In plain language

The law that primarily governs accessibility is The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title III—which prohibits disability-based discrimination for “places of public accommodations”—has been interpreted by courts to extend to websites. Nearly overnight, companies are forced to improve accessibility and user experience at the cost of being targeted by the online equivalent of ambulance chasers.

It’s a process, not a deliverable.

The thing is, compliance is never truly achieved.

The ideal website will be accessible and usable for audiences with visual, motor, or other impairments. How do you do that? Well, there are some guiding principles in place (WCAG 2.1—updated June, 2018) for courts when assessing whether a website accommodates disabled individuals. However, it’s important to know that these standards are constantly evolving and compliance today doesn’t ensure a passing grade tomorrow.

Elevate User Experience

ADA can be overwhelming, so it often makes sense to start simple, iterative improvements designed to create the best possible experience for users with disabilities. For example, these may include image alt text, audio descriptions and transcripts, keyboard shortcuts, and improved readability of text.

Drive Steady Improvement

Web accessibility isn’t a project with a deadline. A large portion of accessibility is in how content is uploaded and produced on an ongoing basis so establish ongoing benchmarks, follow best practices, and get to work.

Serve Diverse Audiences

When making accessibility improvements, it’s easy to get lost in the details of compliance language and the distracting threat of litigation. Let’s remember the human element and logically prioritize upgrades on how your audience uses the site.

Supply ways to ‘get help’

No matter the rigorous attention paid to your website’s accessibility, there will special cases that weren’t covered by the guidelines. To combat the inevitable, provide multiple avenues for your audience to get help at any time—especially if you’re taking people’s information or money.


Success Story: NWABA

The Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering visually impaired individuals through participation in sports and physical activity. We selected NWABA as our 2017/18 pro-bono partner and continue to work with them to optimize their site on a monthly basis.

ADA: Don’t Just Comply, EXCEL!

Compliance is shorthand for ADA, but it’s such an ugly word for an important issue. At Gravitate, we get a ton of calls from organizations who have just been sued—or are afraid they might be—and therefore want to do the absolute minimum to comply and avoid potential penalties and, essentially, save money.

ADA/WCAG rules are intended to help your site serve a wider audience, including real people (62 million in the US) who want to engage with your content, use your service, or buy your product.

We can all do better.

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ADA Compliance

The waters have always been muddy surrounding ADA website compliance. While there are agreed-upon standards, there aren’t inspectors and clear paths to remediate fines, as there are with physical spaces. Even the rules that do exist have never been as clear as they should be.

Let us help you navigate the guidelines, prioritize your efforts, and ensure your website offers the best possible user experience for people with disabilities.


Ready to start a project or really curious about our process?

Drop us a note or give us a call (888) 217-9502; we’re happy to answer all your questions.