Is It Worth Paying for ADA Web Accessibility?

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Is It Worth Paying for ADA Web Accessibility?

In 2017 Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 434, the first law to address ADA compliance online.  It required state agencies and state entities to post a certification of compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA, or a subsequent version, on their website home pages. This was set to begin on July 1st, 2019, and to be renewed every two years to confirm the website’s compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). But if your business isn’t a state agency or entity, does this impact you? And if so, is it really worth the sticker price to pay someone to have this done for you, or can it be a quick DIY project? Read on for all the answers.

Yes—This Impacts Your Business!

Although these laws were only directed towards state agencies and entities, lawsuits are also being filed against any businesses that offer services or products online. There are fair arguments to be made in favor of upholding the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The law specifically spoke to telecommunications, such as telephones, cell phones, pagers, call-waiting, and operator services, however, the internet can certainly be seen as a modern extension of these. We are so dependent on internet services to do just about anything nowadays that we used to do in-person or over the phone—especially over the last year when in-person options during the pandemic were drastically reduced!

Not Complying Could Cost You a Lot of Money.

Not only is it the right thing to do in the spirit of the law—it’s a genuine hazard for your business website to not be ADA accessible for several reasons. The first of which is that a lawsuit against your business for violating ADA starts at $4,000—which is a pretty penny for a small business. 2020 was a record-breaking year for ADA digital accessibility lawsuits, with rates . infographic Image Source: UsableNet You might think it’s worth the risk to avoid revamping your website or paying to have it redone—but this is a bit of a sunken cost fallacy. And you might also think that if you get a lawsuit, it can only happen once, right? Another myth. In fact, over 20% of 2020 lawsuits were filed against companies that had already been sued within the past two years. The COVID-19 pandemic may also spark more frustrations in persons with disabilities that they are not able to find a work-around to getting their needs met online.

ADA Accessibility Brings Benefits

You’ll also want to consider the portion of potential customers and clients you could be missing out on by having a website that excludes their access. By making your website ADA accessible, not only are you upholding moral standards of equity and protecting yourself from financial harm, but you’re also expanding your audience. Disabilities protected under the ADA include:
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Partial or Completely Missing Limbs
  • Mobility Impairments Requiring the Use of a Wheelchair
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • HIV Infection
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
According to the CDC, 1 in 4 U.S. adults live with a disability, which makes up 61 million Americans. And according to the Pew Internet Project survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in Jan. 2011, That’s a lot of people! Ecommerce is booming as more businesses move online. The COVID-19 pandemic taught us how crucial it is to have an online infrastructure that allows us to do everything that we might be able to do in person. The sooner and more effectively you make this switch, the better your odds are for reaping the benefits.

Can I Do It Myself?

Over the last few years, there has been a boom in tools, plugins, guides, and services offered to help business websites become ADA compliant. For example, this tool by Level Access will let you know if your website is accessible and even give you tips on how your accessibility can be improved. WordPress in particular has a lot of plugins that tout the ability to make your website accessible without making alterations to the code of your website.   While these tools are certainly better than nothing, they’re not a long-term solution. Accessible by UserWay is a popular plugin that acknowledges this—it’s meant to add features to your site that will support accessibility while you make more permanent changes to your website.   Making a website ADA compliant is much more involved than just installing some software—for example, providing alt text, converting PDFs to text pages, captioning and transcribing videos, and more. Many of these changes do require permanent changes to the code of your website which can be time-consuming and complicated.   Without access to the back end of the website, these plugins can’t do much to protect you from accessibility concerns. Your best bet to make your website as accessible as possible is to allow a web developer who has experience with ADA compliance issues to look at the back end of the website and tailor changes to your specific site.  

How Expensive Is It and How Long Will It Take?

  Unfortunately, the most accurate answer to this question is that it depends. The size of your website as well as the complexity—such as how many PDFs, images, and videos there are, will all affect how much is needed to make that content compliant.   If you’ve already done some work on your site like adding alt text to images, that means that there would be less work for the paid professional to do.   And accessibility isn’t an end product so much as a way of doing web design, so a good service would also include updates to ensure that new content is still accessible, as well as checks to make sure that no previous pieces have broken, such as links.  

How Do I Know Where to Start?

  At Social Spice Media, ADA Compliance has been a crucial addition to our website development protocol. Here are some resources that might be helpful to you in getting started:     We can assure you that paying to make your business website ADA compliant will cost significantly less than a lawsuit for non-compliance would. Our packages start at $1,750 and include a personalized evaluation of accessibility issues and consultation for the best plan for your business.   We will work with you to ensure that your website is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for all readers and visitors.   Get in touch with Social Spice Media to learn more about making your website ADA compliant or creating a marketing plan for your business that allows you to effectively spend your marketing dollars. Our team pays attention to your goals and creates a custom strategy that delivers results. Do you know someone who could benefit from our services? Refer them to us today! Our team is eager to connect with businesses in any industry. We serve the local needs of Ventura County and Santa Barbara as well as anywhere in the United States.