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How Much Does it Cost to Make Your Website ADA Compliant?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was instituted in 1990 to protect people with disabilities from discrimination.

This act resulted in the creation of wheelchair ramps, handicapped parking spaces, the use of service animals, and more.

The ADA was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The ADA is an equal opportunity law for people with disabilities.

The ADA ensures that 1 in 5 disabled people in the US has the same access to infrastructure and services as everyone else.

ADA Checklist Your Website Must Comply to

Here are some of the requirements your website must meet to be compliant:

  • Your website should be accessible via keyboard navigation
  • All hyperlinks should have a descriptive anchor text
  • All pages on your website have “skip navigation” links
  • All the text content should be structured using proper heading tags
  • The color contrast of your web pages should be sufficient according to WCAG
  • All videos should have subtitles, transcripts, and audio description
  • Online forms should have descriptive HTML tags
  • Heading or title should be readable and presented in a logical order
  • Make sure, and ‘b’ or ‘i’ HTML tags are replaced with ‘strong’ and ’em’
  • The presentation should have more than just color alone and convey information clearly.
  • The site is navigable via keyboard, and the keyboard does not get stuck on any page elements.
  • No strobing light or rapidly flashing lights or colors are used in the website design
  • Links and buttons are clearly labeled and named logically
  • The language of every page is identifiable in code
  • Forms are labeled and have legends that are easily read by screen reader software

The Benefits of ADA Compliance to Your Business

People with disabilities are not the only ones who benefit from compliance with the web accessibility standards defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Organizations and businesses that fail to comply with the ADA guidelines are at risk of lawsuits that result in them being fined heavily. Aside from heavy fines, this also affects their brand negatively.

It is in every business’s best interest to adhere to the government requirements to avoid any potential legal or financial consequences in the future.

While compliance prevents businesses from losing money, another advantage is that it helps them potentially make even more money. ADA compliant businesses are better positioned to capture an often discriminated and neglected market of potential customers.

People with disabilities have a total disposable income of $490 billion. Catering for them can result in larger profit margins for businesses.

Also, ADA-compliant websites get better SEO and organic search engine traffic. ADA compliance is a win-win situation for companies and potential customers.

Ignoring the disability market is bad for your business.

Don't ignore the disability issues

The cost of ADA Compliance

  • Find the Faults First

ADA compliance begins with an accessibility audit. You need an audit of your website to identify the issues that need to be addressed.

You can use free or paid auditing tools to scan your website. Unfortunately, automated testing can only detect around 30% of accessibility violations, sometimes less. Therefore, you will also need to perform manual auditing. If you do not have a team of developers, you would need the service of accessibility experts for the audit.

  • Fixing the Faults

Once you have an audit with a comprehensive list of issues you need to fix, you can create a remediation roadmap.

If you have a development team, who can remediate the faults, then there would be no extra costs. If not, you would need to hire accessibility experts.

The cost of expert services will depend on how old your website is, the number of faults, and the number of pages on your website.

By using an automated accessibility solution, such as Equally AI, you can cut costs.

  1. Setting up continuous Accessibility Maintenance

Accessibility is a journey, not a destination. ADA compliance is an ongoing process and not a one-time thing.

As long as the ADA keeps getting updated to account for more accessibility needs and continue adding more content to your website, you will need to reevaluate your website for compliance continuously.

Should you get an in-house development team?

A large aspect of creating accessible websites requires coding, meaning you will need the services of a programmer or web developer at one point or another.

Suppose you already have one working for you. In that case, that will save you the cost of using the service of accessibility audit teams to test and fix any accessibility issues that may exist on your website.

However, this does not mean you need an in-house team of developers. If you are building a software product, you need a development team to develop your product continually. However, if you have a simple website like a blog run by a small editorial team, getting a team of developers would be expensive and not in your best interest.

Is there a better alternative to paying for hefty fees to be ADA compliant?

You can escape paying the high costs of ADA compliance by accounting for accessibility at the beginning of your website development cycle.

Using the proper semantic HTML tags, adding alt texts to images, using the appropriate color contrasts are the things you should do while you build your website, not after.

One reason why companies often ignore accessibility is speed. They want to shorten their time-to-market as much as possible.

It is true that ensure your website is completely ADA and WCAG compliant, especially if new and custom components are being developed. However, the consequences of non-compliance will make the time you saved meaningless.

Civil Engineers ensure that the foundation of the building they are erecting is strong to avoid a collapse. Airplane Engineers ensure that everything in a plane is up to standard while building, not after, or the consequences would be catastrophic.

You also have to be proactive about ensuring your website is accessible.

Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Most companies often don’t plan for accessibility or pay enough attention to it when developing their websites, and they end up paying (financially) for that heavily.

Conclusion

I believe that all individuals should be able to access the internet regardless of ability. It is basic human decency to provide the level of accessibility needed to create inclusive digital experiences and services.

Website Accessibility must not remain an afterthought of your development and design process. Neither should it be at the bottom of your to-do list.

It is in your best interest and your users’ best interests that your website is and remains accessible.

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