Why Is ADA Compliance Important For Law Firm Websites?


In this era of technology, it would be hard to find law firms that don’t have websites. Knowing your rights and obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act is important if you happen to own a law firm. Making your website as inclusive as possible should be one of your top concerns since a wide range of people will visit it.

Since it makes your service user-friendly and accessible to everyone, ADA compliance is more important than you might think. It is also an essential element of your marketing strategy and how you present yourself to visitors and potential clients.

The website of your law firm should be designed in a way that makes navigation easy for those with disabilities. This article will dive deep into the reasons why ADA compliance is a must for law firm websites. So, stick around till the end!

Importance Of ADA Compliance For Law Firms

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a landmark civil rights law. The goal of the ADA is to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in State, and local government services and employment. The reason why ADA for websites is so important is that it takes away the mystery.

ADA Compliance is important because the law firm has legal responsibilities to its clients. Among other things, a law firm must ensure that its clients can utilize all of the firm’s services and products as needed.

Ensuring proper access allows for full access to all of a client’s legal matters, whether in-person or on an electronic device. Without accessibility, many individuals with disabilities are unable to fully participate in processes such as depositions, pleadings, and motions.

Ensures Equality
ADA Compliance is also important because it ensures that all of the firm’s clients are treated equally. One of the fundamentals of the Americans with Disabilities Act is that individuals with disabilities should be afforded the same opportunities as others.

The laws and regulations that require people with disabilities to be able to access buildings and facilities should not be ignored. It is just as important for a law firm, as any other business entity, to serve its customers effectively and efficiently.

Finally, being ADA compliant is a monetary and reputational investment. In other words, just as a law firm would not solicit clients who do not have proper documentation for legal representation. It should not also solicit clients who have physical impairments if the firm doesn’t take steps to ensure access.

The law firm should make good-faith efforts to provide physical access to all of its offices as needed by individuals with mobility impairments. If a particular office is in an inaccessible space, it should be moved or modified so that it is accessible. The law firm might also consider moving all of its offices to a more accessible location.

How To Know If Your Law Website Is ADA Compliant?
The ADA helps you understand what’s required of you as a law firm, and then you can decide how to implement these features into your website. When people visit your website, they do so with you in mind.

They would like to feel welcomed and connect with you. And when they find that yours is not an ADA compliant website, this has a negative impact on how they view you and your law firm. Here are some general ADA compliance tips that’ll help you identify whether your website is ADA compliant.

Menu Options And Menu Location
Menu options should be listed in a logical order to reduce confusion. The menu should be visible on all parts of the site, including the homepage and inner pages. The menu location has to be high enough for all users to access easily.

Menus should have a character limit long enough to list all options on the same page. Menus should be labeled with general descriptions, not with technical jargon. These general descriptions need to be in a different color and font size/style than the main text on the site.

Text Size
The text should be at least 14 points in size when displayed at 100%. The 14 point minimum is an ideal recommendation, and it’s based on what most users can comfortably read.

Text Contrast
Contrast is the difference between two contrasting colors. They need to have a difference of at least 35%. This concept applies to both images and text. If you’re using a light color for the content, you can consider using a darker color for the background. If you’re using a dark color for the content, use a lighter color to make the reading easier on your users.

Text Color
The text should be 13 to 15 shades of gray. White text on a black or dark background would be fine for your main content, but for footnotes and the like, you should use a darker color that can stand out better against the white background and make it easier to read.

You don’t have to go crazy with the color scheme you choose. For example, if you’re using a blue background with yellow text, this may not be accessible by all users because blue is something they can’t see.
Style, Size, And Location of Links

Users should be able to navigate the website without confusion. When it comes to links, you should describe what is at the other end of the link. This will create non-visual clues that indicate where the link goes.

Having a strong link color coded with the background will help you differentiate between primary content and secondary links. As an example, you can have a light-colored background that is followed by an underline to indicate that it’s clickable.

Tools For Third Party Assessments

There are many ADA compliance software out there that can be useful in evaluating your website accessibility. One thing you have to keep in mind is that they’re not all equal and there are some tools out there that are better suited for certain purposes.

To provide and ensure service for the handicapped, ADA compliance for your website is a must. Now that you are aware of the significance of ADA compliance for law firm websites, don’t waste any time and focus on making your website ADA compliant right away!

Working on a website can be difficult. Adding new media and updating pages is chore, even though you know your company website needs to evolve and become more accessible to the many users you are trying to reach. Maybe when you first built it, accessibility wasn’t even really discussed. But now you’ve taken a step back, looked at your customer base with a desire to include everyone and you’ve realized just how important it is to make your site accessible. However, the thought of building a robust site that can do all the things you want it to do is overwhelming.

What is Web Accessibility

A practice of designing and coding the website in order to provide complete compatibility in accessing it by people with disabilities. In addition, it is a way to improve search engine optimization only an ADA Compliant Web Designer will help you to make your website Compliant. Is your website compatible? By going through the checklist below, you can get the answer.

Assessing Current Web Pages and Content

  • The website must include a feature like a navigation link at the top of the page. These links have a bypass mechanism such as a “skip navigation” link. This feature directs screen readers to bypass the row of navigation links and start at the web page content. It is beneficial for people who use screen readers to avoid to listen to all the links each time they jump to a new page.
  • All the links should be understandable when taken out of the context. For example, images without alternative text and links without worded as “click here”.
  • All the graphics, maps, images, and other non-text content must provide text alternatives through the alt attribute, a hidden/visible long description.
  • All the documents posted on the website should available in HTML or another accessible text-based format. It is also applicable to other formats like Portable Document Format (PDF).
  • The online forms on the website should be structured so assistive technology can identify, describe and operate the controls and inputs. By doing this, people with disabilities can review and submit the forms.
  • If the website has online forms, the drop-down list should describe the information instead of displaying a response option. For instance, “Your Age” instead of “18-25”.
  • If the website has data charts and tables, they should be structured so that all data cells are associated with column and row identifiers.
  • All the video files on the website must have audio descriptions (if necessary). This is for the convenience of blind people or for having a visual impairment disability.
  • All the video files on the website must have synchronized captions. People with hearing problems or deaf can access these files conveniently.
  • All the audio files on the website should have synchronized captions to provide access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • All web pages should be designed so that they can be viewed using visitors’ web browser and operating system settings for color and font.

About Website Accessibility Policy and Procedures

  • One must have a written policy on website accessibility.
  • The website accessibility policy must be posted on the website at a location where it can be easily found.
  • The procedure should be developed to ensure that content is not added to the website until it has been made accessible.
  • It should be confirmed that the website manager has checked the code and structure of all new web pages before they are posted.
  • While adding the PDFs to the website, these should be accessible. Also, the text-based versions of the documents should be accessible at the same time as PDF versions.
  • Make sure that the in-house and contractor staff has received the information about the website accessibility policy and procedure to confirm the website accessibility.
  • It should be confirmed that in-house and contractor staff has received appropriate training on how to ensure the accessibility of the website.
  • The website should have a specific written plan if it contains inaccessible content. Also, it should include timeframes in place to make all of the existing web content accessible.
  • A complete plan to improve website accessibility should be posted along with invited suggestions for improvement.
  • The homepage should include easily locatable information that includes contact details like telephone number and email address. This is useful for reporting website accessibility problems and requesting accessibility services with information.
  • A website should have procedures in place to assure a quick response to the visitors with disabilities who have difficulty in accessing information or services available on the website.
  • Feedback from people who use a variety of assistive technologies is helpful in ensuring website accessibility. So make sure to ask disability groups representing people to provide feedback on the accessibility of your website.
  • Testing the website using a product available on the internet is helpful, These tools are of free cost and check the accessibility of a website. They may not identify all accessibility issues and flag issues that are not accessibility problems. However, these are, nonetheless, a helpful way to improve website accessibility.

Checklist of Action Items for Improving the Accessibility of a Website

In addition, while considering the above suggestions, the following checklist initially prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Federal Agencies provides further guidelines on ways to make websites more accessible for persons with disabilities.

This practical advice, as well as another checklist, are available at:

Satisfying all of these items does not necessarily mean that a website complies with ADA, but it will improve the website’s accessibility and decrease the risk of litigation. Again, an Expert or Web Accessibility Consulting & Services provider should be engaged to conduct a comprehensive review of your website.
Nothing brings you closer to reality than actually facing it. This is the premise of my latest attempt to spread awareness about Web Accessibility.
For better understand, here is a link in which a practical example is shown to make the websites’ user experience better by following the guidelines. Also, it tells the issues affecting various users on the internet with solutions.
You can make your website ADA compliant in an easy way by consulting the professionals, who can do this job effortlessly. Also, you can get a quick website audit from To Be ADA Compliant that offers complete web accessibility consulting & services in California, USA.

Resource: https://dev.to/chinchang/an-interactive-and-practical-introduction-to-web-accessibility-22o1