ADA website compliance has been a hot topic in recent news, as the The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is scheduled to enter a period of rulemaking about accessible websites in spring of 2023 and potential fines could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. This includes the digital world, meaning websites and other online platforms must be accessible to people with disabilities.
To help you better understand what is going on, we’ve answered the top 5 questions about ADA compliant websites and their importance in the healthcare industry.
1. What is ADA website compliance?
For a website to be considered ADA compliant, it needs to be accessible to people with disabilities. This means that the website is equipped with the functionality and design choices that make it easy for people with visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive disabilities to use.
The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division shared guidance about web accessibility in March of 2022 and explained that currently, “Businesses and state and local governments have flexibility in how they comply with the ADA’s general requirements of nondiscrimination and effective communication. But they must comply with the ADA’s requirements.”
The DOJ also references specific technical standards from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 and the Section 508 Standards around what exactly an accessible website entails. These are both helpful tools that businesses can use to determine what specific features their websites should and should not include.
2. Why is it important to have ADA website compliance?
Having an ADA compliant website ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to information and services provided online. The purpose of the ADA is to remove barriers that people with disabilities may face, including anything that would prevent them from accessing important information online or completing necessary tasks.
Why do I need ADA website compliance in 2023?
It is particularly important to have ADA website compliance in 2023 due to a rulemaking procedure that is slated for May through July of 2023. According to the Fall 2022 Unified Agenda, the DOJ “intends to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend its Title II ADA regulation to provide technical standards to assist public entities in complying with their existing obligations to make their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities.”
Outside of mitigating legal risk, having an ADA compliant website has many other benefits, including:
- Optimizing your website’s reach
- Improving your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts
- Attracting new potential customers with disabilities
Want to ensure that your website is ADA compliant? Claim your free audit today!
3. Whose websites need to be ADA compliant?
The ADA requires that state and local governments and businesses open to the public have ADA website compliance. The upcoming DOJ rulemaking will provide concrete accessibility standards for the websites of entities that Title II of ADA applies to, including:
- Social services
- Emergency services
- Public transportation
- Health care
At Baker Marketing Laboratory, we specialize in designing and developing websites for the healthcare industry, so ADA compliance is critical. Our team is well-versed in the latest accessibility guidelines and technologies, and we are committed to ensuring that your healthcare website is user-friendly and visually appealing for all visitors.
Click here to learn more about do’s and don’ts for your healthcare website!
However, even if your business does not fall under the above categories, having an accessible website is a great way to showcase that you prioritize accessibility and stay ahead of future legal risk.
4. What are some common accessibility features of an ADA compliant website?
There are various common features that can help achieve ADA website compliance, including:
- Alt text for images, which provides a description of the image for people who are visually impaired
- Captions for audio and video, which makes the content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Keyboard navigation, which allows people with motor disabilities to navigate the website using the keyboard instead of a mouse or touchpad
- Consistent navigation and labeling, which helps people with cognitive disabilities understand the website’s structure and content
- Color contrast, which ensures text is clearly legible for people with visual impairments
5. How do you make a website ADA compliant?
The first step to achieving ADA website compliance is to conduct an accessibility audit. This involves taking an in-depth look at your current site and identifying areas that need improvement.
Sound like something you don’t have the time or energy for? You’re in luck! Our team of experts at Baker Marketing Laboratory is offering a free ADA compliance audit for your healthcare website. Get your free accessibility audit today for the solution to meeting accessibility standards.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and does not serve as legal advice. You should not act on the basis of any content included in this blog post without seeking legal or other professional advice.