If you’re worried about website compliance with the ADA, the 11th Circuit Court issued a ruling in April 2021 that stated websites are not considered “places of public accommodation” according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. So, what does this mean for your website? Although we here at Black Moth Media are not lawyers and we don’t play lawyers on television, it is our opinion as SEO writers and SEO experts (and Robin’s opinion as a paralegal) that it depends on your goals, your budget, your target market, and how you want to reach your target market.
We have no intention of discussing the backstory behind the website compliance with ADA court ruling and how it creates a circuit split between the 11th and 9th Circuits and what could happen in the future. If you enjoy the legal aspect or work in the legal industry, you can click on the link above to get the very basics as provided by the Risk and Compliance section of the ABA Journal. Instead, let’s talk about our favorite topic: you!
What Are Your Goals for Your Business?
Do your goals directly involve reaching a section of the market that needs an ADA-compliant website? Put in another way, would you benefit from it? Would your clients, potential clients, or website visitors benefit if you adopted even basic ADA-compliant strategies such as optimizing alt-image descriptions that would allow online readers to assist vision-impaired individuals to better access your site? That’s just one simple example of how including basic ADA compliance could help you reach your goals.
This site is primarily text-based. There’s a reason why. Robin’s dad is vision-impaired and relies on special software to read websites to him. Robin is also partially colorblind (in fact, she’s memorized hex code so that when she designs or works on website code, she can better choose colors). Sure, there are some images. The basic design of the current site isn’t its final design because Robin plans to change it again soon to make it more accessible for others. That’s one of her goals for Black Moth Media: to make its services more accessible to those who may wish to use its services.
What Is Your Budget for an ADA Compliant Website?
Yet, full-on website compliance with the ADA can be quite costly depending on the type of site you have, the complexities involved in the site, and what you’d like to do to become ADA-compliance. By the way, the ADA has a best practices list available for use. Notice it is a best practices list and not a “you must do this or else” list.
There are many digital media companies (including Black Moth Media) that offer ADA compliance services for your website. However, some companies are far most costly than others. This is why the very first point we made was to first consider your goals and the second point is to consider your budget. And that’s why the main point of this blog is to point out that the 11th Circuit Court stated that it is not legally necessary for websites to comply with the ADA.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Who is your target audience now? Can you currently build an ideal client profile based on who you serve? Who are you truly targeting? If you are selling a product, what are the demographics? Within the next 12 to 24 months, who will you sell to? This is important because you need to be able to project your income as well as determine how you will reach your audience.
How Will You Reach Your Target Audience Through ADA Compliance?
Many steps must be taken if you want to fully comply with the ADA for your website. Once you know your goals, your budget, and your audience, the best possible thing you can do is determine what you will do to best serve your audience through ADA compliance. If you have videos, will you use captions or will you use a transcript? If you have visually impaired visitors, will you have videos or will you include enough text that the readers they have can read to them? Maybe you include all of it depending on your budget. The thing to keep in mind is that if you’re including videos and you plan to host them on your site, you’ll need additional storage space and bandwidth. If you plan to include enough text for readers for the visually impaired as well as for the deaf and the hearing impaired, you can also make sure the text that is added is SEO optimized to benefit your site.
Should You or Shouldn’t You? Website Compliance with the ADA
If you are a micro-business, a blogger, a freelancer, or another small business, consider how much money you make now and what you may make within the next 12 to 24 months before you decide whether you must become ADA compliant within the next year…unless you are currently working with or targeting an audience covered by the ADA. Again, these services can be very expensive. If a digital agency will not work with you to make small changes to make ADA compliance affordable, they are not the service for you.