If your business operates online, there are many pieces of legislation that you need to keep updated with to make sure you are operating on the right side of the law.
Many of these laws are self-explanatory, and you may already be implementing the necessary procedures.
One that isn't quite so obvious is the ADA-or the Americans With Disabilities Act.
This act protects disabled people by making disability discrimination illegal. This means that your business should have the necessary measures in place to ensure disabled people can access your business without restrictions.
You might think this doesn't apply to you because your business operates online, but not true anymore.
In 2018, to reflect modern society and new technology, the ADA passed a new set of regulations specifically targeted at website ADA compliance.
This means that you need to make sure that your web property can be accessed by disabled people, some of whom may use devices to help them do so, to avoid being sued for inaccessibility.
It's easy to think that this ruling doesn't apply to you if your company doesn't cater specifically towards the disabled.
When 1 in 5 Americans are disabled, however, it's almost a guarantee that your website will be visited by a disabled person at some point, and it's not worth waiting until you're sued to take action.
Even celebrities are suffering the consequences of their websites not being ADA compliant.
This meant that those with visual impairments couldn't fully immerse themselves into the website in the same way as those without a visual impairment could.
It might not seem important to you, but not including text attributes for all your images on a website is illegal under the ADA legislation because it directly prohibits equal use and discriminates against the individual.
At the same time, this infringement is easy to rectify if this is one of the issues your website is facing.
The easiest way to fix this problem is to type a detailed description of each image on your website in the alt tags during the editing process, before you hit the publish button.
You can also have a text-only website page, CAPTCHA audio alternatives, or decorative graphics that are made invisible to assistive technology.
Audio must be controlled separately from the main computer audio for automatic audio that plays for longer than 3 seconds
If your business has implemented audio or visual media that plays automatically, users should be able to turn this off without muting their computer sound altogether.
The exception to this rule is audio that plays for less than 3 seconds, which limits you to notification sounds, like when an individual receives a message on social media.
Seizure-Causing Content Is Strictly Prohibited
People with photosensitive epilepsy, and other seizure disorders, can have seizures triggered by flashing lights, or content with lots of flashing imagery.
These seizures can be life-threatening, so to prevent people from being able to access the internet at all, the ADA has said that this content is strictly illegal.
The specifics of this legislation state that you cannot use content that flashes more than 3 times per second.
For extra security with this legislation, placing a warning on content that has the potential to trigger epilepsy sufferers may also be useful.
Your Website Must Be Completely Accessible By Keyboard
Many disabled people access the online world without using a mouse at all, relying on a keyboard to operate the websites they use.
This means that your website must be accessible through the use of a keyboard.
One of the best ways to do this is by making sure that keyword shortcuts, like the tab key, can be used to navigate between web pages.
Although this is difficult to achieve for many websites, and it is likely to cost money to implement, it's an essential if you want your business to be completely ADA compliant.
To be ADA compliant, you need to make sure users are able to complete the following interactions from their keyboard. These include:
Click on a link or button
Select or unselect an item as a radio button or item in a drop down menu
Navigate the page
Auto complete text
Close out a dialog box
Adjust a slider UI element up or down
Scroll through the navigation/menu items/the page
Web pages should be predictable in appearance and operation
Michael Reddy, President of Digital Authority Partners and Healthcare Weekly, is a seasoned professional in the Healthcare Saas space with a focus on creating digital experiences through mobile apps, custom software development, artificial intelligence, and voice assistant skills for Alexa and Google Home. With expertise in Product Management, Development and Analytics, Michael has a track record of utilizing analytics to drive business results and lead successful product teams.