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Boot up, launch your browser and pull up your favorite website. Now, close your eyes and have someone cover your ears. Try to navigate and go to your favorite hot spots on that website. This is the obstacle millions of Americans with disabilities face every day.
A good corporate website isn't all about appearance and content. Ensuring accessibility is as important as providing visitors with solid information. According to the United States Census Bureau, 56.7 million Americans have a disability. That figure makes up nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population. Now think about if one in every five customers can’t use your website. How much revenue might you lose? That’s why it’s critical to understand how beneficial ADA compliance can be to help these Americans and for the future of any company.
What's ADA compliance and why is It so important?
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 2010 sets the standards for accessible design. Implemented by the Department of Justice, it states how all commercial and public websites should be built to remain easy to use for everyone.
While there are a lot of guidelines governing ADA websites, you should be aware of Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C). Both documents carry much of the same rules, however WCAG is more extensive.
A few best practices you can easily use to combat common ADA violations:
While listing all the guidelines is beyond the scope of this article, here's why building an ADA-compliant website should be a top priority.
Even though a significant number of Americans have trouble accessing the web, most websites fail at ADA compliance. This is risky for businesses, since the Department of Justice is planning on enforcing these rules on websites in 2018. The time to become ADA compliant is now.
Patrick Hodgson is digital director at Allison+Partners.