On June 12, 2018, Winn-Dixie felt the power of a federal judge’s gavel. A court decision that can potentially affect your website.

In 2018, a federal judge ruled in favor of Plaintiff Juan Carlos Gil, a disabled man who filed over 70 lawsuits claiming various companies, including Winn-Dixie, had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The decision required Winn-Dixie to make their website more Web Accessible for people with disabilities.

This ruling requires all websites to follow the ADA compliance law. Even high-profile cases, like the ones against Target, are a reason to follow compliance laws for your website.

The motivations for prioritizing building an accessible website serves more than just avoiding lawsuits. It can help improve SEO ranking, user experience, and brands you as an altruistic leader in a world riddled with company-oriented goals, instead of serving the greater community.

What Is Defined As Web Accessibility?

Accessibility can be defined as well-designed online tools, websites, and web properties that are easy and accessible to use for people with disabilities.

Many websites are not well-designed for people with disabilities and provide a major barrier for communication, commerce, and other online interactions.

Web accessibility should cater to all types of disabilities, such as cognitive, neurological, speech, auditory, and even visual.

As more and more people turn to the web for all things, news, information, employment, commerce, health care, and other reasons, having a website that caters to all types of people is becoming increasingly more important.

As a business, it can also result in more sales, more interaction, and more brand recognition.

Having An Accessible Website Also Helps Those Without Disabilities

Developing more accessible online platforms does more than just help those with disabilities.

Older demographics, non-tech savvy people, and even people using other devices (i.e.: mobile, tablets, etc.) can benefit from interacting with a website that accommodates everyone. Consider this, half of online users are roaming the web using their phones. Designing a website that is easy to navigate boosts your marketing message and make it easy to use.

In addition, user-friendly websites improve crawlability efforts, which is necessary, especially if you want Google to acknowledge your website and improve its ranking.

Search engines favor easy to navigate websites.

How To Make Your Website Accessible

There are many improvements you can make to create a more accessible website. The great thing about designing an easy to use website, it will become accessible for everyone.

Here are some ways to improve it:

  • Follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: The recommended list offers suggestions for implementing accessibility principles and other standard advice for improving website function.
  • The site can be navigated using a computer keyboard: This provides two advantages. One, certain disabilities limit a user’s ability to use their mouse. Second, having a search function inside your website helps your SEO efforts in providing easy navigation, especially if you have several pages of content.
  • Buttons that are not text should contain a title attribute so that readers can spell out what they want to do: In other words, people who speak out their text, need title attributes to help readers navigate an indicated action.
  • Use Alt-Tags: Using Alt-Tags allows you to give more information for images that users can see or read.
  • Closed Captions: This can help users who are unable to hear your videos. If you’re not able to provide closed captions, another method around this is transcribing audio.

There are other ways to improve accessibility. These are just some examples and methods that should be considered for ADA compliance.