As the internet replaces analog methods of communication such as telephone books and actual phone calls, it’s more important than ever that businesses prepare their website to accommodate customers with a disability. Dunkin’ Donuts is the latest company to learn this lesson the hard way. (Read the case here.)
Who’s website should be ADA compliant?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act “places of public accommodation include a wide range of entities, such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors' offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers”. Any company or organization falling into these categories are expected to make accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
Exactly how those accommodations affect your business is something you should discuss with your attorney. We’re not attorneys and do not offer any legal advice. We do, however, offer advice on your website and digital media.
According to the Dunkin’ Donuts case, if a company’s website provides access to its services, the site should be accessible for people with disabilities.
How do you make your website accessible?
Start by finding a developer skilled in ADA compliance. This agency should be comfortable auditing your website based on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
While you can conduct some reviews yourself, such as moving through pages using only your keyboard, hiring a developer to help you find problems in the site and your site code offers you a major advantage.
How long will it take?
That depends. I know, you love that answer. The size of your website, its features, and usability along with how accessible it already is determined by the length of time it takes to make the site accessible and what it will cost.
Converting your website into a more accessible feature isn’t a one-time shot. You’ll need someone to continually monitor the site, ensure new content meets ADA requirements, and to stay up to date on new guidelines.
All these details sound confusing enough to just sweep it under the right, right? Unfortunately, the little problem of website accessibility swept under the rug can grow into a major legal issue. As Dunkin’ Donuts found, the more important your website is to your business the more important it is to all of your customers.