ADA Compliance & Engagement
3 Simple Tips to Meet ADA Compliance & Boost Engagement
What is ADA Compliance, why is it important?
When you think of ADA Compliance, you probably think of ramps, handrails, and other features that make navigating a building easier for individuals with specific needs. That said, you’re probably wondering what your law firm website has to do with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But as it turns out, ADA Compliance also relates to the digital sphere as well. According to the ADA, businesses operating 20 weeks annually with at least 15 employees, or businesses that fall into the category of public accommodation need a website that is reasonably accessible to individuals with disabilities.
What is Engagement, and how does it help with ADA compliance?
But here is where the plot thickens. As it turns out, there is not really much material in print vis-a-vis what the Federal Government deems reasonably accommodating on the web. You might be tempted, for that every reason, to eschew the headache of making your website particularly accommodating. After all, building and managing legal websites are already a headache to begin with (unless you outsource that task). However, you should not write off the best practices making a website accessible, because as it turns out, these tips and tricks also increase your visitor engagement (read: brings you more clients).
This is by far the most important concern today, especially as web traffic shifts to mobile usage—a trend that will only increase. The mobile version of a site is not the same as a desktop version, if only because a smaller and vertically-oriented screen creates a new set of design constraints. Most drag-and-drop builders allow you to edit the mobile look of your site; if you have a web designer for your law firm site, you should make sure they’ve made a mobile-friendly version.
Lawyer websites that are confusing to navigate aren’t just difficult for browsers with reading comprehension issues or poor eyesight: they’re difficult for everyone. Users who cannot navigate your law firm content are more than likely to bounce off the page and look for a different law firm. Simple tips include an accessible menu in the headers and footers of your pages, along with internal (and external, if applicable) links that work. That said, running through your links on a regular basis to test them out isn’t a bad idea.
Reduced Loading Speed
Another potential issue increasing visitor exits (called bouncing in web parlance) is the loading speed of your site. In today’s fast-paced world, internet users expect a page to load in less than one second. Typical elements bogging download time include picture files that are too large. Since visuals are important in terms of law firm web design today, make sure that the pictures you use are JPEG files instead of PNG; the loss in quality is outweighed by the benefit of a quicker loading time.
Why ADA Compliance Matters
ADA Compliance certainly matters in terms of accommodating all users. But in addition to that, the mores of ADA Compliance are actually a set of best practices you should be using anyway since these tips and tricks boost user engagement. And of course, if visitors to your website are more engaged, there’s a better chance of them soliciting your legal services.
If you have any questions about the above tips for ADA compliance and engagement, contact us at Law Firm Sites.