Category Archives: ADA Compliance

Ensuring Inclusivity Online: The Necessity of ADA Website Compliance

The Necessity of ADA Website Compliance

Ensuring Inclusivity Online

Websites serve as gateways to information, services, and products for people around the world. However, among website content and design, it’s important not to overlook a fundamental aspect: accessibility.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to ensure equal access and opportunities for individuals with disabilities. While the ADA primarily focuses on physical accommodations, its scope has more recently expanded to encompass digital spaces as well, with specific guidelines on how to make websites accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities.

Beyond the moral and ethical obligations of making your website accessible, there are significant legal considerations to bear in mind—as well as tangible benefits to your SEO and organic traffic.

ADA Shield

What is ADA Compliance for Websites?

ADA compliance for websites refers to making your online content accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. Some common examples of accessibility features include alt text on images or audio files or transcripts for audio- and video-only content.

Why Should Your Website Be ADA-Compliant?

Beyond ensuring your website is accessible to the widest audience possible and ensuring equity among users, here are two key reasons your website should be ADA-compliant:

Improved SEO and Increased Organic Traffic

Search engines favor websites that provide an excellent user experience. Accessibility improvements, such as alternative text for images, proper use of headings, and easily navigable site structure, aren’t just beneficial for users with disabilities—they also enhance the overall quality of your site. Thus, ADA compliance indirectly benefits your site’s SEO and can potentially lead to higher search rankings and increased visibility.

According to SEMRush, websites that adhere to ADA compliance guidelines often see a boost in organic traffic. A study conducted in collaboration with and BuiltWith analyzed over 800 websites and discovered that 73.4% of domains experienced increased organic traffic after implementing accessibility solutions, with an average growth of 12%.

This data underscores the increasing risk businesses face if their websites are not ADA-compliant. With the rise in litigations, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of web accessibility, not just from a moral standpoint but also to avoid potentially costly legal challenges. Beyond legal and financial consequences, the reputational damage from failing to make a website accessible can substantially affect customer trust and loyalty.

Legal Risk Mitigation

The legal landscape around digital accessibility has been evolving rapidly. In 2023, UsableNet reported a total of 4,605 lawsuits filed over web accessibility issues, with 3,086 of these being federal lawsuits and 1,519 at the state level.

While reported a slightly lower number (a total of 2,281 lawsuits), it’s clear that this issue is receiving significant attention. Compared to the previous year, found a slight 4% drop in lawsuits in 2023 over 2022, which is consistent with the ongoing trend. Seyfarth Shaw LLP, one of the nation’s top law firms, provided a middle ground with 3,255 lawsuits reported.

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Navigating the Future of ADA Compliance

The trend towards greater enforcement and awareness of ADA compliance suggests that the future will bring even stricter regulations and higher expectations for digital accessibility. Moreover, as public awareness of accessibility issues grows, consumers are increasingly favoring businesses that prioritize inclusivity and accessibility. This shift in consumer behavior underscores the importance of adopting accessible web practices not only to meet legal requirements but also to align with shifts in market expectations and societal values.

At Zenergy Works, we recognize ADA compliance as an evolving consideration for websites and are committed to helping you navigate it effectively. We’ll be following up with you in the first quarter of 2024 to discuss ADA compliance standards and will require you to acknowledge the risk of an ADA compliance suit if you choose not to have Accessible or an equivalent service. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at (707) 360-1402.

ADA Compliance and SEO-How They Work Together

So many clients have called me and been puzzled by the ADA requirements for websites.  Despite the existence of relatively simple and affordable fixes for ADA compliance on the marketing today, like accessiBe and others,  many still resist bringing their website into compliance.  Here is some motivation-ADA compliance mirrors some of the requirements that will improve the SEO of your website.  In this article, I will outline how site accessibility (aka ADA compliance) improves SEO by improving site readability not only for users but search crawlers like Google, Bing, etc.

CTA Buttons and Links

Accessibility rules dictate that the links on your site must be descript. Buttons or text that simply say “Click Here” are not compliant with ADA standards because it is not clear where “clicking here” will take the site user.  The same is true for SEO-links should be clearly identified with anchor text or an anchor tag that describes the content that you are linking to.


Alt Tags for photos that describe what the photo is are a key to website accessibility.  10% of all website traffic is on Google Images. The Alt Tag also enhances the SEO value of the page by clearly identifying the consistency of the content on the page and the value to the website user.  This habit will enhance your response on Google Search.

Meta Tags/Page Labeling and Tagging

One of the key pieces in making your site compliant is page labeling and tagging. These code-level additions to your site are used as identifiers for ADA readers. The page tags describe the content on the page, and many times mirror the content displayed in the meta tags and meta descriptions that appear in organic search results.

Page Tags tell crawlers know what types of content is on your site. When the page tags line up well with the meta tags and meta description on the page, then search engine crawlers have additional evidence that the content is valuable and consistent.

Don’t Resist ADA-It Is Good For You

Accessibility is the new standard, and it is important that your website comply. You will eventually be forced to do so, so why not increase direct traffic, time spent on site and reduce bounce rate (all positive SEO site performance standards) by complying now?

To Run an accessibility audit of your site, feel free to use this free ADA compliance scan.

To access the standards that govern MOST of these accessibility requirements, feel free to access the Federal Section 508 Standards.  For a second check on where your site might stand in terms of site accessibility consult this WCAG checklist.

We are here to help you to understand and access the best solutions for ADA compliance.  Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Make Your Website Accessible to Everyone with accessiBe

Approximately 15% (49 million) of Americans suffer from a disability that using websites difficult. How accessible is your site?  

What do we mean by accessibility?

Website Accessibility Concept Art

Simply put, it means making your website available to as many people as possible. Accessible sites have features that help disabled people use your website. These features present information through multi-sensory channels, like sight and sound. Accessible sites also offer different ways for people to navigate through the site beyond the standard point-and-click interface. For example, a person with motor control issues could get around your site using voice-based navigation. Users with blindness, epilepsy, deafness, color blindness, or cognitive disorders may all have difficulty using a website that isn’t accessible. Accessibility features benefit other users too – people with slow internet connections or older computers and browsers.

In the past, making your website accessible required a web developer, time, and thousands of dollars. We’re now offering a new cost-effective service that will quickly make your site available to everyone: accessiBe. Whether you need your website to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or you simply want to reach a wider audience, accessiBe is a perfect solution.

With accessiBE, it’s never been easier to be ADA, WCAG 2.1, Section 508, and EN 301549 compliant. The installation takes only 5 minutes and doesn’t need additional hardware or coding. accessiBe uses AI and machine learning to solve 30% of accessibility issues immediately. The remaining 70% of problems are resolved within 48 hours of installation. Even better, accessiBe offers ongoing compliance. Every 24 hours, it will scan your website for new content, web pages, or widgets and automatically solve them. Using accessiBe won’t change anything for most of your users or affect the design of your website. Users will be able to activate the overlaying interface during a specific session to use the accessibility tools.

Some features of the accessibility interface include:

  • Font handling – users can change the font size, type, spacing, alignment, line height, and more
  • Color handling – users can select color contrast profiles
  • Animations – users with epilepsy can stop animations, GIFs, and CSS flashing transitions
  • Content highlighting – users can emphasize vital elements on the page like links and titles
  • Audio muting – users can mute the website instantly
  • Search engine help – users with cognitive disorders can use an integrated search engine linked to Wikipedia and Wiktionary to help them understand phrases, words, or slang

By using accessiBe, you can expand your viewership and ensure that everyone who visits your site has an excellent user experience. At only $490 a year, accessiBe is the most affordable way to provide equal access to everyone. Contact Zenergy Works today to get started!

ADA Compliance For Websites – An Overview

I have received numerous inquiries about the new WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) that went into effect on June 5, 2018.   The specific questions are about lawsuits that are being filed against those that have websites that have serious accessibility problems for those with visual and sensory challenges.   All federal institutions’ websites must meet AA compliance on all items in WCAG 2.0 by January of 2018. The general consensus right now is that any business considered a “public accommodation” should have an ADA compliant web presence.  “Public Accommodation” is open to interpretation, but generally this refers to businesses that deal directly with consumers, (ie. retail, restaurants) or any business the general public should be able to access information about easily.

Full compliance with the  all of the 61 guidelines laid out in WCAG 2.0 to either AA or AAA level.   This is a daunting task and can require significant expense that is beyond the scope of what most small to medium sized businesses can afford.  The vast majority of websites that have been built in the last 2 to 3 years probably comply with most of the rules, and frankly, most of the websites on the internet are not in full compliance with the all 61 guidelines.  The major guidelines that can be difficult to comply with are listed below (Note:  this is not a exhaustive list of guidelines, just some of the more common sticking points):

  1. Your site must be fully navigable via keyboard only. This usually includes things like skip navigation buttons and can involve manually setting a tabindex everywhere.
  2. Your site should be navigable with screen reader software.
  3. Text must meet a minimum contrast ratio against the background, which can significantly impact your design.
  4. Your site must accommodate text scaling up to 200% without causing horizontal scrolling or content-breaking layout problems.

The resources below are easy to use and can help you to understand how your website can become compliant.  Please be aware that compliance with the scans and information received from these resources will NOT guarantee that you cannot be sued for non-compliance, but they provide a good start.  The only way to ensure compliance with screen reader software and key board navigation is manual testing, which can be extremely expensive and time consuming, but is necessary the majority of the time to ensure full compliance with the applicable laws.

  1. WAVE is a good scan but can produce a lot of false positives, particularly for contrast ratio issues and picking up code like Google Tag Manager as positives.
  2. Lighthouse can help generate a report on potential issues.

As a practical matter, it is important to let those that visit your site know that you are working to comply with ADA requirements, and that you are completing all that you can do given your time and financial resources.   We have used the follow information page on a number of websites to explain our position on the matter.  We have created a footer link entitled “ADA Compliance”   We have set this page to “do not index” and link to an interior page that has the following message:

(Name of your Business Here) is committed to making its website usable by all people by meeting or exceeding the requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG 2.0 AA).  We have conducted an accessibility review of this website and has remediated any issues identified during that review.

Please be aware that our efforts are ongoing as we incorporate the relevant improvements to meet WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines over time. If you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of this site or need assistance in using the processes found within this site, please contact us through our website contact form. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the page of our site and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page accessible.

ADA Compliance is not only about mitigating risks of complicated and expensive litigation for your business, but also about creating solid communication with those that have challenges in accessing your business information.  Look at this as an opportunity to be a leader in a market that is currently underserved instead of just another government regulation designed to complicate your business.  Please also remember that these guidelines are complex and sometimes subject to interpretation, (Full Disclaimer: there is never a guarantee that you cannot be sued for non compliance) and while most websites do not currently comply with the full regulations, a good faith effort should be made by every website owner to comply with as many guidelines as possible.

Eric Van Cleave is Co-CEO and Digital Director for Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa California Digital Marketing Agency Specializing in SEO and Paid Marketing Management.

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