The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was implemented in 1990. This groundbreaking legislation guarantees that individuals with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else.
Most individuals are familiar with the physical accommodations businesses must make so their premises are ADA-compliant (like wheelchair ramps and automatic door openers). However, many people don't realize the law also applies to the digital world. This means that enterprises serving the public must ensure that their website content can be consumed by everybody, regardless of their abilities.
Why Does Accessibility Matter?
Boosting your site's accessibility makes it more inclusive, ensuring that nothing stands in the way of people exploring all the wonders of your business's location in cyberspace.
Approximately 15% of the planet's population has some sort of disability. That means one billion people don't experience the world the way most people do. Online accessibility levels the playing field by giving everyone access to the same experiences.
This is crucial because the Internet is no longer a luxury—it's an essential part of the way we live our lives. Enterprises lose an astounding $6.9 billion a year in revenue because individuals with disabilities cannot access their sites. So, making your site more accessible not only improves the user experience—it also boosts profits.
It’s an undeniable fact that making your site more accessible improves the user experience for differently-abled site visitors. However, many older Americans with relatively mild
age-related impairments such as reduced visual acuity also benefit.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
These days, companies need to meet stringent physical accessibility requirements or face significant legal repercussions. Ensuring your site is ADA compliant protects you from potentially costly lawsuits that could irrevocably harm your reputation. While the looming threat of legal action shouldn't be why you jump on the web accessibility bandwagon, you still need to protect yourself.
The current rules for online ADA compliance are contained in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). There are four criteria that a site must meet to be considered friendly to those with disabilities: