Dos and Don’ts for ADA website inspection

  • 26.10.2020

The key thing to keep in mind when planning your website’s code is that it should display effective communication.

The state protects the rights of persons with disabilities through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law most concerned with the prevention of discrimination. It is implemented by the setting up of standards that form the basic code for accessibility. Because the ADA was signed by the senior President Bush before the advent of the internet as we know it today, it did not specifically encode solutions for web design. However, the internet has increasingly become a place that people access for information, services, and other needs. With the millions of people who have at least one form of disability, businesses who are not compliant with the ADA might find that they are missing out on a big chunk of the available market.

Title III of the ADA does not particularly mention the internet, but courts have determined that a website is also a public place of accommodation. Several ADA lawsuits have been filed year by year and it is now part and parcel of business management to make sure that ADA accessibility requirements are met.

How can I tell if a website is ADA compliant?

Probably the best references for ADA compliance are the complaints identified in various lawsuits. However, you would still be bound to miss a few points that may be spotted during an ADA inspection. Here are some notes that might help as you go about building your website’s design:

  • Is my website’s Home accessible to everyone? The home page is usually the first page that a customer will see when they access your shop, blog, or online facility. Thus, of all addresses on the site’s property, the Home should be the most compliant with the ADA. The information it provides must be accessible to people who might have a hearing, seeing, or learning disability.
  • Is there a Contact Us option that is evident to all visitors? Feedback is very important especially if you are looking to be ADA compliant. Clients who might have accessibility concerns with your services would definitely want to contact you to state their concerns. Websites must have a contact page for an easy way to communicate with the business.
  • Is there an audio option for people who might be unable to read the information on the page? Websites are very visual in nature but construction must also be done with audio components in mind. The good news is that solutions are now available for this accessibility concern. It is a good practice to make sure that plugins like screen readers are certified to be running at all times.
  • Is there a text option for people who might not be able to hear audio? Conversely, a visual component must be made accessible for people who have hearing disabilities. In case there are important facets of the service explained in videos, what is said must also be easily read in textual format. Recently, one man even sued a prominent video sharing site of pornographic content for allegedly failing to provide closed captioning on their videos.

These are the basic standards that businesses must observe for ADA compliance. However, these do not cover even half of all ADA accessibility requirements.

Whether you plan to run a blog, a commercial service, or merely a property listing, it is necessary to read the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Although not enshrined in the law, it is the primary reference for ADA compliance that can help you with the best practices when you undertake new construction.

What is an ADA assessment?

One way to assure you of ADA compliance is consulting with a Certified Access Specialist (CASp). A CASp is a specifically trained inspector who has vital knowledge of ADA requirements and compliance. These days, consulting with an CASp inspector can be a great investment for your business in light of expensive legal proceedings for noncompliance with the ADA. The CASp inspector provides you with a report that can either make you certified for ADA compliance or advise you of accessibility changes that must be made with your website’s code.

While it is impossible to have 100% ADA compliance, today, inspection services can be availed to check the compliance of any facility, including websites. Such inspections can greatly reduce your chances of having a case filed against your property or services as well as give you protection in the event that such a hassle occurs.

Now that we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it must be accepted that websites provide vital services. More people are now turning to the online option for various functions in their daily lives, and website owners are expected to be accountable for their ADA compliance. It is high time for business owners to make sure that their websites are certified for ADA accessibility not only for the avoidance of lawsuits but also for the desire for commercial expansion. Businesses must not wait for legal ADA website inspections to inform them of accessibility oversight and instead be proactive in adhering to the ADA requirements of the state.