Crucial Points About the ADA Compliance That Digital Marketing Agencies Should Know
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As a digital marketing agency, the websites you create for your clients should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
After all, the ADA is a law that requires all private and public businesses to give persons with disabilities (PWDs) equal access to all communication, goods and services, and more — non-compliance can lead to potential web accessibility lawsuits.
Although there are tools and features like web browsers for the visually-impaired users, these aren’t nearly enough to give the PWDs the experience and accessibility they need when using the internet — the websites themselves need to be ADA-compliant.
To give your agency a better grasp of how the ADA works, and how you can better prepare your company, we will look into several crucial points about the ADA that digital marketing agencies should know.
1. There are accessibility guidelines that help with compliance.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provides shared standards for making web content more accessible for persons with disabilities.
Web content primarily refers to your web apps and page information that include sounds, images, texts, markup or code that defines presentation, structure, and more on your client site.
Although the A level in the WCAG can help you achieve minimum web accessibility, following the AA level (WCAG 2.0) guidelines lets you build client websites that fulfill legal requirements for accessibility.
Here are some of the guidelines under the WCAG 2.0
- The contrast ratio between your text and background should be at least 4.5:1.
- The text should be resizable to 200% without losing function or content.
- Multiple methods for finding your web pages should be available.
- The keyboard focus should be visible and clear.
- The use of menus should be consistent.
By following the WCAG guidelines, you can build client websites that provide accessibility for users with disabilities and comply with the ADA.
2. Designing for accessibility is a moral and legal responsibility.
Accessibility can often take a backseat when building your client websites because implementing accessible design can take up time and effort — not to mention the costs of making or redesigning the site.
However, designing your client websites for accessibility is not an option, but a moral and legal obligation.
When you create accessible websites for your clients, you are ensuring that ALL their potential customers, including persons with disabilities, have equal access to the site.
It’s the ethical thing to do, and it can help improve the experience of everyone who uses your website — thereby increasing the chances of converting website visitors into customers.
Web accessibility is also required by law as stated in the ADA, and violations of the requirements can lead to legal issues that can cost your agency and your clients your reputation — and potentially thousands of dollars if you lose the case.
3. Complying with ADA standards doesn’t have to be difficult
For the most part, there are three known methods that website owners and digital marketing agencies are using to make their websites comply with the ADA standards.
First, they go for the manual route where they hire a web accessibility expert and add boatloads of coding to the site to make sure it becomes fully compliant. This option, however, is really expensive and it isn’t practical either.
Because even if the website owner or the agencies succeed at making the website fully compliant at one point, the moment the website updates or new content is added, compliance gaps often appear. Considering how websites often have several updates a month (or a week, even), using the manual method isn’t ideal.
The second option is using web accessibility plugins.
There isn’t much to be said about web accessibility plugins except that it only covers about 5% – 20% of the requirements for a site to be compliant. That, alone, will cause all sorts of problems for the website owners — your clients.
If you truly want to protect your clients from ADA-related lawsuits, then you need to make their websites fully compliant.
The third option that website owners and agency can use are automated web accessibility solutions like accessiBe.
The platform uses machine learning techniques to analyze and learn the elements, structure, widgets, functionality, and more of your client website to make the required adjustments for accessibility and meet ADA requirements.
After “learning” your website, accessiBe’s AI technology will then apply ARIA attributes and different behaviors according to web accessibility best practices and guidelines.
accessiBe also provides an accessibility adjustment interface that allows users to adjust your client website’s elements and content based on their disabilities and preferences.
With AI-powered platforms like this, you won’t need to manually add image alt text descriptions and make other manual accessibility adjustments since the entire process is automated.
This ensures that your clients’ websites are fully compliant 24/7, protecting them from lawsuits and disgruntled PWD visitors.
4. Accessible design is inclusive and helps grow your audience
Building an online presence for your clients involves appealing to the biggest possible target audience.
This makes it crucial for you to use accessible design in your client website and make them ADA compliant to improve the UX of persons with disabilities and let them join in the experience.
However, creating ADA compliant and accessible client websites won’t just help disabled and impaired people, but also a person with a broken arm, the elderly, people who prefer closed captioning over listening to the audio, and more.
By complying with the ADA requirement and the WCAG standards, you can grow the audience and user-base of your clients.
Using inclusive and accessible design for your client website can also help you build their reputation as a brand that aims to serve everyone without discriminating.
This can help your clients nurture trust with a wider audience and enhance their credibility — which can help in the success of the marketing strategies that you establish for them.
Building ADA compliant websites will not only help your clients fulfill legal requirements and avoid potential lawsuits, but also opens up possibilities for increasing their potential customers, enhancing their credibility, and more.
Complying with the ADA doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the aesthetics of your client websites either — but rather, it’s an opportunity to impress them by combining web accessibility, functionality, and stunning designs seamlessly.
What other things about ADA compliance that you think digital marketing agencies should know about? Please feel free to share them with us in the comment section below. Cheers!
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