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ADA: Keeping Compliant

The Americans with Disabilities Act's effects and requirements for websites read more

With the height of the cancel culture, companies need to be ever-vigilant about upholding their PC image, which should include being ADA compliant.Conrad Strabone | Managing Partner, President

A site for all

When designing a site, you think backend, front end. You plan out the content. You mull over the UI and even think about how it will be received by your target. Though what might not be top of mind, could be the downfall of your entire web presence—ADA WCAG 2.1 AA Compliance. To understand what it’s all about you need to go back to July 26, 1990. The day President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law, which prohibits any sort of discrimination based on disabilities. While the law’s purpose is straightforward enough, countless businesses are in danger of violation and probably don’t even realize it—specifically in the area of technology. Sites need to be accessible by all, which includes the visually impaired and the blind. The reason behind the launch of the ADA Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in 1999.

Do you need to worry?

1

The accessibility upside

ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990

The good news is that by complying with ADA WCAG, you will expand your customer base by 4 to 5% of the population—the percentage of visually impaired and blind people in this country. The complicated news is technology is not stagnant. Meaning, that as we become more advanced so does WCAG. In 1999, there was 1.0. Then a major 2.0 update in 2008. Since then there have been constant additions, leading up to the most current version, ADA WCAG 2.1 AA.

2

The inaccessibility downside

In the past, there have been around 2,285 ADA website lawsuits per year

The vulnerability of most sites, comes in a simple case of not being aware. With no knowledge of these guidelines a business with lack of compliance can be subject to lawsuits or other legal complications. This can prove costly not just in the suit itself, but if you lose, the plaintiff lawyer's fee must be paid along with covering the damages from each and every visually impaired/blind person unable to access your website. To avoid a long and costly legal battle, most cases settle outside of the court, which could result in a loss of tens of thousands of dollars.

3

Playing the odds

Do your homework, before partnering with any ADA WCAG compliance expert

There’s always that chance that your site will never be reviewed. It could happen. The question is, do you want to live with that chance of a possible costly outcome? While it is a monetary investment to go through ADA auditing and remediatings on an ongoing basis, again, keep in mind this risky alternative. Also remember, this isn’t some e-DIY you can undertake. To be sure your site always remains compliant it’s best to work with a third party company that understands the ins and outs of these ever-changing guidelines.

Double down on protection

As a specialist in ADA WCAG 2.1 AA compliance, and remediation programming, e9digital understands the ever-changing compliance complexities. All of our developers aren’t just knowledgeable in the area, but also have years of experience with these types of projects. That being said we have also partnered with an independent auditor, that is a CPACC (Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies). Their job is to essentially double check our results. Aside from auditing, since they are certified in this area of expertise, if an issue does arise, they can be used as an expert witness for your case.

Basically, there are three levels of ADA compliance:

1

A

The first one, focuses on making your website accessible to some, but not all users.

2

AA

Second, and a bit more encompassing—the middle level where the majority of companies aim to be.

3

AAA

Third, the top of the line for accessibility, not needed on most basic sites.

To accomplish any of these ADA compliance levels involves four main principles:

Essentially this includes everything from font size, text alternatives for images, and contrast ratios, to more complicated aspects such as keyboard-only functionality, the timing for rotating information, input options for fields other than typing, and design that is wary of causing potential seizures or other physical reactions. Once that’s all covered off, it’s time to double-check our work.

 


Clients who recognized the benefits of being ADA compliant.


Ready to double check

Over the years we have streamlined our ADA WCAG process based on the proven success with past clients. First, we start with an audit on your site so we can provide you with an accurate remediation estimate. Once that’s approved we begin implementation. Upon completion, is when we will involve our CAPCC partner who will perform an additional post-audit. Once they are sure the site is in compliance they will issue an official badge for your records. We also prefer to do monthly audits for any active sites to ensure you remain in compliance and will remediate based on any updates or changes to the current guidelines. Again, similar to the initial project, a badge will be issued after each CAPCC inspection.

e9 Notes: For best practices, most of our client sites display their certification badge on the homepage

Getting down to the brass tacks

Of course every site is different, but through our years of working on ADA WCAG projects we’ve been able to provide ballpark figures for some of the upfront costs to give you an idea of what to expect. For the initial auditing, we charge, depending on the size of the site. The actual remediation cost will then be determined based on a number of site variables that comes from our assessment. We also provide post CPACC audit cost which again depends on the site size. Then we offer monthly or quarterly reinspections—depending on your needs.

e9 Notes: Quarterly inspections make sense for inactive sites

The X Factor

With a moving target audience, businesses need to be nimble—especially in these uncertain times. Reputation management has become everything in this cancel culture. The last thing you need is any negative strikes against your business that you can actually prevent. While ADA WCAG 2.1 AA compliance comes at a cost it can also be seen as an investment. Knowing you have taken this extra step can help you connect with new audiences as well as strengthen your goodwill reputation so that your current customers can continue to feel good about using your service or product.

The finished product far exceeded my expectations as did their quick responsiveness to edits. I would recommend their services to any company, large or small.
Jared Levine | Managing Partner at Morgan Levine Dolan, P.C.

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