When starting a new business, there are many things to consider, and accessibility may not even have entered your thoughts. This is understandable, but it’s also incorrect. Putting accessibility at the top of your priority list will assist you in positioning your company for success in a variety of ways.
Do small businesses need to comply with the ADA?
Is the Americans Disability Act applicable to small businesses? is one of the first queries consumers have regarding accessibility in small businesses.
You might be surprised to learn that even smaller companies must abide by the ADA. Every business, regardless of size, must be accessible to people with disabilities in accordance with ADA Title III. Everything from small enterprises to huge organizations are affected by this.
Website accessibility is not particularly addressed in ADA Title III. Online websites are now recognized as falling under ADA Title III, according to disability rights advocates, students of law, and recent court decisions. Additionally, despite the ADA not particularly naming websites, the Department of Justice explicitly said in 2018 that websites are considered places of public accommodations.
Because of this, ADA Title III covers both digital and physical access, such as providing subtitles on videos and making sure websites are compatible with accessible technologies.
Web accessibility: What is it?
Making your website accessible involves ensuring that users of all abilities can explore your products, verify prices, understand written information and services, and make purchases on their own.
Different forms of web accessibility modifications are needed for people with various disabilities. For instance:
- Your photographs must have illustrative alt tags so that a blind person’s screen reader can explain them to them.
- The entire website must be accessible to those with motor disabilities by using the keyboard rather than a mouse.
- Your videos must also include subtitles or sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired.
- All of your messages must have a high contrast ratio and clear typefaces for people with limited eyesight.
Read our guide to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)New Window to find out more about the various web accessibility standards for persons with various disabilities. When a website is found to be inaccessible in court, the WCAG is commonly cited. These WCAG standards outline the requirements for complete web accessibility.
When creating your website, there are three reasons to take web accessibility into account
Naturally, making the web accessible may seem like a difficult undertaking. However, it’s important to deal with it right away. Like many other things, fixing your website after the fact may be very expensive in terms of both time and money compared to simply making it accessible in the first place.
The following responses to the question “Why is online accessibility such a crucial issue?” should persuade you to consider it as a core tenet of your brand-new small business:
1. Accessibility on the web is essential for compliance
Running a small business is difficult enough without having to worry about getting into legal trouble or paying a fine for ADA violations.
And there is a genuine chance of an ADA lawsuit. Since 2018, about 300% more websites have received a letter from a lawyer about web accessibility, and since the epidemic started, the number of web accessibility cases has increased even more. 2,523 online accessibility lawsuits were filed in federal court in 2020, up nearly 300 from the previous year. In January 2021 alone, a record 10,983 claims were filed in federal court.
When you consider how much COVID-19 encouraged online activity, it is hardly surprising. When they are unable to freely use a website, people with disabilities are much more willing to file a lawsuit against the website’s owner.
Small companies aren’t too small to operate anonymously. One individual with a disability only needs to find your website irritating and unwelcoming for them to send you a legal letter asking that you improve the site and perhaps even requesting damages.
2. Web accessibility increases traffic and sales
Including web accessibility in your operations also increases traffic and sales, ensuring that your company is successful from day one.
3. To increase potential traffic, improve SEO
SEO benefits from web accessibility include higher search engine rankings and increased organic traffic for your website. You have the opportunity to add more meaningful keywords by using web accessibility adjustments like elaborative alt-tags and anchor tags for links.
In addition to penalizing sites that are too challenging to navigate, Google also takes your bounce rate into account. How long visitors stay on your website before leaving to visit another one is shown by your bounce rate. Many visitors with disabilities will leave your website quickly if it is not accessible, which will lower your bounce rate.
Boost reputation to increase sales
Even more so now that social media is assisting in the mass dissemination of word-of-mouth recommendations, word of mouth is still the most effective form of advertising.
When people with disabilities visit your website and discover that it is difficult to use, unclear, or completely inaccessible to them, they won’t be hesitant about telling other people to stay away from it. On the other side, if your website is user-friendly for those with impairments, they’ll enthusiastically suggest it to their friends and family, which will increase your traffic even more.
Make every customer’s experience positive
Anyone can enjoy using a fully accessible website; it’s not just for those with disabilities. Your website will be easy to use and have an intuitive buying journey when it is designed with web accessibility in mind from the very beginning. This will encourage more visitors to become customers.
When your website is accessible, your products are simple to find, your information is simple to read, and your checkout procedure doesn’t present any challenges that would cause a customer to leave their basket empty. It benefits both parties.
Making a website accessible is the right thing to do
Finally, you should feel compelled by your conscience to grant individuals with impairments equal opportunities. Over one billion individuals throughout the world have disabilities, including 61 million people in the US alone, including two out of every five adults over the age of 65.
These people also need to be able to conduct online transactions such as ordering food and prescription drugs, purchasing footwear and apparel, and comparing costs and features for services like mobile hair services, lawn care, or physical therapy. It’s as if you’ve locked them away from the rest of the world if your website isn’t accessible.
How can I determine whether my website is accessible?
You should check to see if your website is accessible if you’ve already started working on it or if it’s already completely functional. Using Orange Lithium’s online accessibility widget tool, which audits your site against the WCAG accessibility rules, is the simplest way to do this. You’ll receive a report outlining each accessibility issue found on your website at the conclusion of the review, enabling you to determine what needs to be done to address each one.
The simplest method for making your website accessible
The accessibility widget tool from Orange Lithium is an easy, practical, and affordable method to get a completely accessible website. The AI engine examines your website to find accessibility problems, which it then fixes on its own.
Your site will be available after you’ve copied the widget code into your site’s theme template. Every 24 hours, the tool checks to see whether any new content has been added to your site.
Web accessibility ought to come first on the priority list for new businesses
You can improve traffic and sales on your website, stay out of legal trouble, and feel good about yourself by making it accessible. When establishing a new company or website, it’s imperative that nothing be left until the very last minute. Fortunately, creating an accessible site doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive thanks to Orange Lithium’s online accessibility widget tool, so you can focus on the other things on your to-do list.