Are you running a healthcare practice and wondering whether your website is ADA compliant or not? Well, updating your website in line with prescribed rules and regulations are crucial for effective functionality.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It’s important to make your website content accessible to comply with this law. In the past, websites were designed with screen readers in mind. Modern websites are more dynamic and advanced, which is good for the user experience but more complex for your website to pass as accessible for users with disabilities.
In 2010, the United States Department of Justice released specific guidelines for all public organizations to follow to become accessible to all people with disabilities. That includes all disabled people that use computers and smart devices. These new rules have raised standards for businesses to ensure that their sites and pages pass ADA compliance.The Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. This applies to all state and local governments, their programs, and their activities.
People living with disabilities are becoming more visible and more active in our communities. As a result, accessibility has become increasingly important in society. Businesses, especially healthcare facilities, need to make accommodations for disabled people. In fact, the ADA requires certain companies to make changes to ensure accessibility for such individuals.
If you own a clinic or any other business, you should be conscious of the requirements under the ADA.
The ADA is the Law
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, forbids discrimination against those with disabilities. This includes employment, housing, transportation, education, government benefits, public accommodations, telecommunications, recreation, access to voting booths, and many other areas.
In addition, it requires businesses to make reasonable accommodations to existing facilities and policies to allow disabled persons equal access to services.
The ADA covers employers, places of public accommodation, state and local government services, and private entities receiving federal funds.
For example, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, banks, schools, airports, bus stations, parking lots, and other facilities must comply with the ADA. The Justice Department enforces the ADA, and if a violation is found to exist, the penalty can include both fines and jail time.
The Importance of ADA Compliance
Builds a positive reputation within the community
Goodwill is an important part of any company’s brand identity. As a doctor or medical professional, it matters even more.
Complying with ADA guidelines shows that your company cares about previously marginalized people.
A good reputation will help you attract new clients and employees and make your customers feel better about doing business with you. In addition, reputation building is a long-term strategy that will pay dividends over time.
Expands your appeal to a significant segment of the population
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently published data, about 20% of Americans have one or more disabling conditions.
This makes it clear why companies are investing millions to ensure their products and services work well for people with disabilities.
Provides a tax incentive
The Internal Revenue Service offers tax credits for companies that accommodate individuals with disabilities. These include providing auxiliary aids and services such as sign language interpreters, Braille displays, and qualified readers.
In addition, the ADA requires employers to make reasonable modifications to existing facilities to allow employees with disabilities to perform essential job functions.
If you are required to make changes to accommodate an employee with a disability, you may qualify for financial assistance or a tax credit.
Building Accessibility and ADA Compliance Online
As we’ve previously stated, it’s crucial for the healthcare industry to be ADA compliant. But it’s not just providing accessibility in your buildings—your online presence, too, should be ADA compliant.
Easy navigation on websites is one way to do this. These things could include:
- Making your website compatible with screen readers
- Easy keyboard navigation without a mouse
- Using optimal text size and good color contrast for easy reading
- Providing closed captions on videos
Avoid Compliance Lawsuits
Becoming ADA-compliant will help you avoid lawsuits. As a business owner, you know how expensive it is to get sued. You could be liable for damages if an employee or customer sues your company due to discrimination in the workplace or on your website. This can be avoided by ensuring compliance with ADA standards on your website.
Expand Your Customer Base
Being ADA-compliant will help you expand your customer base by attracting potential clients who have disabilities that need to use adaptive technologies such as screen readers and text-only browsers.
Boost Your Business’ Reputation
If your website isn’t compliant with the ADA, you risk being seen as unprofessional or uncaring about those who have disabilities. This can hurt your business if it negatively impacts its reputation among potential clients and current customers.
Become Positively Visible In Your Industry
Being ADA-compliant will allow you to show that you are ahead of the curve in accessibility and user-friendliness, which will positively impact how people view your business in general.
Promote User Friendliness and Good Practices
The ADA has further helped to promote good practices in web development. Digital Marketing Agencies are encouraged to create websites that are easy to use by everyone, regardless of their ability level or disabilities. This is why most modern websites have features such as text-to-speech and screen readers that help blind users navigate them easily.
Tackling the Complex Requirements
It’s important to point out that compliance doesn’t just mean adding alt tags for images or making sure your site works on every browser. It requires careful planning and execution from start to finish — from the design phase through the development process and beyond. The good news is that tools are available to help make this easier for you – and our team can guide you through the process.
Customers Sharing Experiences
In today’s world, people share their experiences with friends and family members through social media or in person, so if they have a positive experience at your business, they are likely to tell others about it. If you have an ADA-compliant website, those people may feel more comfortable sharing their experience online because they know you care about accessibility. This leads to more positive reviews, which can help drive traffic back to your site and increase conversions.
Create Positive Effects In Your Community
In addition to helping people with disabilities find what they need online, having an ADA-compliant website can also help businesses get involved with local organizations that support people with disabilities. This can lead to positive effects in the community and good customer service for those who visit your site.
Improve Your Site’s SEO
If your website isn’t ADA-compliant, you could miss out on potential customers who cannot access your site because of their disability. Your website should make it easy for people with disabilities to do business with you, if not, they will surely go elsewhere where they can easily navigate and make a purchase.
Our team prioritizes ADA compliance and will help you with some fundamental areas as listed below to boost your SEO:
- Title tags
- Image alt text and captions
- Linked anchor text
- Schema markup
- Responsive design
- Video captions and transcriptions
- Intuitive navigation
- Easy readability
Further, the Google Algorithm promotes accessibility and user friendliness in the ranking process. So it’s important you speak with an agency like ours about this.
Save Money, Time, and Energy
When done right with an experienced team, compliance doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost much money — in fact, it should save money by increasing traffic and revenue as you would reduce the chances of being fined or face hefty penalties.
How Do I Become Compliant?
When it comes to making your website ADA compliant, the go-to recommendation revolves around the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 guidelines. This resource outlines several recommendations or goals for users across the United States. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide a detailed technical specification for website developers to build web content accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG is based on four principles referred to as POUR — Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.
- Perceivable: Users should have the ability to perceive all the information that appears on your site.
- Operable: Users should have the capability to navigate your site and use all its features.
- Understandable: Users should have the means to understand your website content.
- Robust: Users should have the ability to receive the same experience, even if using assistive technologies.
These guidelines are now the standard for ADA website compliance, and this is essential for any organization.. Let’s get started with an experienced digital marketing team to help you with ADA compliance and set you on a path of success.
Although it is a legal requirement, many businesses fail to comply with ADA. Because of this, individuals with disabilities often encounter barriers when trying to visit public establishments.
The ADA was created to ensure that there is an equal level of accessibility to public spaces. Meeting its requirements helps to improve your company’s reputation within the industry, and attracts more customers online.
The Wright Consult has the expertise and experience to help you accomplish ADA compliance. Contact us now for a consultation.
By Andre Wright, MBA
Andre Wright has more than 20 years of experience in the field of digital marketing. Andre through Patientbuz has managed various successful campaigns for dentists, chiropractors, pain clinics, and other healthcare professionals. He is certified in all Google Ads competencies as well as Google Analytics and was a part of the formative years of Google Ads, developing its platform.
Andre is a co-host of the Podcast, “Your Company Health”, where he speaks with healthcare professionals and leaders in the business community. He holds an MBA in Marketing and Management and is the author of “Visibility” a digital marketing book published earlier this year. Andre has been a featured speaker at business conferences around the US and beyond.
When he’s not working to help doctors make the important transition to cost-efficient digital media, Andre can probably be found spending time with family, watching sports, or playing golf with friends.