Increase Website Google Ranking & Online Shopping Experience with New ADA Requirements for Visually & Hearing Impaired (and avoid lawsuit risks!)
New regulations have been put in place that may affect you and your shopping e-commerce website on platforms like Shopify or Woo Commerce. This article will explain the new changes to the law on ADA compliant websites for medium to large businesses, tell you when you must comply, explain what you should do about it, and tell you the other benefits that will be a result.
WHAT DOES ADA COMPLIANT MEAN?
ADA compliant websites are now required for all businesses with over 15 employees that are open more than 20 weeks per year. It is also required if they are classified as a “public accommodation”.
ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design and is seeking to ensure web technology can be used by people with disabilities like being hearing or visually impaired.
The guidelines are not totally clear because they are new, but a business that is not compliant can be sued. So better to show you have attempted to be compliant than taking no steps at all!
Guidelines are that each website should be for those with disabilities:
WHAT CAN I DO TO BECOME ADA COMPLIANT?
We’ve put together the ADA requirements in the form of a task a list that a web developer (like Pearl Resourcing https://www.pearlresourcing.net/!) will perform to help you demonstrate compliance:
- Create alt tags for all images, videos, and audio files. Alt tags allow users with disabilities to read or hear alternative descriptions of content they might not otherwise be able to view. Alt tags describe the object itself and, generally, the purpose it serves on the site.
- Create text transcripts for video and audio content. Text transcripts help hearing-impaired users understand content that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.
- Identify the site’s language in the header code. Making it clear what language the site should be read in helps users who utilize text readers. Text readers can identify those codes and function accordingly.
- Offer alternatives and suggestions when users encounter input errors. If a user with a disability is encountering input errors because of their need to navigate the website differently, your site should automatically offer recommendations as to how visitors can better navigate to the content they need.
- Create a consistent, organized layout. Menus, links, and buttons should be organized in such a way that they are clearly delineated from one another and are easily navigated throughout the entire site.
This can be attempted with a plugin, but the problem is that many plugins and themes are not set up yet for ADA compliance. They also can incorrectly create information because – well it is being done by a software and not a human. If false information is created, it will actually DECREASE the user experience and make the website un-navigate-able for those with disabilities. It is much better to have someone hand-code all the changes and make sure they work with all the present plugins and themes on the site.
PROTECTING YOUR COMPANY FROM LITIGATION RISK
New regulations are usually met with frustration by small and medium-sized businesses who are focused on surviving financially – paying for or diverting attention to making more websites can seem daunting. We don’t expect smaller businesses near the initial “employee number criteria” to be at high risk of lawsuits but the risk/reward assessment needs to be yours.
These policies will be much more important to align with, the larger or more visible your brand because you will have a higher number of impaired shoppers AND be a larger target for lawsuits.
Doing the work would provide proof that the business owner attempted to become ADA compliant in court if anyone ever were to be sued.
IMPROVING USER EXPERIENCE FOR ALL
The other benefit of course is that it will truly make the site much more accessible for all your guests – site or hearing impaired, as well as those who are not. Imagine shoppers wanting to know what the product you’re selling on your Shopify page looks like? Clear definitions and descriptions increase the ability for a person to evaluate and buy.
UX (user experience) is usually a function of organization and clarity on a website – this process includes adding text and audio to explain pictures that don’t load and ensure a site can be heard when it can’t be read.
IMPROVING GOOGLE RANKINGS
And finally, the other benefit to being ADA compliant is that an increased UX (user experience) will help your Google ranking. The algorithm that indexes which site is listed first in search prefers websites that include ADA specifications. Plus the process adds words to the back end of the site which allows index crawlers to correctly categorize you for the topics you’re an expert in.
HIRING A DEVELOPER TO MAKE YOUR SITE ADA COMPLIANT.
Anyone you hire should provide an initial audit of your site and tell you what will need to be done, the timeline, and the cost estimate.
Once they are done they should provide a final “proof of completion” which you can keep for legal evidence of your efforts to be compliant. This is all done by hand ensuring accuracy.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
Want help getting your website compliant? Reach out to Pearl Resourcing for a custom quote: https://www.pearlresourcing.net/. Prices involve an initial fee for the whole website project which includes the home page being made compliant. And then there is a per-page fee for subsequent pages.
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MORE ABOUT EMILY PAGE
Emily is CEO of Pearl Resourcing and has managed and launched multiple 7-figure brands in Costco, Williams-Sonoma, Kroger, and Amazon. She’s bringing you the expertise, resources, and mentors you need so that you can develop products and make them sell. She also offers business growth consulting(https://www.emilyannepage.com) and free advice for brand owners through START TO SOLD (http://starttosoldpodcast.com)