ADA Compliance for Websites

The Supreme Court recently shined a light on ADA compliance for online businesses by refusing to hear a case that had previously ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees disabled individuals the right to access not only businesses but also their websites and web-based applications. 

The initial suit was brought against Dominos by Guillermo Robles, a blind man who was unable to order a pizza on the pizza chain’s website because it didn’t have the capability to accommodate him. He claimed this violated the ADA, which states that anyone with a disability should have full access to the goods and services “of any place of public accommodations.” While Dominos argued that this law only applied to physical locations, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it also included the online services offered by the business. 

This ruling could open the door to many other lawsuits against retailers who fail to make their websites accessible. The Supreme Court’s action implies that they are likely to apply ADA standards to web-based services in the future, leaving many business owners concerned about their ADA compliance. 

What to Know about ADA Compliance

Making your website ADA compliant is a smart business move that will not only protect your company but also help you reach more individuals with disabilities who may be interested in your services. Here are some key things you should know about ADA compliance:

  • The ADA extends to Tier I and Tier III organizations. Tier I is any business that is open at least 20 weeks out of the year with at least 15 employees. A Tier III organization applies to the “public accommodation” category, which includes businesses like grocery stores, banks, hospitals, and retailers. 
  • The ADA doesn’t have specific guidelines for websites, but the Supreme Court’s actions suggest that they should have the same level of accessibility as a brick-and-mortar location. This means using various website programming techniques to ensure a website is functional for individuals with disabilities.  
  • The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) is the industry standard for web developers. It consists of guidelines and techniques to ensure websites are perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. These guidelines are broken up into three levels to conform to varying degrees of disability.
    • Level A: This is the lowest level of accessibility. It focuses on ways to improve navigation and translation for readers. 
    • Level AA: This level does more to account for multiple disabilities, including providing developers with direction on color contrast and identifying errors. It’s more in line with what has been considered acceptable in past court cases involving ADA compliance.
    • Level AAA: At this level, a website is designed to be accessible to the broadest range of individuals with disabilities using a combination of programming tools and elements.

What Mobile-Friendly Web Design Means to Your Customers

You have heard hundreds of times by now that you need to have a mobile-friendly website to compete online in 2020 and beyond. However, there is some confusion amongst business owners about what that actually means. Is it enough to have a responsive website that adapts to mobile platforms, or is there more to the equation?

To find the best answer to this question, we have to stop thinking like marketers and web designers. Instead, we should approach the issue through the lens of potential customers. What would mobile-friendly mean to them?

Through years of work, study, and user testing, we’ve identified several traits that need to be present for website to be considered truly mobile-friendly. Here are some of the most important factors…

A Website That Displays Cleanly on a Small Screen

This is the most obvious definition of a mobile-friendly business website, but it’s worth spelling things out. If someone can arrive on your site via a phone or tablet and finds strange layouts, distorted images, or other obvious issues, then they are very likely to click away. This isn’t a very high bar to clear, but lacking basic mobile functionality is a good way to alienate half or more of your potential customers.

A Web Layout That Works Across Several Browsers and Devices

Of course, just because your website looks great on one mobile device doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to display perfectly on another. You can’t afford to lose a huge chunk of business just because some of your customers like iPhones and others prefer Androids. That’s why pages and layouts need to be tested on a variety of screens and platforms. 

Reasonable Page Loading Times

Most of us have been through the frustration of trying to load a website that took several seconds (three or more) to come online. Your average mobile user will simply take their time and attention elsewhere. You can speed your pages up by investing in premium web hosting and streamlining your code for fast delivery. If you are unsure about your website performance, an audit might be able to give you the answers you need.

Content That’s Optimized for Mobile Devices

It isn’t only servers that affect website speed. The content you load onto your pages (particularly images and videos) can play a big role too. For one thing, it’s important that they are formatted with the correct size and resolution to display on both traditional computers and mobile devices. And for another, they need to be identified properly with HTML5 tags to prevent delays and errors.

Fast and Intuitive Website Interaction

Have you ever tried to navigate your way through a website, or complete a purchase, only to become frustrated and leave? This is an all-too-common experience in the mobile age. Remember that many of your customers will be tapping links and prompts with their fingers. They don’t want to type in long strings of information through forms, and will appreciate simple menus, click to call buttons, and other intuitive features that make it easy for them to complete tasks.

Why It’s Time to Upgrade Your Web Hosting

Web hosting is an easy topic for business owners to ignore. After all, most don’t really understand how it works, never see the computers where their websites are stored. Also most are easily bored by details like server speeds.

So, rather than get into the technical minutia of different web hosting packages and configurations, today we simply want to remind our clients and readers that it’s time to review your hosting package. In fact, it’s likely that you could benefit from upgrading to a better plan.

Reluctant to spend money on something you don’t quite see the value in? Let’s look at a few things you get with dedicated web hosting…

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What a Perfect Web Design Looks Like

When business owners and marketing executives turn to us it isn’t because they want an “average” or “great” web page design – they want the very best. But what exactly does that mean?

We hear versions of this question almost each and every day. So, we want to help our readers and clients by shedding a little light on what the perfect business web design looks like.

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The 7 Things Your Business Website Needs to Make Clear

When designing a website, or putting content together, it can be easy to lose the forest for the trees. There are so many apps, design features, and new technologies available to today’s business owners and web designers that they sometimes lose sight of what they really need to accomplish.

Numerous studies have shown that you only have about three seconds or less to impress a first-time visitor to your website. Many of those in our industry point to that figure and remind clients they need to upgrade their web hosting for faster page delivery. That’s a good suggestion, but clarity matters just as much as speed. In other words, your website needs to get certain ideas across to potential customers very quickly.

Which facts or ideas do they need the most? Let’s look at seven things your business website needs to make crystal clear…

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The Biggest Trend Driving Online Marketing in 2019 and Beyond

This is the time of year when business owners (not to mention those of us in the web design community) naturally tend to look ahead and think about what a new year might mean for the world of online marketing. That’s certainly the case now, as we are fielding more questions than ever about what to expect in 2019.

There are never certain answers to these questions, of course, simply because technology moves quickly and no one can predict the future. However, from our point of view it’s easy to see that the biggest trend to pay attention to is the one that is already taking place right in front of our very eyes. In fact, it’s so significant that it’s easy to take the associated changes for granted.

We are talking, in this case, about the shift towards mobile web usage.

No matter where you look people are on their phones and tablets. Statistics back up what our eyes see, with mobile web usage approaching 60% of all Internet traffic in 2018. There’s no reason to think mobile web users won’t make up and even bigger percentage of the online market in coming years.

Smart marketers are taking big steps to adjust. Here are some of the tools we are using to help our clients to be ready for the continued growth of mobile computing in 2019 and beyond…

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How to Write Web Content Like a Pro

Given the choice, nearly any business owner or marketer would prefer to have a professional copywriter craft their web content rather than spending hours and hours on the job themselves. However, not every client who needs web design has the budget for a good writer, and in some industries the huge amount of insider knowledge involved in crafting informative pages makes it faster to write than it would be to bring an outsider up to speed.

If you find yourself in either category it doesn’t mean you have to give up on having great web content. You just need to approach the project the same way a professional would. We talked with an experienced web content writer who has written hundreds of across many industries. Here was his advice…

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How to Make Complex Website Development Projects Simpler

Taking on complex web development projects—websites with hundreds of pages, unique apps, and digitized content—can be daunting. Not only are there the normal technical and creative aspects to get past, but the sheer volume of the work can present logistical challenges. Additionally, big web design jobs usually have multiple personalities involved at the decision-making level.

Given all of these factors, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of complex web development jobs tend to take longer than expected and go well beyond their initial budgets.

That certainly doesn’t have to be the case, though. Today, we want to outline a handful of steps you can take—in conjunction with your web design and development partner—to make complex web design projects simpler, smoother, and more efficient…

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