sued for damages, but you can also be held liable for all of the plaintiff’s legal fees. So, if you determine that there must be modifications to your site — you may still be obligated to pay for the accuser’s representation, consultant fees, or anything else that can be drummed up during a lengthy, arduous legal proceeding.
Oh, and one more thing — you can also be sued depending on the state in which you reside. So, for example, if you live in California, you can be sued up to $4,000 each time an accuser encounters something restricting them from entering due to their disability.
Let that marinate for a moment.
What Does An ADA Compliant/Accessible Website Look Like?
First and foremost, there are several scenarios you must take into account to assure your site is compliant. Users must be able to:
- And Interact with your site
This includes anyone with all of but not limited to impairments, such as:
- And visual
There are also situational aspects as well, such as:
- People on a moving transportation
- People with limited internet connectivity
- People in a dark lit room
- And people unable to play sound
For a good checklist of what makes a site ADA Compliant, check out this article.
Why is ADA Compliance/Accessibility Important?
Other than the fact that you don’t want to get sued and it’s the right thing to do — having an accessible website not only expands your potential audience, it improves your SEO!
If your site possesses the essential requirements, information, and features to assure it’s compliant — then your site is fully stocked and loaded and tells the search engines your company provides a beneficial user experience. Plus many more juicy nuggets these search engine-created algorithms covet when determining the quality of a site.
In this world and the cyber world, access is a right, not a privilege. Let me repeat that for the folks in Augusta — access is a right, not a privilege.
However, many seek to exploit and damage companies for personal gain in these same worlds. And unfortunately, the client that contacted JEG DESIGN INC was in the crosshairs of one of those exploiters.
So, what did Jon do? Knowing that doing nothing could cost his client up to six figures in compensation and fees to the accuser. Knowing that creating a fully ADA Compliant site could cost close to $30,000 to build — Jon realized he could…
To find out, contact Jon Gicewicz today. And discover how JEG DESIGN INC can guide you in your website design in Vermont & make your site accessible and compliant, all for a ridiculously reasonable cost.
Written by Keith Hannigan. Keith is the co-owner and Chief Writer at SBI Content Creation LLC. SBI Content Creation is a content writing company just outside of Atlanta, Georgia