A significant number of Americans live with a visual impairment. According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 million people are legally blind and 3 million more have major visual impairments that cannot be corrected. With technological advances, law firm websites can still be accessible to people dealing with visual impairments. At SunRize Marketing, we offer reliable website design and development for law firms. With a focus on providing personalized solutions for our clients, our team has extensive experience building websites that are meaningfully accessible for persons with disabilities. Here, you will find a comprehensive guide to ADA compliance for law firm websites.
What is Website Accessibility and Why Does It Matter?
Website design for law firms is important—and website accessibility is a key aspect of making a site legally compliant and accessible. With the internet becoming truly central to our lives, improving the digital experience for the disabled community is a critical part of the effort to create a more equitable society.
Website accessibility is defined as the inclusive and proactive practice of designing and developing a website that removes barriers to and facilitates interaction for people of all types of backgrounds, including those with physical disabilities. With one billion people worldwide experiencing some type of disability and many who are visually impaired, website accessibility matters.
Website Accessibility and the Law in the United States
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is the primary federal law that protects the rights of persons with disabilities. It is a complex and wide-ranging federal statute. At this point, there are still not clear regulations and requirements in place regarding ADA compliance and website accessibility. That being said, all companies and organizations that fall under Title I—meaning they have at least 15 total employees for at least 20 weeks per year—are generally required to ensure that the website they design and develop is “reasonably accessible” for persons with disabilities.
Understanding ADA Compliance for Law Firm Websites
You may be wondering: How do you develop a law firm website that is ADA compliant? A term like “reasonably accessible” is vague—especially for those who are not familiar with website design and development. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) help to serve as a foundation. Created by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), WCAG is a series of standards that are considered to be the best practices in website accessibility. Notably, in 2017, the US Access Board issued a final rule update to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that officially adopted most of the WCAG “success criteria.”
How Can Your Law Firm Benefit From an ADA-Compliant Website?
Law firms large and small can benefit from building an ADA compliant website. At SunRize Marketing, our website design and development professionals work closely with firms to meet their specific needs. Here are four key reasons why your law firm can benefit from a website that is ADA compliant and meaningfully accessible for persons with disabilities:
- Reduce Liability Risk: There is a liability risk associated with falling out of ADA compliance. Law firms with more than 15 total employees face potential liability for failing to meet ADA standards for website accessibility. A meaningfully accessible website will reduce liability risk.
- Improve Brand Image: Branding matters for law firms. By developing and implementing accessible websites, law firms can improve their brand image. Disabled individuals, their family members, and their allies appreciate businesses and organizations that put resources into making things more equitable.
- Access More Clients: As noted previously, there are millions of people in the United States living with disabilities, many of whom need to access legal services. With an ADA compliant website, a law firm will actually be in a better position to connect with more clients.
- Foster Inclusive Environment: Finally, designing and developing an ADA compliant website that is truly accessible to persons with disabilities will help to create a more inclusive environment overall.
Get Help From Our Legal Website Design and Development Team Today
At SunRize Marketing, we have extensive experience assisting law firms large and small in the design and development of websites. Our team understands the importance of making a law firm website meaningfully accessible to persons with disabilities. If you have any specific questions or concerns about ADA compliance for law firm websites, we are here as a resource. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your law firm.