Ensuring your website ADA compliant

Aug 29, 2022Creative Services, Website

Website Accessibility Compliance



What is ADA compliance, and why does it matter?


How do I make my website ADA compliant?

What is ADA compliance, and why does it matter?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the United States’ most important law regarding accessibility and civil rights for people with disabilities. Signed into law in 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination against anyone based on ability or disability.

The ADA is a broad piece of legislation covering many aspects of accessibility for people with disabilities. The part of the ADA that affects how businesses serve customers is called the “ADA Title III.” The ADA Title III covers public areas and accommodations that apply to businesses, restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors’ offices, libraries, parks, and almost every other place of work.

All types and sizes of businesses have to comply with ADA legislation—for their customers and employees—if there are over 15 workers. The ADA affects places of entertainment, restaurants, large enterprises, small to medium businesses, retail stores, government offices, employment agencies, and more.

As the internet and websites have played a bigger role in how consumers interact with businesses, the way that the ADA applies to web accessibility has changed. In 2017, a clear consensus emerged that the ADA also covers the online world. Today, U.S. courts apply ADA accessibility requirements to the internet, meaning websites should comply with ADA rules.

Ensuring your website is ADA compliant is the responsible and right thing to do. But, in recent years, ADA title III-related lawsuits have skyrocketed. There were at least 11,452 federal filings in 2021, which is a 320% increase over a short, eight-year period. And, as of 2020, 265,000 demand letters were sent to businesses that operated inaccessible websites.

Approximately 85% of ADA lawsuits in federal and state courts during 2018 were filed against small-and medium-sized retail businesses. Since it’s almost inevitable that the court would find in favor of the plaintiff, small business owners feel that they must settle out of court. The cost of defending a lawsuit could destroy even a medium-sized business, as the average ADA website lawsuit settlement comes to $35,000.

How do I make my website ADA compliant?

Web accessibility is essentially a set of rules, behaviors, code standards, and design guidelines that were created by the W3C and are called the WCAG 2.1.

The WCAG 2.1 is a massive 1,000-page guidebook that encapsulates a range of disabilities, from hindering internet use to making internet use impossible without adjustments. This spectrum comprises 20-25% of the general population, depending on if we’re going with the CDC or WHO.

There are many disabilities covered, and the primary categories that require attention are

  • blind people using screen-readers,
  • the motor-impaired using only the keyboard to navigate,
  • epilepsy, color blindness,
  • cognitive and learning disabilities,
  • visual impairments, and more

With a 1,000-page guidebook to follow, it is obvious that making your website accessible and compliant is no easy feat! Here’s are a few of the simpler things you can do to work towards full compliance:

  • Every page should have a single H1 title, and titles should follow a consistent hierarchy (H1, H2, H3, etc.);
  • Images should be thoroughly described in image alt tags for assistive technology;
  • Fonts should be large and legible with enough contrast between background and foreground colors;
  • The entire website should be navigable via keyboard.

With that said, simply following the guidelines above will not make your website fully ADA compliant. The current options in the market today are either free or low-cost plugins that do not provide you more than 10-15% of the accessibility you need in order to become compliant.

You also have manual accessibility services that do bring you up to full compliance, but they cost 20-40 thousand dollars per site, and they take several weeks or months to implement.

Those options, as you can imagine, leave 99% of businesses without a feasible solution, making them easy targets for lawsuits and preventing them from helping people with disabilities. To solve this impossible situation, Root & Roam Integrated Marketing Agency has partnered with a leading AI accessibility tool. This interface includes both accessibility profiles and enhancement features.

Let’s touch on a couple of the profiles first. These profiles enable users with disabilities to instantly adjust the entire website to their specific disability. For example, enabling the epilepsy safe mode immediately stops all moving objects and tunes down potential dangerous colors. Enabling the visually-impaired profile scales the content by 100%, increases the website’s saturation, and also activates a text magnifier window using mouse hover.

In addition to the profiles’ functionality, users can choose specific enhancement features, like increasing the font sizes if they are too small. They can also emphasize titles and links and set their preferred scaling, spacing, height, and alignment. The interface also enables people with color blindness to change the website to a dark mode or monochrome mode. These are just a handful of features included.

We know that ensuring your website is ADA Compliant can be an overwhelming task. Root & Roam Integrated Marketing Agency is here to help! Contact us if you’d like a website audit or more information.

Send Us A Message