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Based on web accessibility data, the ADA compliance-related lawsuits reached over 2,000 cases in 2019. ADA Compliance is Mandatory for Digital Agencies. The challenge, however, is knowing how to build and design ADA-compliant websites. That’s the problem we’ll help you address in this post.
In this ultimate ADA compliance guide, we’ve laid out the things your web design agency needs to know to make accessible websites.
The number of lawsuits will only keep growing if website owners, developers, and agencies continue to be non-compliant with the ADA.
If you don’t want to be a part of that statistic, you’ll need to ensure that your agency and client websites offer accessibility to persons with disabilities and adhere to ADA standards.
What is the ADA, anyway?
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law that was enacted in 1990 to prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in every area of public life.
This includes non-discrimination in schools, jobs, transportation, and all private and public places for general access — and those considered as “public accommodation.”
For businesses, the required accommodations under the ADA include interface devices for the visually impaired, qualified interpreters or interpretive tools for the hearing impaired, ramp access for mobility devices like wheelchairs, and more.
In the digital space, specifically websites, ADA compliance means providing web accessibility features and functionalities that allow persons with disabilities to use sites effectively.
Originally, the ADA defined persons with disabilities as those with conditions that substantially limit major life activities — which somehow constricted what was considered as a disability.
In the 2018 amendment, however, the ADA’s scope became broader, changing the meaning of “major life activity” to include daily life functions like performing manual operations.
With this new definition, businesses will need to provide accessibility to a wide range of disabilities to adhere to ADA standards.
Why should web design agencies know about it?
If your web design agency creates websites that aren’t compliant with the ADA standards, you put your clients at risk of getting slapped with ADA-related lawsuits — and that’s not where you want to be.
By providing non-compliant sites to your clients, not only will you get some flak from them due to the legal problems they’re bound to get in, but you’ll also wreck your agency’s credibility.
It’s also worth pointing out that the ADA doesn’t specify the technical requirements for achieving compliance. Instead, it gives you the flexibility on how you can make your websites accessible.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t give you a lot to work with to comply with legislation fully.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US courts previously used the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA success criteria as a standard for assessing the accessibility of websites.
The WCAG 2.1 provides layers of standards to help you achieve web accessibility, including principles, basic guidelines, success criteria, and sufficient and advisory techniques.
Although the WCAG 2.1 isn’t formally codified into US law, it’s currently the best and safest standard you can follow to comply with web accessibility requirements and the ADA.