You’d probably be surprised to learn how many people are affected by disabilities. In the United States, 1 in 4 people live with a disability. That’s probably more than you would have thought – and it’s certainly more than websites account for. Only 10% of the internet is accessible to those with disabilities. Websites are often overlooked when it comes to accommodating those with disabilities. Many law firms think that making their website ADA compliant is a costly and intensive undertaking, but it doesn’t need to be. Plus, it’s important. Here’s why.
1. Access a larger audience
Your website is one of your most essential marketing tools. If a large segment of your audience can’t get to it, that’s a problem. Research from the disability-rights group ASPE (Association Of People Supporting Employment First) reveals that clients with disabilities, their families, and friends account for a $3 trillion market segment you could be excluding.
2. It’s socially responsible
Today’s market expects that companies and firms are not only socially responsible, but that they openly demonstrate their values. Being inclusive to all has become increasingly important and many prospects will do their research to find firms whose values of inclusivity align with their own. Having an ADA-compliant website is a great way to show people just getting familiar with your law firm that you care about all the potential visitors to your site.
3. Improve SEO
Search engine crawlers are getting better and better at keeping human search intent in mind. A key element of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is making sure your content is accessible to screen readers. If your website meets those criteria, it’s more likely to appeal to users and search engines as well, which will improve SEO (search engine optimization). You’ll want to pay particular attention to meta tagging, alternative image text, and video transcripts when it comes to SEO efforts that align with ADA-compliance.
4. Enhance overall usability
If you work hard to develop a more navigable and user-friendly website in general, that is going to be helpful not only to people with disabilities, but to everyone. Make your website pages easy to find and easy to comprehend. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be improving the website experience for all of your visitors – which will keep them coming back.
5. Avoid penalties
When the ADA regulations were originally created in 1990, they didn’t mention websites because internet technology was not widely used. But today, with nearly everyone having a website, it’s important to make sure web content is accessible to everyone – despite the past rulings. Several brands have been hit with lawsuits over recent years, even before the guidelines were made official. There is a “safe harbor” clause that allows existing content created before July 18, 2018 to remain as it is. However, any new pages or pages altered after that date should be compliant. Any updated pages on your website are required to be at least grade A complaint, with grade AAA being the highest. If you want to avoid the legal troubles that can come from not being ADA-compliant, it’s best to make changes now.
Bonus: Being ADA-compliant can help your reputation. We all know digital communication is today’s word-of-mouth. Consider the goodwill that can be generated if, for example, a disabled person has tried to access other firms’ sites, with no luck, and then they finally land on yours and get all of the information they need. Which of those firms will that individual be more likely to recommend to a friend or colleague? Being ADA-compliant automatically makes your website more accessible and more helpful, and therefore more valuable – and that can only help your reputation.
Being ADA-compliant means a lot of positive things for your law firm’s website, whereas choosing to ignore the latest guidelines leaves you open to a damaged reputation, legal fees, and lost leads. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our past post. There you’ll find specifics on what makes a website ADA-compliant and which steps you can take to make your website more accessible and inclusive.
We have the tools and technologies readily available to convert your website into an ADA-compliant and totally accessible website. The best part? We can turn your website ADA-compliant in a matter of days. Contact us today to learn more.