Law firms are required to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
However, many law firms don’t meet the ADA’s guidelines for web accessibility, and as a result, people with disabilities have difficulty accessing the information on these websites.
Making your website accessible is not only required by the ADA, but it’s also the right thing to do.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss why law firms should make web accessibility a priority and how they can go about making their website more accessible.
Why Law Firms Should Make Web Accessibility a Priority?
Making your website accessible is not only the right thing to do, but it can also be good for business. Here are a few reasons why law firms should make web accessibility a priority:
- You want your message to reach as many people as possible.
It is more important than ever to reach the broadest possible audience with your message in today’s society. By making your website accessible, you will reach more people who might not have been able to access your content otherwise. This includes people with disabilities, older adults, and rural areas who may have slower internet connections.
- It’s the law.
Did you know that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is illegal to discriminate based on disability? [cite company policy]
- Your site will rank better on Google and other search engines.
Having an accessible website that uses headings, lists, and images will ensure that Google and other search engines can better understand your content. That means you can get higher rankings in results and more organic traffic from people searching for services like yours!
- It’s not as expensive as you think.
Making your website accessible does not have to be expensive or complicated; there are a number of free tools out there that can help:
- The Paciello Group offers free and low-cost options to help make your site more accessible.
- WebAIM has a great page on WordPress plugins that can help you improve accessibility, including the Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin, which highlights all of the headings on your site and is free and easy to use!
- It will increase client loyalty and leads.
If you make your site accessible, people will be more likely to share your content with their friends and family who might not otherwise have access – and that means more leads and clients for you!
- You can help educate your peers in the legal industry by highlighting your efforts on social media and at conferences.
As a lawyer, it is important to understand how those issues affect our community; making your website more accessible helps highlight those areas as you learn about them. Through professional development opportunities like webinars hosted by The Paciello Group or books like Web Accessibility for Lawyers.
By following these five steps, you can improve accessibility for both current and future visitors of your website:
- Use correct HTML coding. This includes using the correct DOCTYPE and providing alternative text for images, video, and audio files so that search engines can better understand your content. [Link to Google search on how to add alt-text]
- Make sure your website is compatible with screen readers such as JAWS and NVDA.
- Create easy navigation systems for visitors who cannot use a mouse, such as keyboard shortcuts or skip links accessible by using the tab key alone. [Link to article about how to add an accessible skip link]
- Test your website on multiple browsers and mobile devices before launching it live!
- Continually improve and update your site to make it accessible to all visitors, especially as new or updated technologies come out.
Why is it essential that websites are accessible?
Websites must be accessible because everyone deserves to have access to information. Websites should be designed in a way that allows everyone to use them, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
Making your website accessible is not only the right thing to do, but it can also benefit your business in many ways!
Does the law require me to make my website accessible?
Yes, suppose you run or manage a website or online service and want your site to comply with the U.S. and international law. In that case, you’ll need to be mindful of web accessibility considerations for all users – not just those with disabilities.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are the internationally recognized standards for making websites accessible. Most influential organizations voluntarily adopt them because they protect civil rights and promote digital inclusion worldwide.”
Do law firm websites have to be ADA-compliant?
Yes! Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act stipulates that all websites operated by federal agencies be accessible and compliant with the ADA.
This includes law firm websites because, under ADA Title 1, all state, local, or municipal government departments must provide goods or services to citizens who have disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate.
Law firms can quickly certify their website as compliant through a service called WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool), which runs a series of tests to identify and automatically fix accessibility issues on your site.
What are the benefits of accessible web design?
Web accessibility is the design of websites and web content accessible to all, including people with disabilities. This includes making sure that all content is accessible through keyboard navigation, screen readers, and other assistive technologies.
By making your website accessible, you are not only making it possible for people with disabilities to use it, but you are also increasing the overall usability of your site for everyone.
Some of the benefits of accessible web design include:
- Increased audience reach – By making your website accessible, you are opening it up to a wider audience than ever before. This includes people with disabilities, older adults, and those using assistive technologies to browse the web.
- Improved user experience – It is no secret that users are willing to leave a website if it takes too long to load, is complicated to navigate, or doesn’t have all the features they are looking for. Law firms should note that making their sites accessible will improve the overall user experience, increase interaction with visitors, and enhance SEO.
- Improved search engine rankings – Google has stated time and time again how important it is for websites to be accessible. By ensuring your site is accessible, you are opening up opportunities for higher search rankings, as well as an enhanced user experience. These factors contribute to building trust with your clients, which improves brand image!
- Increased visitor loyalty – If someone goes through the effort of finding your website and navigating it, they are more likely to come back again in the future. By taking the necessary steps to make your site accessible, you are increasing visitor loyalty and creating long-term business relationships possible online!
- It’s good for business – At the end of the day, it is important to remember that making your website accessible is simply good for business. Whether it’s your law firm or some other type of organization, providing information in an easy-to-understand format will promote trust among potential customers, which can lead to more sales. This ultimately leads to an improved company image and makes you look like a competent professional with all things considered!
It is essential for law firms to make web accessibility a priority. I hope this article has given you some good ideas about how you can improve your firm’s ability to serve those who may not otherwise visit your site due to limitations imposed by disability.