June 3, 2021

Does a business or business website have to be ADA compliant?

By Herminia Banks

The American Disabilities Act or ADA is a law made to protect people with disabilities. The scope of the ADA is wide; as it should. It serves as a guide that sets the standards in making sure that those who have disabilities are not discriminated against in any way. The ADA aims to provide requirements that will help any environment accessible to all. The scope of the ADA includes, workplace, public accomodations, transportation, online platforms, technology, and more. Whether it is a law or not, people with disabilities should be able to live their day-to-day lives in ease. It is common sense to be inclusive to all. So if you own, operate a business that serves the public, do your best to be ADA compliant. Not just because you want to abide by the law and avoid lawsuits, but because you care. It is our obligation as humans to help and look out for one another.

Asking yourself whether your business is ADA compliant or not is already a good step to take in making your business ADA compliant. One thing that you can do to assess the quality of ADA compliance in your business is to get it verified by a professional. There are compliance consultants that can help you. Check out adacompliancepros.com for more info.

But what does an ADA compliant business look like? For buildings, offices, public spaces and places here are some suggestions that would push your business forward into being ADA compliant.

It is important to remove architectural barriers. People with disabilities should freely go to places they wish easily. Places like hallways, entrances, exits, etc. should be big enough for those who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Doors should be accessible to those who are disabled. It should be easy for them to open it or close. There should be restrooms and parking spots with sufficient space that could accommodate those who are in mobility aids. If there are stairs, there should be a way for those in mobility aids to go up or down the stairs. Tables shouldn’t be too high or too low for those in wheelchairs. There should be ramps in places that are elevated such as sidewalks.

If your business is more online based, then you should focus on making your website ADA compliant. What makes a website ADA compliant?

There are four basic principles that can guide you. 

  1. Make your content accessible to different senses.

This is making sure that the content, information and the interface components can be absorbed in different ways. What you can do is to have a readable and audible option. For example, for videos you can provide a transcript or subtitles.

  1. Make sure that your website is intuitive. 

This is usually handled by web designers who do the UX of a website. This is why it is important to hire professionals when making a website because they are very knowledgeable in the user experience aspect of a website. They make sure that it is operable and is functioning in a way that anyone can access different parts of the website with no problem. 

  1. Make sure that the content and information in your website is easily understandable.

Make sure that the design of your website does not affect the content negatively. The content should be easy to read. What you can do is to make sure that you use proper colors for the foreground and background, use  proper typeface and font size, and use the right hierarchy in text layout and image placement. This is also easily achievable if you hire a professional when making a website. This is the specialty of those who work on the UI of a website.

  1. Make sure that your website is accessible on multiple platforms or devices and it should always be in a working state.

It should be accessible in laptops, tablets or mobiles. It should be viewable on any device a person has. The website should also be updated constantly.

Constantly improve your website. Fix bugs and remove any problems it has. 

If your business is assessed and it does not turn out to be compliant, don’t worry there are different solutions for different problems. After knowing the result of the assessment, provide what is lacking then adjust and improve it accordingly based on the results. Hopefully this article has helped you in making your business a better place and space for those with disabilities! Always be improving and always strive for inclusivity and accessibility.