By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk
Originally posted on the Association for Accounting Marketing blog.
Remember a few years ago when we were all rebuilding our websites to be responsive on all devices so they were easy to read and accessible to anyone who wanted to visit? Now it is time to take that one step further and make your website ADA compliant.
No, you don’t HAVE to do this. There is no law (yet!) that says your site has to be accessible to people with disabilities. However, there are a lot of good reasons TO DO this.
Benefits of Making your Website ADA Compliant
- Additional traffic: You want people to come to your site, right? Did you know that 26% of American adults have some sort of disability? In fact, globally, there are more than 2 billion people who suffer from blindness or visual impairment. Add to that the 5-15% of Americans who have dyslexia and other conditions that impact reading ability, and you are removing a lot of potential clients from seeing and hearing what you have to say.
- Inclusive brand reputation: There is a lot of talk about diversity, equity and inclusion happening in firms across the country right now. What if you had a solid way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to serving everyone? You do! Not only does making your website ADA complaint make your site easier to navigate and use for those with disabilities, but it also shows everyone who visits your site that you care and have made the investment toward a more inclusive community and thoughtful customer service.
- Improved SEO: Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Many of the steps you take to make your website ADA compliant will also bolster its SEO performance. Search engines love sites with well-crafted ALT text and detailed image descriptions, and just doing this puts you well on your way to ADA compliance too. So while you’re giving everyone easier access to your site’s content, you are also reaching wider audiences in general.
- Reduced legal risks: As I mentioned, this isn’t a requirement but there have been quite a few companies sued over the fact that their site wasn’t accessible. While most lawsuits have been against e-commerce sites so far, the costs associated with making and keeping your site compliant are minuscule compared to the potential financial – and reputational –ramifications of fighting a lawsuit, whether you win or not. While it is impossible to guarantee you won’t be sued, making your website ADA compliant can minimize the risk and demonstrate that you are putting your best foot forward.
- Better overall functionality: Layout, navigation and keyword/phrase selection all have a big impact on the usability of all websites. As you review these and other components of your site, you are likely to find accessibility issues that affect all visitors, not just those with disabilities. It’s simply a smart practice to eliminate any barriers you can and enhance your website’s functionality for everyone who visits the site.
We all want websites that are well-branded, function smoothly and identify your differentiators. It may be time to take this extra step to make your website ADA compliant to ensure that everyone can use it as intended. If you want to discuss what is involved, or simply have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.