Does Your Website Support People With Disabilities Online?
Most business owners would want to support people with disabilities, and not only to help increase sales but because MOST PEOPLE TRULY MEAN WELL. And while there has been great progress in the physical world of business for how to support various disability types, the question nowadays becomes how does a business even begin to provide reliable website accessibility online – and for all the different types of disability? Read on because this is not only a technology challenge & cost – it has also become a legal challenge.
According to the American Disabilities Act (ADA) all published materials produced by a business must be accessible to people with disabilities. And since the Department of Justice (DOJ) has affirmed that business websites are considered to be places of public accommodation that must be accessible for people with disabilities, web accessibility legal demand letters, and lawsuits are on the rise! See one Association’s (NAR) recommendation to its members on this matter: https://youtu.be/BJsJOHvjpJo
For a small to medium-sized business the cost to code an entire website’s pages, functionality, and all of its images & graphics >> compliant << is not only cost-prohibitive but a potentially never-ending process and cost. Compliant means having it all done in a way that meets all of the widely accepted standards defined in the ‘Web Content Accessibility Guidelines’ or WCAG 2.1.
And while WCAG is an enormous document of standards, the web itself is never static or simple either. To serve both correctly, you’ll also have to build a website that can be updated (i.e. code updates) regularly in order to remain in step with web browser, search engine, host server, and mobile responsibility standards. That is if you wish to continue to support people with disabilities month over month and year to year without having to rebuild the website again and again. Ultimately, what business can justify such effort & cost?
There are reliable, affordable, and cost-effective options, so please read on.
What Does Disability Mean?
Disabled is defined as anybody with blindness and low vision, color blindness, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photo-sensitivity to certain colors, AND/OR any combination of them all. Contrary to what some may believe, becoming compliant is not only support for those in a wheelchair. It is a whole lot more.
The fact is, any business risks unnecessary legal expenses if they do not get up to speed. There is a growing list of business owners facing legal challenges in the area of website accessibility right now, making recognition of these issues necessary moving forward.
Options For The Average Business
If you have made it this far, then you are likely wondering: “what options are there for my business?” The options to deal with this include:
● Do nothing… but risk a lawsuit
● Go offline… maybe not a reasonable idea in a day and age where people expect a defining web presence
● Build a compliant website from scratch … the cost being in the tens of thousands to meet all of the standards detailed in WCAG
● Hire ADA compliance consultants… apparently, starting at $5k+/month
● Use basic website application plugins… almost all applications available now only cover 25- 30% of what is required to be fully compliant
● Get a complete website application that addresses web accessibility for all the disabilities that is affordable, ongoing, automated and that eliminates any need for special website programming (we believe there is one excellent option!)
If supporting people with disabilities, not to mention avoiding legal action, concerns you PLEASE ask to set up a call. We can share everything we’ve found in time spent looking into reliable options for a small to medium-sized business.
Accessibility Compliance Information & Support
- Website Accessibility For The Disabled: https://www.kineticknowledge.com/web-accessibility-for-the-disabled/
- How To Add Alt Text Descriptions to Website Images: https://www.kineticknowledge.com/how-to-add-alt-text-to-website-images/
- How To Transcribe Video on YouTube: https://www.kineticknowledge.com/how-to-transcribe-videos-on-youtube/
- National Association of Realtors recommendations: https://youtu.be/BJsJOHvjpJo
- Inspiration @ MSFT: https://news.microsoft.com/stories/people/jenny-lay-flurrie.html