If your website is accessible, it means your site is WCAG compliant and that everyone, with or without a disability, has the same level of access as everyone else. The Department of Justice says that all websites are subject to the ADA and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. To meet those requirements, the W3C has released the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for businesses and programmers to follow.
If your website wasn’t intentionally built with accessibility in mind, it’s probably not accessible.
Who does this apply to?
Most people are aware that accessibility applies to those with disabilities. Of course, that’s true, but it also applies to people in a wide range of scenarios from temporary illness to current location.
- device shape and size
- broken bones
- being in a quiet room where you can’t play loud sounds
- poor internet connection
- the list goes on
Why should I bother?
First and foremost, it’s the right thing to do.
It’s good for business
When your website is accessible you are:
- serving a wider audience
- improving Search Engine Optimization
- providing a better experience for everyone whether they have a disability or not
- building a better reputation for your company
You are legally required to be accessible
Businesses that end up in court for not having an ADA compliant website face fines, penalties, and violations.
- First time violators will pay $55,000 to $75,000
- Repeat violators will pay $150,000
If you are a federally funded company, you risk losing that funding if you end up in court.
Accessibility.com is my go-to website for this kind of information. A couple of my clients this year were hit by lawsuits from lawyers that made the top of the “Most lawsuits issued” list.
Can my site be fixed?
Not always. Some sites are so old, have a bad design, or are built so poorly, that they need to be re-done completely. Every site I’ve audited that was built before 2016, and several before 2019, needed to be rebuilt and/or redesigned. WordPress sites using a lot of plugins, or builders such as Elementor, also cannot be fixed.
You will need a web accessibility expert to perform an audit of your website. There are some great automated tools out there that can help, but automated tools can only find approximately 30% of WCAG issues. Audits are very expensive and for a good reason: It’s hard, it’s time consuming, and the person performing the audit needs to hold a lot of knowledge. It’s not feasible for every website owner to get an audit because it can break the bank, just as much as a lawsuit would. There’s no winning! We are going to try and help where we can.
To learn more about how to find and fix accessibility issues, visit our Web Accessibility Overview page.