One thing we have learned when researching ADA compliant web design is that there are no clear guidelines. That just makes things easier, doesn’t it? Before we get into it, let’s unpack what exactly is the ADA and why they are interested in your website.
What Is The ADA?
The ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. When the general public hears that buzz word they typically think wheelchair accessible, handrails, service animals, Braille, etc. However, ADA compliance also extends into the interwebs. Some business that are under the ADA Title I or ADA Title III are required to build a website that is ADA compliant. This article by Find Law does a great job explaining whether your business is required to have an ADA compliant website. But “required to” or “need to” are two different things. Just because you are not technically required to have one, does this mean you don’t want one? No.
The Cost Of An ADA Compliant Website
Typically the cost of something determines whether or not we want to do it, right? If you are required by the article above, then it’s a non-argument. By not offering an ADA compliant website, depending on the site, you as a business owner can be looking at a $50,000 bill + lawsuits. For argument sake, let’s say you are going to build an ADA compliant website, what is the cost?
Some developers, when they here ADA compliant that are unfamiliar (or very familiar) and add a huge markup. Anywhere from $15,000 – $40,000 additional. Let us be the first to say, THAT IS STUPID. If you don’t mind, let us educate you. (And we apologize if you already made a decision to spend that kind of money without knowing why – didn’t mean to offend you, but it was stupid.)
Steps To Develop An ADA Compliant Website
You’ll be pleased to know that many of the ADA compliant recommendations (remember, there are no clear guidelines) should already be included with your current website build. These things include:
- Alt tags for images, videos, audio files, etc. When your web designer is building your website and including SEO, this is already added to your price. You should not expect to pay more for this since it’s included.
- Site Language in header code. Again, this is already added when coding the website. You have to do this for browsers to know what to do, etc. Don’t let it scare you – it’s included.
- Organized layout. Excuse me? If your website isn’t organized when design, why are you working with those guys? This should be included.
- Text transcripts. This one might cost you a little more. But since you are hosting all your videos on youtube, you should have it there already for video SEO. And we can transcript your audio or videos for just a few dollars a minute. Don’t pay out the nose for this.
- Input Error Messages. Do you have a form that doesn’t send because someone missed an input? You have an error message right? This is the default, don’t pay more for this.
There are many other things you can do as well (off-site links being labeled, font sizes, link sizes, non-pdf embeds, etc.). But I think you get the idea. It’s not as scary as is sounds, so no need to pay upwards for $40,000 more for a new website when a lot of these things should have already been added into your current one. I’d suggest asking a company like ours to do a quick audit for you for less than $1500. With that audit, you can go back to your current developer and say “fix it” or ask us to come alongside and get the job done right. Lots of times, you don’t need a brand new huge overhaul and can just tweak a few things.
Skillful Antics & ADA Compliance
If you would like to create a new website that is ADA Compliant, get a few quotes – but don’t forget to ask us. Since the beginning, we’re not out to make as much as we can get – just as much as we need. Since we offer unmatched quality at much lower prices than any big city market, it would wise to shoot us a request over our bow and see what comes back!
P.S. If you are a victim of an ADA Compliant Lawsuit, send an email over to Whitehouse & Cooper. They are technology lawyers that can assist in ways a general lawyer may not. (We are not affiliated or receive affiliate revenue from Whitehouse & Cooper – just trying to help!)