Why? Because as a small business owner, and pretty non-technical, I wondered how on earth I would ever comply with the list of requirements for becoming ADA compliant, which are interpreted here.
The dark warning from within that article was that:
Plaintiffs’ lawyers continue to file ADA and parallel state (California and New York) lawsuits as fast as they can in 2020….. Settlements on ADA website compliance typically range from $10,000 to $50,000.
Probably the most quoted lawsuit is this one, quoted regularly, but that I found on: Fortune
In January 2019, Beyoncé Knowles’ company, Parkwood Entertainment, became the defendant in a class-action lawsuit alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The suit, filed by a blind woman from New York, claimed that the company’s website, Beyonce.com, did not provide accommodation for people with significant vision impairments.
By the way – this isn't something new… you can read more about it on Wikipedia where you will see that it became law in 1990!
However, it's only really in the last 12 months or so that I've been made aware of it. And I was really dreading having to comply with it.
ADA is just one part of conforming to the internationally required Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Am I Unsympathetic To People With Disabilities?
Certainly not! Losing my sight would be the worst thing that could happen to me. Let me say that right away.
As a small business owner and compassionate human being I would wish to do everything within my means to help someone with any disability. But sadly the ‘within my means' proviso has to be my guiding principle.
I can't spend some of the sums quoted to comply with this act. Especially when I am 99.99% sure that I won't get a return on my investment. I mean, I don't actually SELL anything that costs $497 a year. For a while I just contemplated taking my site down altogether and ‘giving up'.
Of course, I would willingly accept that my ‘punishment' for not complying is reduced sales and a lower Google ranking. But I feel a little aggrieved and, frankly, scared that lawyers might descend on me with threatening letters. Which of course is what the unscrupulous lawyers and some product providers want.
The site I have seen most being recommended is Accessibe but even at an “Affordable $490/year” that's one helluva chunk out of a solopreneur's income.
Another site I'm aware of is userway.org where you can download a free checking widget – but having downloaded it, even obtaining the checking report costs thousands of dollars for a website with a decent number of pages. On top of that, you would THEN need to pay for the enhancements to be made.
Seeing these solutions, and some others, I was getting pretty despondent.
Becoming ADA Compliant – A Solution
So it was with great relief that I spotted a product that will enable me to address the solution at a price that should be within any small business's budget – ADA Comply (affiliate link).
The product was delivered immediately and at an affordable price, with a great tutorial video, which you'll see when you check out the page, as well as when you first login.
Operation is simplicity itself – you enter your website URL and it generates a snippet of code that you enter into the footer section of your site, and hey presto, you've done the basics. The ADA logo is visibly displayed and you can generate a policy statement too.
Is This 100% ADA Compliance?
I've just been on a webinar and the team at ADAComply categorically state that the software will not give you 100% compliance – for that you'll probably need to hire a web-designer and pay serious money, or invest serious time to do it yourself.
But for the sake of anyone with disabilities, I truly hope that it is an improvement.
I'll be self-interested enough to confess that I hope it's compliant enough that the lawyers scanning for businesses to attack will move onto another site to threaten. Perhaps even, should I be unlucky enough to be sued, I would have done enough to let the courts feel that as a small business I had at least made an effort!
An Example Site
Out of interest I popped over to Beyonce.com and, call me dim, but I couldn't see how it is compliant. Perhaps I missed the logo, expecting to to look like mine? Maybe someone will enlighten me.
So I tried this out on my own sites.
A report was generated for one of my own sites, before I added the suggested code. As I knew it would, the report showed that the site was non-compliant, but I don't have the time or knowledge to make the fixes myself, so I let AdaComply do it for me.
Now that I have applied the fix, you can view my site here. (It's also done on this site too.) Note the compliance logo at the top left hand corner and – for me – a useful option is making the cursor larger.
At the moment it appears rather slow to react, so give it a moment, but I'm hoping that's because my aeging machine is really struggling. Will get some feedback from friends!
So – I've used the product on my own sites, and it's – at the very worst – had a good stab at fixing the problem, so I am resting much easier. However I noted the caveat emptor on one site (selling their own solution) that there are no quick fix, instant solutions. Which I believe. I'm not one for expecting ‘magic' from a low priced solution.
What I Like About ADAComply
- The product was delivered instantly and probably ‘worked out of the box' for most people…. it did on ONE of my sites
- The reason two of my sites didn't work right away was because my theme was incompatible – but the ADAComply support team was helpful and came up with a fix very quickly
- The software is simple, and uncluttered with a nice clean interface
- As well as fixing my own sites, ADAComply comes with a superb business opportunity (as well as selling the product) for anyone competent with website development
- It doesn't just correct WordPress sites, although I have only tried on WordPress
Becoming ADA Compliant – An Opportunity?
Of course, here's where the tables are turned a little. Because an interesting option within the product is that:
- You can search out businesses that are NOT compliant,
- Generate a report showing in what ways they don't comply,
- Brand the report with your own contact details,
- Then contact website owners, showing them the report, and make your own offer of fixing their site.
Nice little business opportunity. Absolutely!
Why I Will Never Be Rich
While I very much like this product, what I disliked were claims that people have been charging thousands of dollars for applying these compatibility fixes, using this product that lets them make the change within minutes.
Yes – they'd say there were marketing costs and admin costs etc etc. But personally I feel that puts such marketers in the same league as the lawyers pursuing small website owners.
Will I Be Offering A ‘Becoming ADA Compliant' Service?
Oh absolutely – but I have no intention of charging immoral prices. I just want to bring peace of mind to small businesses who may have been as worried as I have been.
Before I set a price I need to do little research on a few more sites first – because while ADAComply worked flawlessly with one of my sites, achieving compatibility on the other two wasn't 100% as obvious as the tutorial suggested LOL. A support ticket cleared it up fairly quickly in MY case 🙂 And on tonight's webinar we were promised that more training will be available.
The other thing I wonder about is…. suppose Mr/Ms Developer has charged (say) $5,000 to apply this ‘few minutes' fix, and then the client is still sued for thousands because it turns out the fix wasn't 100%, Mr/Ms Client is going to be hopping mad and out for blood. There could be a whole new set of lawsuits against web developers!
So I will be offering the service as NOT fully guaranteed, but a good first stab. If clients want the full works and protection, they can take their report and be prepared to pay the full price to a website designer who CAN do the full job.
Becoming ADA Compliant Yourself
If you would like to:
- Improve your own site's ADA compliance
- and /or
- Offer the service to your own clients – at a price of your choosing
….click the following link to learn about becoming ADA Compliant (affiliate link).
It's probably cheaper than I will be charging to work on clients' sites – to account for the variations I expect to find – so buying the product yourself is a better option for you than asking me for a price.
I hope this solution will be helpful to anyone who has wondered about becoming ADA compliant.