What Does ADA Compliant Mean for You and Why is it Important?

Americans with Disabilities Act ADA and glasses.

If you have a business and a website and don't know what ADA compliant is, then that's a big problem.

In September of 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice issued its Standards of Accessible Design. The principles govern how nearly all electronic information (websites, etc.) are formatted to accommodate people with disabilities. 

Your business needs to know if you need to be ADA compliant because if the standards do apply to you and you are not compliant, you could be sued.

In the following post, we'll explore the answer to the question, "What does ADA compliant mean?". We will also discuss a few standards some websites should consider for compliance. 

What Does ADA Compliant Mean and Who Needs to Be ADA Compliant? 

Short answer? Almost every business.

Long answer? Employers with 15 or more employers or that operate for the public good, and all state and local government agencies all need to be ADA compliant.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. The act protects people with disabilities from discrimination. It also ensures that people with disabilities have equal opportunities — employment or otherwise. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act also prohibits discrimination in areas like public accommodations, transportation, mobility inclusion (like a wheelchair threshold ramp, etc.), government programs, and services.  

As far as technology and the internet, ADA compliance depends a lot on the web content accessibility guidelines or WCAG. 

The WCGA is a blueprint for how businesses and local governments can get their web content up to snuff. 

In general, of the three levels of compliance, websites need to be Level AA. Level AA means that the website is accessible to almost all users. The level higher is rated "all users."

So what happens if your website isn't accessible to people with disabilities? It doesn't matter if you intentionally discriminated against or not; you could be sued by the public or the Department of Justice for not complying with the ADA.

OK, so you get that your business website needs to be ADA compliant. Well, what exactly does that mean? It means that the text, images, navigation, and any tools on the site need to be accessible. 

Also, you should make sure that the proper language of origin is throughout your site. If English is the primary language of your website, for example, and there's a significant amount of content in Spanish, then use a language attribute.   

More on ADA Compliance

There are several resources out there for help with becoming ADA compliant. 

ADA.gov has a webpage dedicated to laws and regulations that can help further answer the question, "What does ADA compliant mean?". 

This site also has several resources and posts dedicated to ADA compliance. Click here to download free assistive technology by eSSENTIAL Accessibility, or you can read our Accessibility Statement.  

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