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The Meaning of ADA Compliance

Posted: 04/08/2020 | Author: Angela Ozar for Creatives On Call

The Meaning of ADA Compliance

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Is your business ADA compliant? Being compliant with ADA guidelines can increase your top line, diversity and inclusion efforts, and mitigate risk. Find out what ADA is and why it's important for your business's website and social media. Creatives On Call has resources and a checklist to evaluate where your business stands so you can get up to speed. 

What is ADA Compliance?  

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law for the equality and protection of those with disabilities. The law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities for everyday activities such as employment, purchasing goods and services, and getting around in public places. 

Whenever you cross a sidewalk and hear the beeping noise with the number countdown to cross the street or see the handicap spots in the front of a parking lot, that's all because of ADA. ADA doesn't just apply to physical locations; it applies to online as well. 

There have been several revisions of the law since its formation in 1990. In 2010, the law was revised to address web accessibility and barriers for disabled citizens. These new standards state that all online technology and electronic information (i.e. the internet) must be accessible for those with disabilities. So, what does this mean for your business? 

Why is ADA Compliance Important?   
Why is it important for a business to comply with ADA regulations? For one thing, it’s a law. A business could risk a potential lawsuit, fine, and/or bad press if they fail to comply with the standards for online information. 

In addition to legal implications, a business could lose sales from disabled customers simply because their web presence isn't designed for customers' needs. Designing a better digital experience for disabled customers could increase sales and search engine results.  

Hiring people with disabilities is also in a company's best interest from a diversity and inclusion standpoint. Accenture surveyed 45 companies who excelled as "Disability Inclusion Champions" and found on average they had 28% higher revenue over four-years than non-champion companies.

Accept what makes people unique and create a culture that respects and supports the contributions of everyone- including the disabled. 

What are ADA Compliance Requirements? 

Websites, e-readers, web courses, and point-of-sale devices are to be accessible for all individuals. The Department of Justice is still working on providing specific rules. For now, the ADA urges businesses to self-regulate and to follow the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) guidelines in maintaining a global accessibility standard.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), created by the W3C, offers an extensive framework to help web authors and developers implement these technical standards for accessibility. The WCAG is broken out into four main categories:

  1. Perceivable- Information must be presented to users in a way they can perceive. 
  2. Operable- The user must be able to navigate and operate components of the site.
  3. Understandable- The user must be able to understand the information and the interface.   
  4. Robust- Content must be robust enough to be interpreted by a wide range of users and assisted technologies. 

Creatives On Call has created a comprehensive checklist including the WCAG's four main categories and the ADA guidelines for website and social media content at the bottom of this post for easy printing! 

Who Must Comply with ADA Requirements? 

The law applies to all commercial and public entities that have a "public place of accommodation" such as restaurants and movie theaters, and the following groups:

  • Companies with 15 or more employees 
  • Business operating for the benefit of the public 
  • All state and local government agencies  
  • Employment agencies and labor unions

ADA Compliance Additional Resources: 

ADA Website Accessibility toolkit 

Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad 

Website Accessibility Evaluation Tools List 

WCAG 2.1 Guidelines Accessibility Blog 

ADA National Network for Information, Guidance, & Training 

Need Help?

Have extra downtime these days? Digital and virtual are even more critical right now. It's the perfect time for ensuring your business's website and digital presence is compliant with the ADA guidelines. Creatives On Call can help your business get ADA Compliant. Contact us to find out more.

Creatives On Call ADA Compliant Checklist for Web and Social:  

  • The website is perceivable, operable, understandable, & robust (the WCAG's four categories) 
  • Images, videos, and audio files have ALT tags 
  • Videos and audio content have descriptions and captions
  • Menus, links, and buttons are easy to differentiate from each other and navigate 
  • All documents are provided in HTML or text-based format 
  • Online forms and tables have a descriptive HTML tag 
  • Minimal blinking, flashing, or distracting elements 
  • The website has a "skip navigation" link at the top of the page 
  • Colors and fonts can be viewed in a user's web browser and operating system 
  • All business contact information is filled out on social media profiles 
  • Content is available on multiple social media channels 
  • Writing is easy to read and understand  
  • URLs are short and descriptive 
  • Each word is capitalized in long hashtags for screen readers  


Further questions about how we can get your ADA Compliant? Reach out to our Client Services at, and we'd be happy to help you out. Check out our Facebook channel and LinkedIn account for more updates and helpful resources, daily. For more remote resources now, check out our Resource List for Companies, our Resource List for Creatives and our Resource List for Parents during this work from home time.

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