In the last few years there has been a lot of talk, and lawsuits, regarding handicapped accessible websites. But what does this all mean?
According to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), any company with a website that does business in the United States is legally required to provide equal accessibility to all people. The ADA currently does not have any laws or regulations addressing legal or technical standards for website accessibility.
Most companies have been following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 or 2.1, level AA which were developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as part of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Organizations that comply with the technical requirements of the WCAG guidelines will help protect themselves against legal action. This is currently not the law.
However, on October 2, 2020, the 116th Congress introduced H.R.8478*; the Online Disability Act. This bill sets requirements for consumer-facing websites and mobile applications owned or operated by a private entity and guidance regarding standards for website accessibility by the disabled including the WCAG requirements. This is good news.
Is having an accessible website good for business?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 61 million people, or a quarter of the adult American population, live with a disability. People with disabilities who visit accessible websites feel welcomed – and can interact online with ease. This group has an estimated $645 billion in annual disposable income. That is a large group of potential clientele.
Web Accessibility also benefits people without disabilities:
- People using mobile phones, smart watches, smart TVs, and other devices with small screens, different input modes, etc.
- Older people with changing abilities due to aging.
- People with “temporary disabilities” such as a broken arm or lost glasses.
- People with “situational limitations” such as in bright sunlight or in an environment where they cannot listen to audio.
- People using a slow Internet connection, or who have limited or expensive bandwidth.
How does this affect you?
Having your website accessible overlaps with best practices: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), mobile web design, device independence and usability. It provides better search results, increased audience reach and demonstrates a corporate social responsibility.
Marketing Tech hosted a FREE webinar on website accessibility on Wednesday, December 16 at 12:00 noon. If you would like more information on making your website accessible, You can view the recording here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3314945506055864326
We will also be hosting webinars on accessibility in the future. You can keep up with our webinar schedule at: https://marketingtechonline.com/webinars/
*If you are interested, you can find more information on H.R.8478 here: https://bit.ly/3n4Y08Y