What is ADA Accessiblity?
Often, when we think of ADA compliance, we think of such things as as ensuring accessible parking outside a business or providing reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. But, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a business must also ensure its website is accessible. That’s because your business website is considered public, which falls under the ADA umbrella.
Website accessibility includes optimizing for screen readers (i.e., images with alternative text), providing audio alternatives and ensuring the site can be navigated via a keyboard, among other features designed to aid those with disabilities. There is a set of standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that offers guidelines.
If your website isn’t ADA compliant, your business could become the target of a lawsuit. Usually, you’ll have an opportunity to audit your website and make necessary changes to bring it into ADA compliance, but we think it’s better to take preemptive action to avoid this situation entirely and to ensure that your website can reach as many people as possible.
The current alternatives are:
1. Do nothing and keep fingers crossed.
If we built your site, chances are good that some of the very basic ADA accessibility features like color contrast, font legibility, etc. are already in good shape, but sites change over time and maybe the site didn’t address all aspects of ADA accessibility because it was not a project focus when the site was developed.
2. Manual web accessibility coding work combined with an accessibility plugin.
This will ensure that the website meets the basic ADA standards and shows that you have made a good faith effort to make your site accessible. This includes paying attention to color contrasts, alt tags on images, and providing the ability for site visitors to change font sizes, etc. You would also post an Accessibility Statement explaining what you are doing. On a small site, this amounts to 1-2 hours of work to improve a website’s ADA accessibility. Note: this is not a solution that is guaranteed to win any lawsuits, but it does show a good faith effort has been made.
3. Subscribe to a service that will guarantee compliance.
There are seveal AI driven services available on the market (see links) that can help you achieve full ADA compliance. We encourage you to check them out.
On this site, we’re using accessiBe. It’s an AI automated solution that can achieve full ADA compliance within 48 hours and provides 24/7 automatic maintenance. We found it to be simple, automated, and affordable and we partnered with them. Their yearly service price is $490 per domain, but as one of their partners, we can reduce that price to $420/year.
- More accessible website
- ADA Certification that will stand up in court
- Automatic fixes to any website issues
- No actual changes are made to the website
- Does not slow down the site
If you have more than one site in your web portfolio, we might suggest that you consider becoming an Accessibe partner for yourselves.
Tax Credit for Bringing Your Site into Compliance
It’s possible to get a tax deduction for any expenses you incur bringing your site into compliance.
“Many small businesses that incurred expenses for ADA compliance (whether for website accessibility or other approved expenses) may qualify for the tax credit.
According to the IRS, a small business qualifies if it had gross receipts of $1 million or less or fewer than 30 full-time employees in the preceding tax year.
You can receive up to 50% of eligible expenses, including costs associated with website ADA compliance, in the form of an IRS tax credit. The only caveat is that the expenses must be between $250 and $10,000 for the taxable year.
Claiming the tax credit is simple using IRS Form 8826 (Disabled Access Credit). Your accountant or tax specialist can confirm you qualify and that you have eligible expenses (listed on the second page of Form 8826).
Complying with the ADA guidelines for your business website is an excellent way to earn a tax credit of up to $5,000 and follow good business practices. The Americans with Disabilities Act helps ensure people of all abilities have access to public spaces and places. When your website is accessible to all, it’s a win-win situation!”