ADA Compliance and What It Means
By Alex Christensen
Published June 3, 2022
Web Design & Development

Is your website following the ADA compliance standards?

The United States Department of Justice in 2010, released guidelines for all public organizations to follow in order to be accessible to all people with disabilities. That includes everyone that uses computers and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

What Is ADA Compliance?

ADA compliance in short, stands for Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design. This means that all electronic information; websites, emails, etc. must be accessible to EVERYONE. Including those with disabilities.

ADA compliance also works alongside the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAG is a set of formal guidelines used to improve user accessibility. The purpose of WCAG is primarily HTML accessibility throughout all web platforms.

Who Should Follow ADA Requirements?

ADA compliance applies to all electronic information and technology; the world wide web and all websites. ADA compliance applies to all businesses and web developers. To be more specific, ADA compliance applies to:

  • State and local government organizations
  • Private organizations that employee 15 employees or more
  • Organizations that work for the public’s benefit (i.e., public transportation, schools, restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, hotels, banks, accountant offices, law offices, social service centers, gyms, healthcare providers, the United States Postal Service, and so on)
  • Places of business that would be considered a place of public accommodation (Title III)

In the end, all websites should be ADA compliant and accessible to everyone.

What Happens if Your Website Isn’t ADA Compliant?

When ADA compliance standards are left unmet, it’s usually not intentional. Sadly though, that doesn’t matter because you could still be at risk for a hefty lawsuit if your website isn’t ADA compliant.. Even if you unintentionally skipped the guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, you could still end up paying thousands of dollars in lawsuits if your website isn’t accessible to everyone.

Aside from a lawsuit, if your website is not found to be ADA compliant you could also be facing:

In addition to a lawsuit, you’ll also be facing the following for being non-compliant with ADA compliance standards:

  • Legal fees
  • Possible settlement
  • Possible public relations problem
  • Having to rebuild your website so it’s ADA compliant

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people with disabilities increases every year. In 2010, there were over 56 million people with disabilities—that’s A LOT of people potentially being turned away due to your website not being accessible.

How to Meet ADA Compliance Standards

In order to make your website ADA compliant, it is recommended to utilize the three-tiered grading system for WCAG 2.0 guidelines:

  • Level A: Your website is only accessible by some users
  • Level AA: Your website is accessible by almost all users
  • Level AAA: Your website is accessible by all users

*Level AA is typically sufficient in meeting compliance standards, but it is suggested to build your website to be 100% compliant.

Here’s a breakdown of what the core principles of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines look like:


Be Perceivable

All information, including, but not limited to text, images, and videos should have the ability to be perceived by all users. This offers alternatives to create accessibility- i.e. if a user is visually impaired, there would be an option to listen to the text. If the user is hearing impaired, there is an option for closed captioning.


Be Operable

All users should be able to navigate your website with ease. You will need a web developer who is current with ADA compliance standards in order for the user to be able to utilize every feature offered.

Be Understandable

Navigating your webiste is extremely important for your users, but they also have to be able to understand what they are reading or listening to. This can be done by providing instructions that come with site tools, navigation menu, forms, etc.


Be Robust

Your disabled users could use assisted technologies, but they should still have the same experience as your non-disabled users. All content should be universal no matter how it is delivered. All users should be treated the same to get the full user experience.


Need Help Becoming Compliant?

It is important to have the accessible alternatives built into the HTML coding when initially building your site. It will end up costing you more money if you don’t.

ADA compliance is a good thing because it makes your organization inclusive to all, which provides more business and a better reputation. We specialize in accessibility compliance services. Book a strategy session today to get started!


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