Are You Ignoring an Important Customer Group?

What did the companies Adidas, Netflix, Reebok, and Estee Lauder, and Ace Hardware do wrong? Believe it or not, their websites at one point were not ADA compliant, which did lead to serious legal trouble for these huge companies.

Once websites became mainstream, authorities realized that a set of guidelines need to be established to provide a sense of order and fairness. With that mission in mind, Americans with Disabilities Act, or the ADA, was outlined for the public, specifically those planning to set up a website.

Becoming law in 1990 – and revised in the following year – ADA essentially rules that all electronic and information technology have to be accessible to the disabled public within the United States. 

With these outlines, an ADA compliant website contains readers, descriptive links, and keyboard access for the content displayed on the screen to assist the visually impaired.

When a website does not follow the outlines of ADA compliance, legal action can be one of the consequences and loss of money the other. Converting a non-ADA compliant website is simple, cost-effective, moral, and can save you from a lot of trouble.

Lawsuits against companies using non-ADA compliant websites have been increasing every year since 2016. 

Also, ADA non-compliance can lead to a steep fine of $150,000 (or possibly more…), which happens to more than a fair share of companies nowadays.

The amount of Title III ADA lawsuits filed in the United States federal courts in the first half of 2018 alone was much higher than in 2017. With the growing number of websites on the world wide web, ignorance toward ADA compliance has also increased. 

One of the most crucial results of not having a website ADA compliant is the loss of multiple customers, specifically the disabled community. 

Within the United States, there are over 25 million visually impaired people, as well as more than 30 million individuals suffering from hearing impairment. Between these two categories of disabilities, non-ADA compliant websites are neglecting over 17% of the American population.

Not only is it important for all company websites to cater to this demographic of the population on a moral level, but also to avoid being penalized, and generate more business. 

According to Digital Authority Partners, an uninsured website can not only receive backlash from the outcasted group and lawsuits but also incur potential revenue loss.

In simpler terms, a single website representing an entire company can lose possible business from 20% of a whole country. 

From a business perspective, a non-ADA compliant website can cost plenty of money and time. The lack of standard designs for the disability community is morally wrong and a hindrance to the brand name.

Companies that do not follow the ADA not only break the law but they deny access to every single disabled human being. Since this can be turned into an ethical issue, the organization possibly will have to deal with gaining a negative reputation.

Without a doubt, those former customers then spread the word about the company’s wrongdoing, causing a greater impact.

Imagine about one-fifth of the United States from the get-go not supporting a business due to its non-ADA compliant website. From there, negative customer experience is going to spread due to the immorality behind the situation, causing a company to significantly suffer. This can easily be avoided. 

While a company can ignore a whole customer group, a non-ADA compliant website can also lose other customers – those that endorse and believe in the company’s product, service, and overall mission.

Some businesses are funded by local, municipal, and federal government organizations that clearly would prefer the companies to follow the law, including the ADA. 

With that in mind, the funding, assistance, and contracts from public groups can be lost when a website fails to be ADA compliant. 

Even though the loss of business with government organizations may seem about money, the relationships and support systems lost are also vital and notable. There is a lot at stake due to a non-ADA compliant website.

As established before, people suffering from disabilities are the major customer group that is ignored by a company launching a website without ADA compliance. Perhaps the companies that are most impacted by that loss are the ones involved in healthcare.

Healthcare organizations are of the utmost importance for the disability community. Every website should accommodate its users. It just so happens that a website discussing the topic of healthcare will mostly attract those who are interested and in need of it – the disabled.

According to Healthcare Weekly, ADA compliance for healthcare websites should be taken seriously, as such ignorance causes damage to their reputation within the disabled community. 

Some of the more prominent healthcare organizations that have undergone lawsuits for ADA compliance include HCA Holdings, WellPoint, and CAC Florida Medical Centers. 

From a concept that causes a lot of negative outcomes, ADA compliance is not a difficult task to achieve when creating a website. On the other hand, it is easy to make a few adjustments that can follow the guidelines of the law and provide an equal service for every party involved.

Screen readers, keyboards, joysticks, larger text, and descriptive links are just a few examples of technological tools that can avoid waste of time, loss of money, mega lawsuits, and a stained brand name of the company.

Although it may sound a lot, the addition of these implements is not a hard task, not to mention can go a long way for the company as a whole.

Companies overlook ADA compliance even though it is a helpful law for both the business and its customers. Perhaps some businesses are unaware of both –  the law, and the number of disabled people in the country that should have the same user experience through a company’s tech platform.

In all circumstances, the customer base should always be pleased by every business for financial and moral reasons.

Instead of dealing with multiple complaints, justified lawsuits, and hampering existing relationships, a company can simply install helping tools to serve all humans that enter their website. If you are a business owner or executive, no matter what industry you are in, do not make the mistake of ignoring this important customer group.

 

This article comes from Julian Gnatenco @ JGBilling 

David Jackson

David is a personal finance expert, a professional male model, and an entertainment writer.