Website Accessibility: Everything You Need to Know
TL;DR version: Ensuring accessible access for your website has become a requirement. But thanks to advances in technology, it’s much faster, easier and cheaper than you might think.
Website Accessibility Is No Longer Optional
It used to be that adding accessibility features to your website to help people with disabilities was only an ethical consideration. Today, however, it’s also a legal one. In 2022, the Department of Justice reaffirmed and clarified its 2018 ruling that websites are places of public accommodation and subject to ADA’s requirements of general non-discrimination and effective communication. In other words, website accessibility is now a requirement.
Website accessibility lawsuits have skyrocketed, increasing more than 350% between 2017 and 2021. And these statistics don’t include the many demand letters that threaten litigation but settle without a filing. It’s not just the big consumer retail sites that get sued either. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, small businesses are often targeted for quick settlements as they may have limited means to defend themselves.
Website Accessibility Is Good Business
Beyond the legal requirements, ensuring website accessibility is simply a smart business decision. Sixty-one million adults in the U.S. live with a disability, according to the CDC. It makes sense to not exclude a significant portion of your potential market. Even visitors without a disability can benefit. The ability to easily magnify text or adjust contrast could improve the experience of many visitors.
In addition, Google has been increasingly ranking sites higher in search when they provide a good experience. While accessibility alone is not a core ranking factor, it does create a better user experience, which can lead to better rankings. So, many elements that positively impact accessibility—such as adding alt tags for all images—also positively impact search rankings.
Finally, website accessibility helps your brand image. Your website is your front door. Offering accessibility options demonstrates that your company cares. It shows that you have good values. This not only attracts potential customers, but it’s also valuable in attracting and retaining employees.
Making Your Website Accessible Is Far Easier Than You Might Think
After researching and testing various options, Pepper Group has found accessiBe to be a great solution for most of our clients. We are a certified partner agency and can help you get up and running quickly and easily.
The accessiBe tool delivers an accessibility solution without requiring any significant code changes. Users simply click an icon on your site to access all the features and functionality they might need. If you’d like to see the tool in action, go to peppergroup.com and click the blue icon in the lower right corner.
For a site under a thousand pages, the accessiBe tool only costs $490/year for the software. If we built your site, we’ll add it for you at no charge. Otherwise, for a low fee, we’ll help you install the code, finalize the color and placement of the icon, and launch your new tool.
But it gets even better. If you’re a small business with fewer than 30 full-time employees, you may be able to take advantage of The Disabled Access Tax Credit. This covers 50% of your annual expenditures over $250, and up to $10,000.
And finally, once you’re set up, if your company does receive a demand letter or lawsuit, accessiBe will provide extensive litigation support and guidance. This includes a line-by-line assessment and response to complaints, an accessibility statement certifying performance, and legally vetted suggested responses for all case scenarios.
Don’t wait for a demand letter or website accessibility lawsuit. Be proactive and incorporate accessibility into your site right away. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to learn more and get set up, typically within a week.