When running a business, you are, of course, tasked with providing a positive customer experience. Customers are critical to your business’s success. If you’re not satisfying them, they’ll take their business elsewhere. One of the best ways to provide a positive customer experience is to ensure your new and existing customers with disabilities have equal access to goods and services, as well as ensuring that your website is accessible to people with disabilities. Many business owners use tools like accessiBe to fix accessibility issues on their websites.
Just what is the ADA?
ADA stands for The Americans with Disabilities Act. The act was created in 1990 under George H. W. Bush to address discrimination against individuals with disabilities, specifically those who are blind or visually impaired. However, the regulations that go along with it can impact any business owner who wants to make their website accessible and provide a positive experience to people with disabilities. The main focus of the act is to provide equal access for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, including places of business or entertainment, as well as government buildings.
What are some ADA Compliance challenges for businesses?
The ADA can feel like a difficult law to understand and follow. Not only does it require you to provide equal access, but it also requires you to make changes without adding a financial burden on the person with the disability.
While not as simple as other regulations such as those governing food safety or building codes, following ADA regulations doesn’t need to be complicated. The first step is understanding what is required of your business in terms of compliance.
The following are two of the most common challenges for businesses:
1. Making sure your website is ADA compliant. The core rule about websites and ADA compliance is that they need to be accessible – by people with disabilities – through design, choice of technology, and content management. Maintaining an accessible website also requires ongoing efforts to solve problems as they arise.
2. Providing the right type of assistance to people with disabilities. It’s important your employees are equipped to help customers with disabilities, but you also need to know who is responsible for providing the aid. Determining if you have an obligation under ADA regulations to provide service animals may be one of the most difficult aspects of compliance since the law is somewhat vague.
How can I find out more about ADA compliance?
There are many resources available for businesses looking to understand the regulations that come with ADA compliance. The best place to start is with your local government or city’s website, or perhaps even by talking with someone in their human resources department. When you contact your local government, they will have the most up-to-date information on what is required in your city.
The US Department of Justice also has free ADA technical assistance materials available online with links to other helpful resources. There are several websites that can give you an overview of accessibility. Business owners can also always contact an attorney for advice or for help understanding the law.
It’s worth noting that state and local laws may have additional requirements. For example, some states require more of certain types of businesses than others. It won’t hurt to do some extra research about compliance in your local area.