The Americans with Disabilities Act, commonly known as ADA, was enacted with the goal of protecting the rights of people with disabilities and ensuring that they have access to equal opportunities in society. The ADA creates guidelines for businesses so that the services that they offer can be easily accessible to people with or without disabilities. The law requires organizations to provide reasonable public accommodations to customers and employees with disabilities.
In ADA, Title III includes websites as public accommodations. Therefore, even the websites of businesses should be made friendly to people with disabilities such as the blind, deaf and mute. With the wide use of the Internet, the ADA even extends to mobile apps. So, making your medical website and mobile apps accessible to people with speech, sight, hearing and other physical problems is a responsibility that you should prioritize as a business owner.
In a recent ruling for ADA, an official standard for website accessibility has been passed stating that all places of public accommodation should remove the barriers that would hinder people with disabilities from conveniently accessing a business’s website. It also imposes a strict liability to website owners to make their domains easily accessible to people with disabilities, and failure to do so will result in violations and penalties.
Failing to comply with the ADA standards can hurt your dental or medical practice. Lawyers can file lawsuits against your business if they find out that your business does not follow the standards of ADA in both the physical and digital domains. There are also some cases when businesses have been threatened with a lawsuit because of non-compliance with ADA, and you would not want to wait until you are put in the same situation.
While the ADA aims to protect the rights of people with disabilities, there are also benefits for business owners if they comply with the ADA standards. Here are some benefits of making your website ADA compliant.
Increase Your Reach
The main focus of ADA is to make websites accessible to people with disabilities, and when your website complies with this standard, you are opening your business to millions of people with disabilities. Just imagine the revenue that your business might lose from these types of customers when your dental or medical website is not optimized for them. While your potential patients might be interested in the type of products or services that you are offering, they will likely move on to another competitor if they can’t navigate your website properly.
Improved SEO Rankings
Search engines rank websites based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and websites that comply with this guideline are more likely to be discovered by users easily. Aside from that, since your business will get more visits if you make it ADA compliant, you will be able to increase your reputation.
These factors are very helpful in improving your SEO rankings. By improving your SEO rankings, you will get an increase in website traffic and more potential patients with disabilities that will find you on the Internet.
Med Rank Interactive specializes in local SEO, helping dentists, medical practices, and independent physicians rank at the top of Google to increase their new patient numbers.
Improved User Experience
A great user experience is what makes customers stay on your website. When you make your web pages easier to comprehend for people with or without disability, they will find the things that they need quickly which will eventually lead to more conversions.
The last thing you want as a doctor who is managing his or her practice is to get traffic to your website and not convert that traffic into actual patients.
ADA has a grading system for websites wherein websites should have at least a grade of A to be compliant, with AAA being the highest grade for ADA compliant websites. When you strive to make your dental or medical website compliant with ADA, not only will you improve your SEO efforts but will also avoid penalties that can add up over time.
There are businesses that have already received penalties from the ADA because of non-compliance. There are also businesses and websites that have been sued for not complying with the ADA standards such as Foot Locker, Brooks Brothers, Kylie Jenner and Fordham University.
Optimizing Your Dental or Medical Website
Now that you know the benefits that your business can get from making your dental or medical website ADA compliant, you should start the effort of actually optimizing your website for ADA standards. In the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, there are 4 groups that you need to focus on when optimizing your website for accessibility. These groups are:
Perceivable issues: these are issues that affect the user in processing the information from your website.
Operable issues: these are issues that pertain to how your visitors can operate and navigate the content of your website.
Understandable issues: understandable issues require the visitor’s ability to comprehend the information available on your website.
Robust issues: these are issues that focus on the website’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of the users.
By focusing on these key aspects, you will be able to provide a portal for your patients where they can access your services and products with convenience.
How to Make Your Website ADA Compliant
Making your website ADA compliant is not that much different in optimizing it for SEO. In fact, you will also find that our tips for complying with the ADA standards also include some good SEO practices. To make sure that you are complying with the ADA, you should take note of these things:
Make sure to include alt tags: alt tags are short texts that will tell the users what the image, audio or video file is about. It includes a short description that people with disabilities can read to understand the contents of the media files.
Create subtitles and text transcripts for video: text transcripts will help hearing-impaired customers to find out the information that you want to convey even with their disabilities.
Proper contrast ratio: ensuring that the texts and images on your website have proper contrast ratio will help people with visual impairment to see the content of your website properly.
Ensure that the website layout is consistent: people with cognitive disabilities might suffer from websites with poor layouts and make navigation hard for them.
Provide feedback for errors: whenever a visitor encounters an error on your website, you should provide feedback on what they can alternately do so they can stay on your website. You can also provide information on what the forms are about so they fully understand what they are signing up for.
Allow keyboard navigation: keyboard navigation is a great way to allow people with mobility issues to navigate your website with ease.
Med Rank Interactive in Charlotte will help you comply with ADA standards. We are a digital marketing solutions provider in the healthcare industry with the aim of helping you create a digital footprint so your patients can find you easily and quickly on the Internet. Contact us to discuss how we can make your medical or dental website ADA compliant.