The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became a law in 1990. It is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including jobs, transportation, schools, public and private places open to the public in general, communications, and access to state and local government programs and services.
This is an extremely important law when it comes to websites and online initiatives. It’s more than just a legal issue; accessibility is essential for any business or organization that wants to reach as many people as possible. Ensuring that your website is not violating the law is not the only benefit of accessibility. Websites that are optimized for accessibility rank higher in search engine results and experience increased revenue from an improved and more inclusive audience reach. A focus on accessibility and consistent optimization for accessibility provides a positive user experience that furthers customer loyalty and retention.
There are 5 sections of the ADA:
- Title I: Employment
This title of the law is designed to help people with disabilities access the same employment opportunities and benefits available to people without disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees.
- Title II: State and Local Government
This section of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities, and services of public entities. It applies to all state and local governments, their departments and agencies, and any other instrumentalities or special purpose districts of state or local governments.
- Title III: Public Accommodations
This title prohibits private places of public accommodation, including privately operated, leased, or owned facilities like restaurants, retail stores, hotels, doctor’s offices, private schools, golf courses, daycare centers, gyms, theaters, sports venues, and more from discriminating against individuals with disabilities.
- Title IV: Telecommunications
Telephone and internet companies are required to provide a nationwide system of interstate and intrastate telecommunications relay services that allow individuals with hearing and speech disabilities to communicate over the telephone.
- Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions
The final section of the ADA relates to the law’s relationship to other laws, state immunity, its impact on insurance providers and benefits, prohibition against retaliation and coercion, illegal use of drugs, attorney’s fees, and a list of certain conditions that are not considered disabilities.
It’s important to ask “is my website ADA compliant” because if it isn’t, you are at risk of violating the law and your business may be exposed to a lawsuit – two obvious predicaments that will negatively impact your business. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fret, my friends. Help is only a click or call away!
There are a large range of terms, laws, guidelines, and documentation that exist around accessibility. Americaneagle.com will help you navigate through the nuances and compliance needs throughout the world to ensure that your digital solutions are inclusive and accessible. Our experienced team is well-versed in disability laws such as the ADA, WCAG, and global accessibility considerations. We have Trusted Testers, CPWAs, and CPACCs who can handle any accessibility challenge.
EN 301 549
ADA Site Compliance for WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines)
WCAG is widely regarded as the international standard for web accessibility. The ADA guidelines seek to improve the accessibility of websites, web applications, and web content across all digital devices for people with auditory, neurological, physical, speech, cognitive or visual disabilities.
WCAG contains four main principals. It aims to improve the ability of all people to contribute within the World Wide Web with websites and web applications that are:
ADA Web Compliance for VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates)
A VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) is a document that explains how information and communication technology products such as hardware, electronic content, software, and support documentation meet the Revised 508 Standards for IT accessibility. VPATs and Accessibility Conformance Reports (ACRs) are standard methods of reporting the level of WCAG conformity for websites and web apps when it comes to ADA, 508, and state compliance requirements. An accessibility audit is done on the website or digital product, then a VPAT is created to identify any areas where accessibility standards are not met, with the following five levels of conformance:
- Partially Supports
- Does Not Support
- Not Applicable
- Not Evaluated
ADA Site Compliance for AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act)
The AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) is a Canadian provincial law passed in 2005 to improve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. ADA Site Compliance for AODA refers to the process of making sure a website or digital product is accessible according to the standards set by the AODA. Similar to the ADA, it requires businesses and organizations to make their internet websites and web content accessible to people with disabilities.
The act covers several areas of everyday life, including:
- Customer Service
- Information & Communications
- Built Environment
Avoiding ADA Compliant Website Lawsuits: Tips for Web Accessibility)
The best defense against a potential lawsuit for non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or similar legislation in other jurisdictions, is to proactively ensure that your website or digital product is accessible to all users.
Here are some steps you can take:
- Perform a formal ADA accessibility assessment. This should be your first step. Americaneagle.com’s accessibility experts conduct a thorough accessibility audit that maximizes automated tools and manual testing to identify remediation opportunities to meet accessibility standards. Our team tests and assesses your site to meet the latest version of WCAG. We also consider ADA, Section 508, and other international laws, then create a roadmap to optimize accessibility.
- Remedy and fix identified usability issues. After identifying the accessibility concerns, we will go to work to fix them. This might involve adjusting color contrasts, adding alt text to images, screen readers, captions, improving navigation for keyboard-only users, and other remediation services.
- Regularly review and update your website. Web accessibility isn't a one-time task. Regular reviews and updates are necessary to ensure ongoing compliance, especially as new content is added or the website design changes. To sustain accessibility performance, Americaneagle.com can also train your internal teams to maintain web accessibility.
In addition to the ADA, it’s important to make sure you're aware of and compliant with any local or regional laws applicable to your business. For example, businesses in California should follow the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and those operating in the EU should comply with the Web Accessibility Directive.
The goal of website accessibility laws are to ensure that websites and web applications are accessible to people with disabilities. This includes various physical, mental, and neurological impairments like blindness, hearing loss, cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, or brain injuries. Making your website accessible is not just a legal requirement, it’s a good business practice because it improves the user experience for all and can increase your potential customer base.
ADA Compliance Guidelines & Requirements FAQs
What are ADA requirements for websites?
The ADA has certain standards for accessible design, which apply to all electronic information and technology. The accessibility of a website can be broken down into four basic principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
Is there ADA compliance certification or confirmation for websites from the US government?
ADA guidelines exist to help businesses and organizations ensure their websites are accessible, but there is no official certification process. However, the government does provide resources to help businesses understand and meet accessibility guidelines. For instance, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to follow modern standards of web accessibility, and the Access Board provides minimum guidelines known as ADA Standards.
Can a website be 100% ADA compliant?
A website cannot be 100% ADA compliant because compliance is not a pass-fail test but rather a spectrum. Web accessibility is an ongoing process, so web developers should stay up-to-date with the latest accessibility guidelines and best practices to ensure accessibility.
How much does it cost to make a website ADA compliant?
The cost to make a website ADA compliant can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the website. Americaneagle.com provides comprehensive consulting, training, assessments, and remediation services to help businesses improve accessibility and inclusivity.
How do I test my website for ADA and WCAG compliance?
We have Web Accessibility experts that will check if your website is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and 2.1.
Contact Us Today to Take Steps Toward Digital Accessibility
The internet should be accessible to all, but many websites lack web accessibility features. Legal pressure has increased non-compliance cases. Contact us today to avoid losing potential customers. We'll audit your site, identify potential issues, and create a roadmap to remedy those issues and ensure compliance.