Keep in mind that an ADA-compliant site does more than avoiding possible lawsuits. Additionally, it makes people aware that your firm accommodates people with disabilities or injury victims.
Web accessibility for people with disabilities or dysfunctions has become a chief concern for legal authorities and businesses, especially in this digital era. A lot of institutions, from disability advocacy groups to non-profit organizations, have been working hard to integrate the ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, with websites to offer simple access to individuals with disabilities. However, when we are talking about ADA website compliance, the word disability has, for the most part, a very limited meaning.
A website needs to assist or guide visitors with vision or hearing impairments. Plus, those with physical incapacities that restrict the use of their hands. Recently, there are many disability firms targeting law firms about web accessibility.
For a little help, here’s how you can make sure your law firm website is ADA compliant.
The first thing you need to check is if your law firm needs to comply with or adhere to Title II of the ADA. This part controls and regulates disabled access to public facilities and accommodations, a section which obviously covers internet websites.
The good news is that the basic requirements are somewhat simple. If a business operates for about 20 weeks a year and has over fifteen employees, then the ADA applies. Semi-retired lawyers and a couple of small firms might not meet or match up to the 20-week requirement.
Even so, the pressing requirement is having at least fifteen employees. In general, this qualification refers to fifteen W-2, full-time employees. Usually, legal practitioners don’t reach this number, except if they are associates.
Moreover, members, owners, and partners aren’t considered employees. Another thing, part-time workers or independent contractors don’t count, as well. With all these in mind, it’s possible that a law firm doesn’t legally need to follow the ADA qualifications for websites.
However, making determined or vigorous attempts to adhere to ADA is in the best interest of your law firm as it enhances the user experience for users with disabilities and shields you from possible lawsuits.
Here’s what we know: businesses that qualify for the ADA requirements need to make their website access reasonable and accessible to disabled users. These things have left lots of business owners and lawyers thinking about how to ensure their website is accessible.
Fortunately, there are some things you need to consider to ensure your website is accessible for people with disabilities. Take note of the following:
- Keyboard Navigation. Most individuals with disabilities can’t use a mouse to maneuver and depend highly on the keyboard. As such, ensure that your website can be accessed, even without using a mouse. You can integrate some common keyboard navigation such as Tab, Esc, Backspace, and the Arrow Keys.
- Label Form Fields. Keep in mind that visitors might have a difficult time finding or reading form field labels situated inside the field. For this reason, it is an excellent idea to put the labels outside of the fields.
- Differing Colors. See to it that the colors or hues used on your site, particularly with backgrounds and fonts, have ample contrast. Remember that colors that are overly alike can be hard to read, especially for people with color blindness.
- Text Transcript. A text transcript is like the feature alt tags. However, the former refers to video files or transcriptions of audio, particularly designed for people with hearing problems. And, because hearing loss is rather prevalent or widespread, law firm websites may want to think about using text transcripts.
- Alt Tags. This feature refers to short phrases that can be seen on the screen and describes audio files, videos, and pictures, specifically for the visually impaired. Because alt tags are search engine friendly, they are also advantageous internet marketing tools.
Why Law Firms Need to Be ADA Compliant
Even if there is still no legal definition or standard of ADA-compliant law firm websites, lawyers need to willingly help individuals with disabilities on their site since it is the right thing to do, and it can be good for your business. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to make your website accessible to those with disabilities.
There are many affordable steps you can take to make your law firm website compelling and accessible to many people. Perhaps, you can approach the functionality and design of your website from the standpoint of your users.
Keep in mind that an ADA-compliant site does more than avoiding possible lawsuits. Additionally, it makes people aware that your firm accommodates people with disabilities or injury victims. Also, it can be a PR disaster if your firm is petitioned by disability advocates or non-profit organizations because your site is non-compliant with the ADA. Essentially, with regards to making your site ADA compliant, tons of benefits and advantages come along the way.