Why I need an ADA Compliant Law Firm Website?
The American Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in order to ensure that all individuals have equal access to “places of public accommodation.” In short, the ADA was established to make sure everyone’s rights were upheld and that everyone could have reasonable access to the same opportunities, regardless of a disability.
After its founding in 1990, ADA mostly dealt with changes and upgrades in physical locations, such as restaurants, federal buildings, and storefronts. Now, ADA compliance has expanded to include virtual locations, such as social media or your attorney websites.
It’s fairly easy to understand how to create a physical environment ADA compliant (such as installing wheelchair ramps next to stairs or having designated parking spaces). Virtual accommodations, however, can be a bit more difficult to grasp.
There are multiple steps and deliberate decisions that have to be made when creating a website that is ADA compliant, just hoping your website is good enough just won’t cut it. If you don’t ensure that your website is ADA compliant, you put yourself at risk of lawsuits or fines for not being accommodating to your current and potential customers.
Who Falls Under ADA Title I and III
So who exactly needs to follow ADA guidelines on their website?
If your business operates for at least 20 weeks every year and has at least 15 full-time employees, your business falls under Title I of the ADA, which means you are required to comply.
If your business is considered to be in the category of “public accommodation”, you will also be required to comply with ADA standards, under Title III of the ADA.
The Principle of POUR
ADA doesn’t have specific rules when it comes to website accessibility, so when we look at Websites for Law Firms, there’s an acronym that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has provided that guides us in making them ADA accommodating.
- P = Perceivable. Making sure the website is accessible for every sense (such as touch, sound, or sight).
- O = Operable. Making sure you can move around the site with a keyboard only, as well as a mouse.
- U = Understandable. Making sure the instructions for use (especially with “P” and “O”) are clear
- R = Robust. Double-checking that the website can be used with a screen reader or other technology that needs to process the website.
While here at Law Firm Sites, we don’t believe in making poor websites, we do believe in making POUR websites.
Ways to Make Your Custom Web Design for Lawyers more accommodating
There are multiple things you can do right now on your attorney web design to be ADA compliant. Here are some ideas:
- Add an alt text to every image on your website, as this will provide a description of the picture for those who may not be able to see it
- Similar to adding alt texts to images, providing texts for your videos, such as a video transcript, will help individuals who aren’t able to hear the video.
- Identify what language the website is in in the header (to help with text readers)
- Provide alternative ways to navigate the website (the “O” in “POUR”)
- Make sure your website is organized clearly and consistently on every page on your site
- Have an option for your website to navigate by voice.
Having an ADA compliant website will also help you boost your site’s SEO. An SEO Websites for Attorneys company can help you create a compliant website that is helpful to both your business and your online visitors. We will help check through all of the necessary steps to make this happen for you.