While we have all grown accustomed to seeing access ramps and automated doors in the physical world, it is easy to forget that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires digital accessibility as well. In this podcast, Michelle Landis, co-founder of Accessible360, explains that the challenges start with organizations not even realizing that the ADA sets numerous requirements that organizations must comply with.
The challenge posed by this knowledge gap has been both exposed and increased by the pandemic, which has accelerated the need for online resources that are available to all. How do you bank, order groceries, and work from home if the websites you need are not accessible to individuals with physical challenges?
For organizations looking to catch up with the digital requirements of the ADA, she recommends starting by taking an inventory of your consumer facing websites and mobile apps. Those are the ones most likely to be subject to litigation.
Next, get a live user assessment by individuals trained in this area and from people who are living with disabilities. She advises being cautious around companies promising to provide a quick fix with a simple overlay.
Another pitfall, she warns, is underestimating the time it takes to implement suitable changes to your websites and apps that need them. When faced with a demand letter for changes within 21 days, you should engage your legal team to respond in an appropriate way.
Finally, she advises that, as with the physical world, it is better to build in accessibility from the start rather than adding it later. That means keeping it front and center when designing and evolving your organization’s digital assets.