Running an internet site or online business is pretty special. There has never been a time where someone could start a site, create content or start selling online, and then have a successful business up and running in no time.
Unfortunately, not everything on the internet is glitz and glamor. There is also a darker side of the internet where legal actions and attorneys search out sites, and try to scare them with frivolous lawsuits and demand letters.
Sometimes they have a good reason for their actions, and most other times they don’t. However, whenever there is legal action that can be taken against a brand or business for any reason, you know several examples will be made. And this is something we’ve seen time and time again with legal action against big names like Target and Walmart for not being fully accessible to all audiences.
Today we are going to highlight the recent lawsuits and regulations in reference to website accessibility. These are in reference to making sure your website and online business is fully accessible to all audiences, no matter what limitations or disabilities they might have.
If your online business or site don’t fall within these guidelines, it could potentially be next on the list for legal action. Read on to learn more about why your site must be web accessible, and how to get fully compliant.
What are the ADA and WCAG Guidelines?
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the two major regulations in place that are associated with website accessibility and making sure every site visitor has access to all content, information and services offered.
Based on a survey of 10 million pages, 98 out of 100 internal pages do not comply with WCAG standards. It’s clear that an overwhelming majority of sites don’t take accessibility into account even with laws requiring them to follow specific standards.” — which means you likely aren’t alone if you are just hearing about such guidelines and restrictions for the first time (source).
In order to make your site fully compliant with both of these regulations, every site user must have the equal or better access to all services and content offered through your site and business. With this in mind, would a site visitor with limited visibility, a history of epilepsy or ADHD be able to fully function and navigate through your site?
If you aren’t sure, then probably now.
However, if you would like to confirm, there is a free site accessibility tool being offered by accessiBe, that allows site owners to check the status and content of their site.
After running your site through this free ADA and WCAG auditing tool, you will be sent to a page report that highlights the different areas of your site, while also covering why it is or isn’t compliant.
At the end of this process, it would be your decision on if you would make such recommendations and changes on your own, or if you were to find another third-party solution to get the job done.
How to Make Your Site 100% Compliant
In order to make your site compliant, one would think it’s a matter of completely redesigning your site and having to hire an expensive programming and design team. Fortunately, this isn’t the case — and even if it was, there still wouldn’t be a solution in place that could officially cater to the specific needs that each person has when they visit your site.
A better solution, is to explore your options with a solution like accessiBe, which has revolutionized the process of making websites and online businesses ADA and WCAG compliant within 48 hours according to this resource.
Without going into the technical details of the wizardry that happens behind the scenes, The platform has the ability to use it’s AI-powered solution, along with machine learning to provide site owners with the best possible experience — based on their existing disabilities, limitations or individual needs.
The way this process works is quite simple. Site owners just need to sign up for a free trial through the site, and then need to add a short line of code to their site.
With this code in place the platform starts to analyze the content of your site, along with the visitors coming to it. While all of this is going, an Accessibility Application will also appear on your site in the form of a handicap wheelchair icon (usually on the bottom corner of the page).
When clicked, this icon would open up into the full in-browser application shown below.
With such a solution in place, site owners can choose the right accessibility profile for them. As seen in the screenshot above, this would allow for users to improve usage of your site and online business based on their needs.
Such features include seizure safe mode (which eliminates flashing and reduces color), visually impaired (enhances the website’s visuals), cognitive disability (assists with reading and focusing), and more.
In short, automation is really one of the only options out there for making a site and online business fully compliant — while also keeping it updated and within the guidelines that ADA and WCAG require and it’s also good for SEO.
Get Compliant Today… or else!
With more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, it’s not a question of ‘if’ someone is going to visit your site that has limitations or disabilities, it’s simply a matter of ‘when’.
And to be honest, several audiences in this demographic are probably visiting your site daily, but they are likely just leaving because your site isn’t compliant and catering to their needs.
This might be fine for now, but what happens when one of them is aware of the ADA and WCAG guidelines and knows an attorney they can start talking to about it. Yes, it is a worse case scenario, but it does happen daily on the internet.
Not only is it better to be safe than sorry, it’s also just better business practice to make sure your site is compliant and fully accessible to all audiences.