As a business owner, you have many responsibilities. You need to ensure that you are making the best decisions for your employees and clients all while keeping your bottom line in mind. There are rules, regulations, and laws that you must follow in order to ensure that you won’t acquire any fines. Did you know that your website also has rules to follow when it comes to being ADA Compliant?
ADA Compliant: The Basics
ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act created in 1990. This is a civil rights law that many have at least heard of. However, many people wrongly think it merely refers to accessible parking, ramps to enter buildings, and elevators for multiple floors.
However, having an ADA-compliant business means so much more than that. Among other things, your business website needs to be ADA-compliant. This is because your website is considered public. Did you know that as many as 20% of the population have some sort of disability? These people deserve to be able to use and maneuver websites as easily as anyone else.
Small Steps To Be ADA Compliant
There are several steps you can take for your website to be more inclusive for all users. In fact, there are different levels of website compliance standards that follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The following are the bare minimum of what your website should include, and really are just the beginning of your movement toward an ADA-compliant website.
- Alt text – Your images should have alternative text. This optimizes your site for screen readers.
- Keyboard Navigation – Ensure that your website can be navigated via keyboard with no need for a mouse.
- Audio Options – Provide audio alternatives throughout your website.
- High Contrast – High contrast means that your background and forefront have a good difference in color to make it easy to read. For small text, this contrast needs to be 4.5:1. For larger text, the contrast should be 3:1.
Benefits of Being ADA Compliant
Now that we’ve touched briefly on what ADA compliance for your website is and how to implement a few changes, we will discuss how making this change can benefit you. While this should not be your main motivator, we cannot deny the perks associated with ADA compliancy.
Inclusivity may seem like something that is nice to do, and it is. However, being inclusive has a side effect that can make a big difference to your bottom line. Remember, your website is your ‘open 24/7 office.’ That means your website is working even when you are not, and so is everyone else’s.
If your website is inclusive and following all ADA standards and guidelines set forth and your competitor’s website is not, who do you think is going to get the business from the disabled shopper looking for your services?
Did you know that if you don’t have an ADA compliant website you are opening yourself up for a lawsuit? There are also lawyers who have made it their mission to go after businesses of all sizes that are not following ADA website guides. As you know, a lawsuit can not only tie you up in court but also your funds.
In order to encourage small business owners to push to be ADA compliant on their websites, the government is offering up to a $5000 tax incentive for compliance. This tax incentive is for companies that spent between $250-$10,000 on ADA compliance measures.
To qualify for the tax incentive, your business needs to have made $1 million or less or fewer than 30 full-time employees in the previous tax year. If you meet these qualifications, you can receive up to 50% of your eligible expenses back in tax credit.
Use this form to claim your tax credit: IRS Form 8826 (Disabled Access Credit)
More About Being ADA Compliant
If you would like to learn more about being ADA compliant for your website, GreenStar Marketing is here for you. We can audit your site and let you know exactly what changes need to be made for you to become ADA compliant. Not only that, but we can help you make those changes as well. Give us a call today so we can get started.