Accommodating ADA Patients Virtually Can Show Your Practice Is Patient-Oriented
ADA compliance is necessary for buildings and offices to help accommodate visitors and workers with disabilities. Recently, however, it has been taken a step farther to reflect ADA accessibility in the virtual world, such as in website and on social media. After all, when you realize the numbers of people who may not be able to access your site due to some type of disability, you’ll wish you had made the change sooner!
Nearly 1 in 5 people in the United States has a disability, according to the US Census Bureau. Around 8.1 million of those have some sort of vision difficulty and round 7.6 million suffer from hearing difficulties. This means that these patients may have trouble seeing or watching videos on your site. Thankfully, there is a way to accommodate these potential patients and help make their lives just a little bit easier.
The Americans With Disabilities Act, more commonly regarded as the ADA, is a legislation that was introduced and signed into law on July 29, 1990. Similar to laws that prevent discrimination based on your sex, race, or ethnicity, the ADA protects disabled Americans from being treated unfairly due to their physical or mental disabilities.
To be ADA compliant, you must abide by the legislation and ensure that your building and organization has implemented any necessary changes to accommodate potential patients with disabilities. Under the Title III section of the ADA, only companies with 15 or more employees need to be compliant. However, as of January 2018, new regulations are requiring federal websites to meet AA compliance as well.
However, in recent years, this has expanded to more than just the design of your building. As we are living in a highly technological world, it is important to extend your ADA compliance to your website as well.
Updating Your Website to Be ADA Compliant
So what exactly can be done? You don’t necessary want to redo your entire website, after all. Well, thankfully, there are few simple tips that can be implemented as an addition to your site, rather than completely revamping it.
The WCAG 2.0, or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, highlights the best way to do this by delivering recommendations on where to make changes and improvement to your site. While the WCAG is not currently the law, upgrading to an ADA compliant dental site can truly reflect positively on your practice as a whole.
Here are some ways that you can do so to help disabled individuals navigate your site with ease:
- Provide text alternatives, such as large print, Braille, speech, symbols, or simple layman’s terms.
- Offer ways around video and sound, which could include incorporating captions or a transcription of videos or sound clips.
- Include adaptable content, i.e., content that can be presented in a different manner or a simpler layout without comprising the information.
- Make the background distinguishable, so users can see and hear it better. This can include a contrasting background from the text, so it is easier to see.
- Include various navigation options so you can browse the site using just the keyboard. Many disabilities impair motor functions, making it harder to use a mouse.
- Avoid imagery and design that may cause seizures, such as fast moving pictures or bright colors.
- Use resizable text for the info on your site, so users can resize the page up to 200% without losing content or functionality.
- Ensure your page is compatible with screen reader software, which can sometimes be tricky to test but can make a significant difference for disabled patients.
To be fully ADA compliant with your website, you will have to read through and follow all 61 guidelines highlighted in the WCAG 2.0. The tips above can help you get started, and you can even take a step in the right direction without having to do a complete overhaul of your site.
What Are the Consequences of a Non-Compliant Website?
While it may not yet be a federal law, recent case laws are showing courts ruling against non-compliant websites failing to meet ADA requirements. Over ten years ago, Target was sued by the Federation of the Blind in a class action lawsuit, where the latter argued that Target’s website was inaccessible to the blind community. The result? Target settled the lawsuit and was ordered to pay $6 million in class damages, as well as updating their website to meet ADA compliance.
About 26,000 ADA-related claims are filed every year, with many ruling in favor of the defendant. As we head more towards a web-centered society, these cases are rapidly shifting towards e-commerce sites, online web stores, and even medical services, like dentistry. Because of this, it is important to invest in the future and upgrade your website to meet the WCAG’s requirements.
Clicc Media is Here to Help!
Need assistance making the changes to your website? Clicc Media Inc can help! We specialize in dental websites and can take a look at your current website and offer suggestions and improvement that meet ADA compliance and ensure that all patients can browse your website to find the dental information they need. Contact us today at 954-271-3111 to learn more about our web design services!