Why Your Wedding Industry Website Should Be ADA Compliant
by Brian Lawrence
The wedding industry is becoming more and more mindful of inclusive business practices and strategies with regards to gender and cultural diversity.
However, disabled communities are often overlooked in the conversation about inclusivity. Many wedding businesses are not addressing the needs of disabled customers. This neglection is present in many industry-related websites, making it more difficult for disabled customers to take part in various aspects of wedding planning.
Overall inclusivity is vital to wedding industry businesses, including public venues and formal wear shops. A well-designed website improves the user experience and increases your credibility with customers. However, people with moderate to severe disabilities might still find navigating even the most optimized websites difficult. For example, if someone who is sight impaired tries to independently learn about your business, they’ll need audio aids. Federal law provides protections for the disabled in physical locations and now even on websites. Providing extra software features for the disabled helps your business website satisfy ADA compliance guidelines, strengthens your reputation, and protects you from legal liability.
What is ADA Compliance?
In July 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. The landmark law cemented protections for disabled people throughout the U.S. ADA protections apply to any public space including websites and are not considered optional. Specific features your business can implement to make sure websites are ADA-compliant include:
- video captions
- alt text on images
- color contrast
- adjustable text size
- text reader
- speech input
Your business is not limited to any number of accessibility features. However, it’s in your best interest to include a wide range of features on your website that cater to people with different disabilities.
Benefits of ADA Compliance
When you embrace inclusivity, your business opens to a wider range of potential customers who might otherwise find it difficult to obtain your services. ADA compliance shows you’re serious about making socially responsible decisions that benefit underserved communities.
An accessible website improves your business’s trust factor with Google and can aid your overall SEO efforts. For example, your website should already have simple SEO features like image alt text that benefit blind users who need a screen reader. ADA compliance is not a specific ranking factor in SEO. However, Google may penalize websites that lack accessibility options because poor accessibility promotes a poor user experience. Any effort to increase your website’s user experience will improve searchability and positively affect rankings.
The true impact of website accessibility has been difficult to prove over the years with little data available. Recently, SEMRUSH and AccessibilityChecker.org conducted a study of over 800 websites, showing real evidence of how website accessibility improves SEO efforts.
To conduct the study, SEMRUSH used a tool that detects different technologies on websites. The tool found 847 websites that used accessibility software and identified trends in web traffic before and after the websites improved accessibility. Analysts determined that 73.4% of the websites saw a 12% increase in overall traffic after implementing some form accessibility software. Of the websites studied, 66% saw up to 50% growth in organic traffic while 7% of the websites saw more than 50%. Furthermore, AccessibilityChecker.org looked at the numerous accessibility software providers and found accessiBe’s services to be highly effective.
The data is clearer than ever. Accessible websites are far more likely to see higher traffic and rank higher in search engine results pages.
Consequences of Not Being ADA Compliant
Damage to Reputation
Without a website that adopts ADA guidelines, you can damage your reputation and cause difficult times for your wedding industry business. Disabled visitors who cannot navigate your website might seek out alternative options. In addition, socially conscious customers who learn of your website’s lack of accessibility might take their business elsewhere or leave negative reviews.
ADA compliance is not only important for the social health of your business; it’s the law. Disabled website visitors who cannot access your services have the right to take legal action. Any legal action against you or your business can cost thousands of dollars in addition to harming your reputation.
How to Comply with ADA Guidelines
There are innovative ways to increase your website’s accessibility beyond traditional optimization features like alt tags. Technology company accessiBe offers the latest software solutions to help websites fully comply with ADA guidelines. The accessiBe accessWidget combines real-time UI adjustments with artificial intelligence to provide instant changes for disabled users.
You can install accessWidget on many of the major CMS sites, including WordPress and Shopify. Once installed, this clickable icon will appear at the bottom corner of your website:
Clicking the icon will reveal accessibility adjustments that cater to various disabilities:
The accessibility adjustment window allows users to instantly customize website features, including visual and audio enhancements.
Scrolling down the accessWidget window gives users even more ways to alter content, color, and orientation features on your website:
With accessWidget installed on your website, you can take comfort in knowing you’re fully complying with ADA guidelines. Embracing inclusivity doesn’t just satisfy legal requirements. It expands your reach to vulnerable customers and cements your business as a leader in socially responsible marketing. Above all, it’s the right thing to do.