Today, there are huge incentives for businesses to make their websites compliant with guidelines established by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
First, they can avoid what has become expensive and predatory law suits. And, second these businesses can receive a generous tax credit for doing the right thing.
The US Federal Government is paying doctors and physicians money to market their businesses towards people with disabilities and physical limitations.(??) NOT SURE I UNDERSTAND THIS SENTENCE.
The Disabled Access Credit allows small businesses to qualify for a tax credit by making their websites ADA compliant.
How Much Could I Earn?
Depending on how much it costs to make these changes, you could get back up to $5,000 in tax credits.
It’s also important to explain this is not tax deductible. It’s tax credit.
What’s The Difference?
Tax deductions work to lower your taxable income, also lowering your tax liability. A tax credit is basically free money. Well, essentially. Simply calculate your taxes, deduct the cost for your new website and pay off your taxes. Now when you file your taxes, add the Disabled Access Credit form to your paperwork. Now, you have $5,000 in your pocket. Easy, right?
The bottom line is that making these changes to your website is free and you can avoid potentially devastating law suits. And, more important, you’re helping those with disabilities access much needed services and products.
For the most effective results, we recommend getting your accountant involved. You want to make sure you are doing this process properly and effectively. While the process looks fairly straightforward on the surface, it may not be. Give yourself the best chance to not get sued and consult with an accountant.
I Can Get Sued, Why Should I Do It? Law firms are scouring the Internet, seeking companies that don’t appear to have ADA compliant websites. As with many law suits, it’s easier to settle and then make the changes. But businesses can avoid these “surprise” law suits and save money by making the changes now.
“As business owners, we must all take the high road and provide equal access to websites for those with disabilities.” Wise words from our CEO, Todd Paton, and it’s the moral high road many businesses fail to take. In a world of get-rich-quick schemes and predatory businesses looking to take advantage of their consumers, you can set yourself apart from the pack. (NOT SURE THIS FITS)
While websites aren’t specifically addressed in the ADA, the accommodations are similar to other issues the law addresses. Keep in mind that the Internet and websites really weren’t business tools when the ADA went into effect in 1990.
“The ADA was responsible for a wide range of accessibility improvements,” said Paton. “Several include ramps improving access at public spaces to those in wheelchairs and braille symbols on elevators. The same standards are being applied to websites which should be able to provide services to those with hearing, seeing, and physical limitations.”
One typical example of non-compliancy is when a brick-and-mortar retail store doesn’t provide a person with a visual impairment a seamless opportunity to purchase products on a website. They can’t see the product on the website. The same can be said for applying for jobs and ordering food through a website. The litmus test is that a person with a disability must have the same access to purchase as those without disabilities.
Paton also went on to say, “With a few tweaks to a website, businesses can avoid lawsuits and do what is best for those with disabilities.” From that standpoint, the choice is very simple. And, it can distinguish you from the competition.”
What Do I Need To Do To Make My Website More Accessible?
Firstly, let’s start with the text. Your website should have darker words and more contrast for the visually impaired. Creating darker outlines will also help. You should also give the user the ability to re-size the text. Users should have the flexibility to read your content any way they want. If a user feels comfortable on your site, they’re more likely to come back.
To fully optimize your site and make it more accessible, you’ll need a few features. Re-sizing the text is one thing. Nevertheless, the user should also be able to zoom in or magnify pages to make the content easier to read. In this same manner, websites should also be mobile-friendly.
Secondly, captioning. Closed captioning, descriptive audio captioning and voiceovers. Any feature that appropriately explains each frame, verbalizes the content and provides further description should be standard. If YouTube, Netflix and even DVDs have this feature, your website should too.
Your website should be functional with different types of software. Head-tracking software for cursors, JAWS (Job Access With Speech) software providing speech and braille, slow keys to adjust the sensitivity of the keyboard and diction commands. No matter their disability, your website should have features incorporated into the system which enables the user to feel comfortable.
Honestly, if your website does not have a majority of these features as standard, you are behind the curve.
How Do I Qualify?
The process is pretty simple. To qualify, businesses must generate an annual revenue of less than $1 million or employ less than 30 full-time employees.
While in business, there’s no such thing as “free” especially when talking about money, but here there’s no catch. The cost to update your website is rather minimal in the grand scheme of things but the impact is huge! Regardless of the money and potential lawsuits, you are changing the landscape of marketing, website development and reaching potential demographics often less catered to. Individuals with physical limitations and or disabilities are often overlooked. Set the record straight and create a website and content that’s easily accessible to all. It’s a small step that goes a long way.
Here are some helpful websites: