Just like your brick-and-mortar business has to be ADA compliant, your healthcare website must also be accessible to people with disabilities.
The problem? The ADA doesn’t offer clear regulations for a compliant website.
If your website isn’t accessible to people with disabilities, you could risk lawsuits, financial liabilities, and damage to your brand reputation.
So what can you do?
During an unsettled website accessibility law environment, it is still possible to follow certain guidelines to make a “good-faith effort,” and get on the right track toward ADA compliance.
Before we dive into this topic, please note that Healthcare Success is not providing legal advice: To find out more about ADA website compliance and how you can protect your business, consider consulting with a disability attorney.
In this article, you’ll learn:
Today, it’s important to have an accessible website because of the following reasons:
The most important reason to make websites accessible is so that everyone can have the same access to health information and care. With an accessible website, you’re ensuring everyone, including people with disabilities, has access to your information. At the same time, an accessible website improves the site's usability for everyone.
Some examples of website-accessible features are screen reader software, alternative text for images, and captioning or transcripts for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
As mentioned above, there has been a significant increase in website accessibility lawsuits. In many of these cases, plaintiffs usually cite ADA Title III violations.
Let's explore what ADA website compliance means for healthcare and the steps you can take to improve your site's accessibility and comply with ADA regulations.
Along with usability and lawsuits, building and maintaining an ADA-compliant healthcare website will improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine rank.
Here are three reasons:
SEO best practices (when done right) already support ADA compliance for digital accessibility. This is one of the reasons it’s very important to align yourself with an agency or website firm that takes the time to follow best practices.
Here are some examples of SEO tactics that support ADA compliance for websites:
Along with the ADA Title III violations, the ADA discusses website accessibility in Chapter 5, Title II. Here, you’ll read why websites need to be accessible and some of the most common challenges faced by people with disabilities.
But since this section doesn’t offer clear guidelines to meet ADA compliance, most people look to the WCAG recommendations to make their website as accessible as possible.
In contrast to the ADA, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are straightforward standards that are easy to understand. They offer a handy Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) checklist for developers, which clearly outlines how to make a website accessible.
While these standards can help make your site ADA compliant, the WCAG is not the law.
In a perfect world, regularly monitoring the WCAG Checklist and making necessary site adjustments is the best way to keep your healthcare website ADA-compliant and accessible to people of all abilities.
But this is easier said than done.
We recommend the following:
The health industry is not a stranger to accessibility. Let’s ensure everyone benefits from ADA compliance by doing the right thing.