Questions on ADA Compliance That You Should Ask Your Web Design Agency

Laptop with quote: “I design and develop experiences that make people’s lives simple.”

ADA compliance website standards are vital for your business. Ensuring you meet them expands your website’s reach to many more people. ADA compliance for web makes your website accessible to people with disabilities. With nearly 12.1% of Americans considered to have a disability, you’re missing out on a lot of business if you fail to meet these standards. Of course, it can be tricky to get it right, because there are no official guidelines. However, if your website is deemed inaccessible, it can lead to legal issues. So, you’re going to want to know your web design agency understands these standards and can incorporate them appropriately. Ask them these questions to determine whether your agency knows what they’re doing and can effectively upgrade your website.

What is ADA Compliance?

Making sure your agency is familiar with ADA compliance website standards on a general level is a good first step. A web designer that can’t give you a basic idea of ADA compliance isn’t a company worth trusting. ADA compliance includes:

  • Ensuring people with disabilities can use your site easily. 
  • Tagging image, video, and audio files with alt tags. 
  • Ensuring graphics have text descriptions. 
  • Adding captions, audio descriptions, and text transcripts. 
  • Ensuring that data has properly identified headers and that all scripts and plugins are usable with assistive technologies.

If your agency can’t tell you this, you’ll want to look somewhere else.

Is ADA Necessary for Our Company?

There are basic guidelines for businesses who need to abide by ADA compliance website standards, split up into three titles. Title I governs companies with more than 15 employees. Title II covers public services for states and local areas. Title III is for nonprofits and public-benefit businesses. Most businesses fall under Title III, in which ADA compliance for web dictates the full and equal enjoyment of goods and services. In almost all cases, it will be necessary for your company. Even on the off chance that it isn’t, it never hurts to abide by it, especially since the number of vision impaired people is predicted to triple over the next few decades. If your web design agency tells you it’s unnecessary, they’re not worth trusting.

What are the Implications of Not Being ADA-Compliant?

For the most part, violating ADA compliance website standards causes large penalties. In addition to being fined up to $1,000, you face legal liability for anyone affected. And a lawsuit would cost you far more than $1,000. A reliable web design agency will be aware of repercussions for violations and communicate this to you. Most agencies will also be able to show you previous instances of work to show how they’ve abided by ADA on past projects. If they can’t show you evidence of ADA compliance in the past, then that could be a red flag.

Web design code

How Do You Check for ADA Compliance?

Good web design agencies have established methods to check that their sites meet ADA compliance website standards and should be willing to show you how they do so. For example, WordPress offers a slew of tools that can assess how accessible your website is. It covers readability concerns, design concerns, and navigation concerns. There are plenty of other ways out there for agencies to assure that their sites abide by ADA compliance for web; too. The agency should be able to demonstrate expertise on the topic. If they can’t, it’s time to look elsewhere.

What If We Need Improvements Other Clients Don’t?

Different organizations have different needs. Some may only need to meet the barebones requirements of ADA compliance website standards, while others may seek more thorough updates. With 98% of the top one million websites failing to offer full accessibility, many agencies will take a more minimal approach. So, you should know how important a priority this will be for your web design agency. If you only need a few minor updates, a company with a more minimalistic approach is fine; if you’re looking for something more extensive, you’ll want to choose a company with more extensive experience. A company that only does the minimum won’t cut it if you want to do more later. Whether you need all the extra bells and whistles or only want simplicity, you should look for an agency on the same page.

Computer with quote: “Designers should always keep their users in mind.”

How Do You Maintain Accessibility Compliance?

Meeting ADA compliance website standards isn’t a one-and-done thing. Having accessibility now doesn’t guarantee that standards won’t change in the future. Successful companies will be willing to update their ADA compliance for web over time so your site can continuously stay up-to-date with the standards. If you get stuck with a company that isn’t willing to update your site accessibility in the future, it will make your life more difficult. Go with the option that will secure you for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, you’re just hurting yourself.

Do You Test With Users With Disabilities?

The most effective way to ensure you meet ADA compliance website standards is by testing your site with the audience it’s designed for. People who require accessibility measures will be able to point out issues much more easily and give you firsthand evidence of how people interact with the site. This testing should be done as early as possible so the design can be settled early. This is particularly important for colorblindness, as 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women suffer from the condition. Make sure that your agency is not only testing with users with disabilities but also doing it early on. Failing to do so can cause a lot of issues to slip between the cracks.

Web design layout testing

Stay on Top of ADA Compliance And Your Agency Will, Too

All in all, if you know the basics of ADA compliance website standards, it shouldn’t be difficult to make sure your web design agency will meet them. Ask the agency a few basic questions about ADA compliance for web. If they can’t answer them, it’s a definite no. When you find an agency that provides satisfactory answers, you can get more specific with the company’s methods, including future planning and testing. This should give you a good picture of how the company operates, and whether they’ll be worth working with. Don’t settle for lackluster ADA compliance. Get a web design agency that knows what they’re doing.