The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is planning to start enforcing regulations for website accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 2018. Federal, state and local government sites (and those funded by federal, state and local governments) will be the first to be required to follow the new regulations. Private sector business websites will soon follow. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest learn more about ADA and to try to make your website accessible sooner than later, before it becomes a regulation and you may be faced with legal action.
What Does It Mean?
Generally speaking, accessibility means that people with disabilities can access the same things as those without a disability. Whether it is a physical, cognitive, hearing or visual impairment, disabilities can make interacting with a website or mobile phone very difficult. If the user cannot navigate around your website to complete a purchase, you may be missing out on potential business.
1 in 5 American adults live with some sort of disability.
Web accessibility allows people with disabilities to be able to understand, navigate, interact, and contribute to information on the web. It assists not only people with a disability, but also elderly people or those with limited motor skills, people in rural areas or developing countries with slower Internet connections, and people with color blindness. Accessible websites provide all functionality to be used either by a mouse or by a keyboard, allowing people with assisted technologies to be able to navigate the website via joysticks, screen readers, and speech input controls.
Ask yourself, is your website allowing every user to accomplish the same thing? If not, think about who your target audience is and what devices those users may be using to find you. Every person struggles with different things, and we are all different levels of users. Things as simple as the choice of colors on a website can have a major impact on users. For instance, if you are writing a story about the safety of mushrooms and the only way that you distinguish which mushrooms are safe to eat and which ones are deadly to eat is by coloring them either red or green, then a person that is colorblind would not know which ones are deadly to eat. It is important to make your website both technically accessible and user friendly so that everyone has an equal opportunity to understand the content and be able to engage with your products and services. Be sure to keep in mind what challenges your users might be facing. Does your site have enough color contrast for the visually impaired or color blind? Is your site easily navigated via a keyboard for the mobile impaired? And, can your site be read successfully via a screen reader? These are all important questions to consider to make your website allow for better organic traffic, allow for better SEO results and reach more potential customers.
Vivid Image can help you make your website as accessible as possible for all of your users.
Contact us if you would like to learn more.