Unlike Y2K, which was over communicated and promoted, digital accessibility for those with disabilities is the current technology issue that everyone needs to know about but doesn’t. It as simple as this, the DOJ has ruled that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) now applies to the Internet. In essence, those with a disability should have equal access to the Internet which means your website needs to be accessible….simple as that.
So, how does one become accessible? Well, it starts with a third party audit and is always best and most comprehensive with a live user audit by a person with a disability. There are automated tools on the market but research and reviews have clearly indicated that these tools do not pick up what a human can. Once your site (and mobile, apps or PDF’s) are audited, a comprehensive diagnosis is issued with not only what the issues are but also specific recommendations on how to remedy.
On January 18, 2018 there will be new regulations based on WCAG2.0 AA standards that will apply to all Title II entities (government and those companies who receive government funding). Currently the Title III entities, public facing companies, have been bombarded with lawsuits for not being accessible and this is the case in retail, banking, financial services, healthcare, travel, entertainment, fast food and the list goes on. No vertical is exempt.
So, as you go into your budget planning cycle now or this Fall please make sure you set aside money to become digitally accessible. This is an investment not an expense as once you are accessible you have become viable for the 57 million people in U.S. that have some form of disability according to the last census. And, your aging customers will probably have some type of disability in their latter years yet they will still want to access your site and digital properties as they always have.
Get a quote on an audit and remediation plan and either proceed now or make sure you can in early 2018.
This is good for your business. And, in the scheme of things is rather inexpensive. No company wants to be known as the one who excludes the 1 in 5 Americans who have a disability. I’m sure you don’t want to be “that company”.
Doing the right thing is always the right thing.