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Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

ADA Compliance is nothing new. It’s been around since The Bush Administration introduced it in 1990 and was designed for the sole purpose of protecting those individuals and families who are living with some form of disability or impairment. Whilst it initially focused on physical changes, such as the introduction of ramps for wheelchair users and so forth, it quickly began to move into the digital world too – namely, website accessibility.

There are three levels of ADA Compliance in websites:

  • A: Use of Colour – a website shouldn’t use colour as the only way of communicating a message.
  • B: Minimum Contrast – a website should ensure that it has the correct contrast ratios, so that individuals with an eyesight impairment can access all content in the same way that those without the impairment could.
  • C: Enhanced Contrast – the visual representation of all text and images should be in a contrast ratio of at least 7:1.
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Given its prominence both legally and from an SEO standpoint, it has never been more important to check how compliant your website is.

Even though this law has been in place for over 20 years, there are still a number of websites that aren’t ADA compliant. And these aren’t just small websites with little to no traffic – some of the larger ones have fallen foul of the law too. Nike in particular were sued by a visually impaired user, due to a lack of alt tags impacting accessibility.

Given its prominence both legally and from an SEO standpoint, it has never been more important to check how compliant your website is. Aside from protecting against legal proceedings and the inevitable lawsuits for non-compliance, being ADA compliant has other benefits too:

  • SEO performance is likely to see a significant uplift as Google’s robots are more able to crawl the site effectively, understand its architecture, hierarchy and navigation. Furthermore, the impact on CRO is likely to be positive too – if a user can navigate a site more efficiently, they are more likely to interact and engage.
  • Being ADA compliant is likely to increase your market share and enlarge your target market. If a site doesn’t adhere to the basics of website usability, it is much more likely to cut-off those with impairments who can’t access or view it in the way that they otherwise would. As a result, by ensuring compliance, the net is cast over a far larger audience, leading to increases in market share.
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A site that isn’t ADA compliant could fall foul of a $75,000 fine for each instance of non-conformance. And the benchmark has been set already – lawsuits are commonplace around this in the US, yet we are still seeing staggering numbers of domains who fail to work on the accessibility elements. Now, more than ever, is the time to adapt.