Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance: What Is It and Do You Have To Update Your Website?

In business, your customers are composed of many types of people, which is why you must consider every kind of visitor that comes to your website, including people with disabilities. To assure this, you’ll need to have an ADA-compliant website. Not only does ADA compliance make your website more accessible to a wider audience and more potential customers, but it’s required by law.
Before we discuss what ADA compliance for websites is, the levels of compliance and how to make your website is ADA compliant, the following should be noted:
A non-ADA compliant website could result in fines up to $55,000 for the first violation. Subsequent violations could result in fines of $110,000 per incident.
ADA compliance is mandatory for EVERY business website, and most ADA website lawsuits are filed against businesses.
Some notable ADA website compliance lawsuits include:
$6 Million National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corporation
$1,575,000 National Association of the Deaf v. Harvard
$755,000 National Association of the Deaf v. Netflix
But it’s not only large corporate websites that are targeted by lawsuits. Any business that owns and operates a non-compliant website is at risk.
So. what is ADA compliance? Is your website compliant with the standards set by this law?
What Is ADA Compliance on Websites?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is usually associated with physical spaces, such as buildings that require ramps for wheelchairs and braille for the visual impaired. However, many aspects of our lives happen online. That’s why the government also mandated making online content more accessible to people with disabilities, especially business websites.
These standards are meant to give equal access to everyone. Thanks to these rules, individuals with disabilities can ask for and receive services, buy products, and get information online without having to jump through hoops and barriers. ADA compliance applies to websites of entities like government agencies and private businesses open to the public.
Levels of ADA Compliance
There are three levels of ADA compliance on a website. These tiers are standardized by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines,, or WCAG for short.
• Level A: The website is only accessible to some users
• Level AA: The website is accessible to almost all users
• Level AAA: The website is accessible to all users
In general, a ranking of WCAG level AA may be enough for businesses to remain compliant with ADA requirements. There are no codified guidelines for ADA website compliance since this law is distinct from Section 508 and 504, most businesses can use WCAG’s guidelines.
What can you do to make your site compliant with these requirements?
How To Make Your Website ADA Compliant
According to the WCAG, there are four core principles to follow when building or redesigning your website. Your website must meet these four criteria.
1. Perceivable
Users must be able to perceive every element on your website, whether it’s an image, text, or video. This means that you provide image descriptions or alt tags for people who have visual impairments. Another example is closed captioning for people with hearing impairments.
2. Operable
Your website must be easy to navigate. This entails having keyboard accessibility tools that allow users to effortlessly navigate your website and access your content.
3. Understandable
The elements on your website should not just be perceivable, they must be understandable for all users. You should include tools and instructions that allow your visitors to read, calculate, and listen to your content.
4. Robust
This core principle directs website developers and owners to create the same user experience for all users. Content delivery should be universal and must not differ from user to user, regardless of whether a visitor is using accessibility tools or not.
What Happens if My Website Is Not ADA-compliant?
Since there are no clear guidelines in ADA about website compliance, you may not be chased down by the government to make it so. However, a non-ADA-compliant website makes you susceptible to liability according to Business News Daily, and fines can be $55,000 for the first violation, and $110,000 for subsequent infractions.
Perhaps worse even, if you’re not ADA compliant, you could see a flood of private lawsuits, many of which could cost far more than a settlement.
If individuals with disabilities aren’t able to access your services or products because they can’t navigate your website, they can file civil claims that you might need to hire and pay attorneys and potentially settle. In addition, having an inaccessible website could shut off many potential customers and harm you’re branding and reputation.
Before going live with any website, or continuing to operate an outdated one, you should consider ADA compliance. If it’s not up to par, then yes, you will need to update your website so it can meet the mandated standards.
Let Virtua Brands Help You Stay in Compliance
Virtua Brands is your partner in transforming your brand vision and reaching marketing goals. We’re a company that specializes in direct response marketing, B2B marketing and serve as consultants and subject-matter experts in areas like:
• Direct Response content marketing
• DR content strategies
• B2B marketing
• Content marketing trends
• DTC marketing
• eCommerce
• B2C marketing
• Social Media Marketing
• Website development and compliance
More than being your content marketing and advertising experts, we’re also keenly aware of ADA compliance and how it should be applied to your website. Let Virtua Brands take care of this domain along with all other areas of your digital marketing strategies.
Simply Schedule a free consultation with us and we’re off to the races!