Inclusivity is a core value that many individuals feel near and dear to their hearts. However, it can be easy to overlook the fact that inclusivity needs to extend to your web presence as well. According to the CDC, over 3 percent of Americans live with some form of visual impairment and 15 percent have a hearing impairment.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are working online than ever before, and this includes millions of disabled potential clients and customers. An ADA and Unruh compliant website lets disabled people access your services and products online, just like your other clients.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the top reasons why businesses need to build Unruh and ADA compliance into their websites and why law firms recommend their clients do the same. You’ll also find actionable tips to get you started on your ADA and Unruh compliance journey. Let’s dive in.
Why ADA and Unruh Compliance Matters
Protect Yourself from Damaging Litigation
The ADA and Unruh Act makes compliance a basic legal requirement for any business that is operating an online presence. If your website isn’t ADA compliant, you risk facing ADA complaint demand letters, lawsuits, and potentially expensive settlements that could range anywhere from $25,000 per occurrence and up. ADA suits don’t actually allow plaintiffs to press for damages, they only cover attorney’s fees.
Unruh Broadens the Scope of ADA Protections
However, disabled residents also benefit from the Unruh Act. Under Unruh, plaintiffs can be awarded three times the value of their damages, with a minimum of $4,000. Unruh’s compliance requirements are similar to the ADA, but the Act covers businesses with no physical presence. This puts both virtual law firms and businesses and traditional brick-and-mortar providers on the Unruh radar.
If you have a website, talk to an ADA compliance vendor to see what works for your website and what needs to change. If you don’t have a web presence, make sure that ADA and Unruh compliance play a key role in your design strategy when building your new site.
Tap Into an Important Market During this Unprecedented Downturn
A recent McKinsey report describes COVID as an “unprecedented challenge to the legal system.” Businesses across the country are broadening their reach to mitigate risk. In this context, enabling access to disabled Americans represents an immense opportunity.
Blind and deaf Americans account for nearly 18 percent of the population. An ADA compliant website means that these 60 million Americans can access your legal services with ease. Supporting blind and deaf Americans and fostering inclusivity go hand-in-hand with mitigating your long-term COVID risk.
Websites are Visual: Ensure Accessibility for Visually-Impaired Users
Websites are inherently visual: everything from text to images to navigation tools requires users to know what’s on the screen. It’s especially hard for visually-impaired users to access ADA non-compliant web content. Ensuring access to blind Americans should form a key part of your ADA compliance strategy. Let's take a look at how Blind users handle web content and what you can do to ensure access.
5 Actionable WAI Design Tips
- Provide a text equivalent for all non-text content. For images and videos, this means including alt-text that screen readers can pick up.
- Ensure that forms and navigation buttons are compatible with screen reader software. If you have forms with multiple buttons, each button should be accessible to screen readers.
- Make sure that text resizing doesn’t affect content function. Users with partial visual impairment can benefit by magnifying text. Resizing shouldn’t cause issues with how the site functions.
- Give links and URLs self-explanatory names. If the purpose of a URL link isn’t clear, screen reader software won’t be able to tell visually-impaired users where the link will take them.
- Minimize content that enforces a time limit on access, or allow users to disable the timer. Blind users using screen reading software often take longer to read web content, and timers constrain the experience.
- Make sure to add an accessibility statement to your website. Accessibility statements showcase your commitment to equal access and let disabled users about the steps you’ve take to ensure accessibility and the standards your complies with, like WCAG 2.1. Rs
Continuous Compliance With Our Accessibility Widget
Actually, implementing ADA compliance can be a major challenge: your website has dozens of pages and a whole host of UI interfaces, all of which need to match standards. Whenever you add new features or additional content, you need to circle back and ensure compliance.
At Flying V Group, we leverage an AI-based Accessibility Widget to enable continuous ADA and Unruh compliance, going above and beyond the standards. The widget integrates seamlessly with CMS platforms like WordPress and Wix. After the install, we help you configure the automated AI-powered compliance solution.
Take a Look: Click the icon hovering on the left hand side of this screen to see the widget in action!
The widget scans and remediates accessibility issues across your website near-instantaneously, fixing everything from broken headers to color contrast. And because the widget resides on your site, any new content you automatically becomes compliant with ADA and Unruh.
Talk to an ADA Compliance Experts
These tips explain why ADA and Unruh compliance matter and should get you started on your compliance journey. However, getting a complete picture of your compliance situation is critical. Learn more about ADA and Unruh compliance and accessibility experts by clicking here.
Thank you so much for reading ADA And Unruh Compliance: Why It Matters For Your Website. We really appreciate it! If you have any questions about our article, or can suggest any other topics you think we should explore, feel free to let us know.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.