SMB WCAG 2.1 AA and ADA Compliance and Certification
Why Web Accessibility Matters for Small- and Medium-Sized Business Websites
Small- and medium-sized companies make up the majority of businesses across the United States. SMBs need to consider the positive impact that being ADA compliant can have for their online presence. Being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act not only opens your brand to new business opportunities, it also minimizes the possibility of being hit with a lawsuit for having a website that fails to meet ADA standards.
The unfortunate fact is that while most consumers have heard about the lawsuits being levied against the likes of Domino’s, Target, or other high-profile brands, the impact on small business is both under-reported and on the rise. Small- and medium-sized business websites are perceived to be an easy target for predatory lawyers and often have very few options for fighting such lawsuits.
However, with over 60 million Americans living with a disability, being ADA compliant shows that you are committed to making your website (and business) accessible to everyone, which, at the end of the day, can boost your revenues and fend off possible litigation.
What Is Web Accessibility for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses?
While digital accessibility laws were not conceived with SMB websites in mind, more and more locally owned businesses are finding themselves in legal crosshairs in recent years. For most SMBs, any failure to comply with the latest WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) standards is not due to a lack of empathy for persons with disabilities, but simply a lack of knowledge about the subject. The WCAG 2.1 revolves around four core accessibility principles that call for websites to be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. These guidelines include:
- Color contrast
- Providing descriptive labels
- Alt text for links and images
- Making information in tables accessible and easy to read
- Navigation of your site via keyboard only
- Indicating the focus for the user on the screen (pointers and lines)
- The size of fonts
- Headings and labels
- Captions for video and audio content
Who Are Small- and Medium-Sized Business Websites Helping by Becoming Compliant?
Many small- and medium-sized businesses are surprised to learn just how important digital accessibility is in today’s increasingly online world. Considering how much time we spend online interacting with our websites— searching for products, adding items to a cart, signing up for a newsletter, or even paying for a service—most of us take our everyday access for granted. Not everyone can, though. At their core, ADA website compliance and WCAG 2.1 AA regulations are intended to help disabled individuals, including (but not limited to) those who belong to the following groups:
- The visually impaired
- Persons with physical disabilities
- Persons with auditory disabilities
- Persons with cognitive and learning disabilities
- Persons with epilepsy
- The elderly
How Does Your Small- or Medium-Sized Business Website Become Compliant?
The good news is, you have viable options when it comes to bringing your website up to ADA website compliance standards. However, most often the process of scanning and relying on a programmer to apply manual fixes is slow, tedious, and above all expensive. It can feel like “a rock and a hard place” type of situation—you can’t just turn off your website to fix it, but you can’t afford a lawsuit either.
The compliance process can be long and difficult, especially if you have many pages and products on your site. A programmatic hybrid approach is needed—one that will help your brand in the short and long term.
True Accessibility’s solution leverages A.I. (artificial intelligence) to provide automated fixes and identify where ongoing manual attention will be required. We strive to combine rapid short-term fixes—with effective long-term compliance—while leveraging patent-pending technology to keep compliance costs affordable.
Choosing a Manual, Automated, or Hybrid Solution
SMBs Are Targets for Web Compliance Lawsuits
“The attorneys are telling us, ‘You can’t fight this. There’s nothing you can do, just write them a check.'” This direct quote comes from Ben Tundis, the owner of Island Comfort Footwear, operating out of Westfield Countryside Mall in Clearwater, Florida. What is notable is that this is not a chain store; it is an independent retail location. However, its owner’s situation is far from unique.
Thousands of standalone businesses have found themselves slapped with lawsuits, and with no real defense for “ignoring” ADA website compliance standards, most of these small businesses, like Ben Tundis’s, end up settling, often for tens of thousands of dollars.
You might be wondering what prompted the compliance lawsuit that was filed against Island Comfort Footwear. The answer? The plaintiff’s screen reader—the type of device often used by those with visual impairments—was not compatible with the build of the client’s website. That was all it took for the lawsuit to be filed.