While perhaps not purely a human resources issue, we know our HR professional clients and business owners have become well acquainted with the federal law known as the ADA, which is short for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. As we know by now, it’s a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination in employment based on disability.
In addition to the employee protections, Title III of the ADA also prohibits any discrimination on the basis of disability by businesses open to the public. It requires that they take steps to provide appropriate communication aids and services where necessary.
What does this mean to you? Just like how a physical business must have ramps and elevators in addition to stairs, a business website must have accommodations such as text equivalents for virtual visitors. Yes, we’re categorical here: any website must have accommodations. Why? Because you won’t know whether someone with a disability will be using it.
For example, text equivalents are vital to the visually impaired. When there’s an image displayed, there must be a description of the image. Blind individuals can either use text-to-speech or Braille displays to access information provided on websites. Since images alone can’t be interpreted by these methods, a text equivalent for each image must be provided.
What other potential barriers exist? Other potential barriers to accessibility on websites are poor color contrast, use of color alone to give information, captions lacking on videos, inaccessible online forms, and mouse-only navigation. Each of these barriers can be avoided when designing and maintaining a website.
There are many ways a website can be non-compliant with ADA, so it’s vital to ensure that your website is accessible. If a website isn’t accessible, then it opens the door to a business being sued for non-compliance with the ADA.
Is there any good news here? The good news is there are many great website designers, companies, and plug-ins that can help ensure your website is compliant with the ADA – contact them now!
While we can’t help you with website design, if you have ADA or other questions about employment law, we’re your team. Always feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716.839.700 – or use our quick and easy web chat feature.