In today’s digital age, a website is often the first point of contact between a business and its customers. It’s essential for businesses to ensure that their websites are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Failure to comply with accessibility standards can have significant consequences, including legal, financial, and reputational. In this post, we’ll explore why business websites should be in compliance with accessibility standards, and five examples of the consequences if they’re not.
What is website compliance?
Website compliance refers to the process of ensuring that a website meets certain standards and guidelines for accessibility, usability, and security. Compliance standards are put in place to ensure that websites are accessible to people with disabilities, including those who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, or have mobility impairments. Compliance standards also help ensure that websites are easy to use and navigate and that they are secure from cyber threats.
Why is website compliance important for businesses?
- Legal Consequences
One of the most significant consequences of not complying with website accessibility standards is legal action. Businesses that do not comply with accessibility standards may face lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of lawsuits filed against businesses for website accessibility violations. These lawsuits can be expensive, time-consuming, and damaging to a business’s reputation.
- Financial Consequences
In addition to legal action, businesses that do not comply with website accessibility standards may also face financial consequences. They may be required to pay damages, legal fees, and other costs associated with defending against a lawsuit. The cost of making a website compliant after the fact can also be expensive, as it may require a complete redesign or significant modifications to the existing website.
- Reputational Consequences
Non-compliance with website accessibility standards can also have reputational consequences for businesses. A business that is sued for website accessibility violations may face negative media attention and damage to its reputation. This can be especially damaging for small businesses that rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals and positive reviews.
- Loss of Customers
Another consequence of not complying with website accessibility standards is the loss of customers. People with disabilities are a significant market segment, and businesses that do not make their websites accessible to them may miss out on potential customers. In addition, people who are unable to use a website due to accessibility issues may be more likely to switch to a competitor’s website that is more accessible.
- Reduced Website Traffic
Finally, non-compliance with website accessibility standards can also result in reduced website traffic. Search engines like Google prioritize websites that are accessible, user-friendly, and secure. Websites that do not meet these standards may be penalized in search rankings, making it more difficult for potential customers to find them.
In conclusion, compliance with website accessibility standards is essential for businesses that want to avoid legal, financial, and reputational consequences. Failure to comply with accessibility standards can result in legal action, financial penalties, loss of customers, reduced website traffic, and damage to a business’s reputation. Ensuring that a website is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities, is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good for business. By making a website accessible, businesses can reach a wider audience, improve their search rankings, and build stronger relationships with their customers.