What's accessibility have to do with websites?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design mandated that all electronic and information technology, including websites, be accessible to those with disabilities. Failure to comply could open your business up to costly lawsuits.
Web content should be accessible to blind users, deaf users and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers or other assistive technologies. By making a good-faith effort to achieve reasonable accessibility for users with disabilities, businesses can develop a compliant website and potentially avoid lawsuits.
Beyond regulatory consequences, failure to provide accessibility to users with disabilities could lead to a loss of business, as a segment of the population won't be able to navigate your website. In addition, ADA compliance makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your website, leading to higher rankings.
Interested in learning more about how your website can be ADA-compliant? We offer three accessibility audit options:
Accessibility Audit Options
- We will perform a basic accessibility audit of your homepage only
- This audit includes automated checks against several success criteria, according to the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards
- You'll receive a summary of critical action items that should be addressed/updated on your homepage
Lite Audit ($$)
- The audit investment is based on time and materials to manually audit each top-level page
- This audit includes both automated and manual checks against several success criteria, according to the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards
- Also includes an estimate to update
- You will receive a more detailed report including all critical and non-critical items that should be addressed
- Does not include a certification of compliance
Full Audit ($$$)
- Recommended if you have already received a demand letter or are being sued.
- Does include a certification of compliance.
- If you'd like to learn more about this comprehensive audit, please contact us.
Great teamwork! I’m thankful for the Smack Happy Team.
— Julie, SF Integrative Gynecology
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Compliance does require us to take additional steps and care to ensure your website is accessible as possible. We do offer levels of this service. Included already in our custom website packages - we are mindful of best practices. In a more formal accessibility project, we address deeper adjustments to code and visual presentation. If you’re looking for full compliance including a certificate we can address that too. Contact us for a quote.
Yes, we can perform monthly checks to report any updates you may want to make. Our clients on a Care Plan with support hours can use that time for any updates.
The investment depends on your website’s needs. While we encourage all of our clients to ensure their website is accessible to all, including disabled persons, we understand that sometimes other priorities take precedence.
Look at it this way: Developing with accessibility in mind is a long process and less investment. Retroactive updates are a shorter process and more investment.
Regardless - the cost is much less if you've already made the updates prior to receiving a demand letter where someone has filed a formal complaint.
If we designed the website: Retroactively updating the site for compliance means that we’ll likely be changing elements of the website we already coded and designed and it’d still need to go through the same revision process as if you were developing a new website.
Making the updates along with a new design may take longer, but we’re able to plan and implement it at the same time.
If we didn't design the website: Same as above, but we'll be sorting through someone else's code.
Great question. We recently stopped using this ourselves because we found out they actually do more harm than good. There's a great article about that here if you’re interested in learning more, but generally, it comes down to three things:
- There is an illusion of fixing some of the problems, but if the widget goes away, the problems remain.
- They actually prevent disabled people from using their own tech by forcing them to use the widget.
- The widgets insert third-party scripts, which cause performance issues and security challenges.