The Truth About Your Website and ADA Compliance

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: You get an email saying that your firm is at risk of being sued for MILLIONS because your website is not ADA-compliant.

If you haven’t received a message like that yet, chances are that you will eventually. That’s because a couple of lawsuits were filed against businesses a few years ago (see Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc), and then enterprising companies popped up and began capitalizing that potential fear and offered to make websites ADA-compliant for upwards of $10,000.

Here’s the thing: That’s not really necessary.

First, while your physical office needs to meet certain ADA requirements, there are no set guidelines in the ADA for website compliance. Instead, many developers follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. You are not legally required to follow these guidelines, but many do just to improve basic accessibility.

However—and confusingly enough—even though there is no federally codified direction on what makes a website compliant, you still need to provide a website that accommodates users with disabilities. At the very least, you need to demonstrate that you made a good-faith effort to do so.

How can you make that happen? Here are a few simple tips:

  1. Create alt tags for all non-text files: Alt tags describe the object at hand and allow users with disabilities to read or hear alternative descriptions of content.
  2. Identify the site’s language in the header code: If users are utilizing a text reader, identifying the language of your website will help those applications function properly.
  3. Have a consistent, organized design: Make sure your menus, links, and buttons are easy to navigate and clearly communicate the resulting action that is taken.

If you have a WordPress site, there are also several great plugins you can install that provide additional accessibility features such as contrasting, text resizing, and more. (We recommend Accessibility by UserWay.)

If you’d like help designing a website for your law firm that looks great AND complies with any potential ADA directives, we can make it happen for you! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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Spotlight Branding

Spotlight Branding is a content marketing and branding firm for lawyers and other professionals. Our goal is to help you create an online presence that positions you as a credible expert in your field, keeps you connected with your network in order to stay top of mind and increase referrals, and to become more visible online so prospects can find you!