Marketing scare tactics are often used to get people to buy something, and what makes them even more effective is when they have some truth woven into their message.
A current website sales tactic targets entities in the public sector, like school districts and municipalities, and promotes compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Their sale pitch hinges on the premise that ADA compliance is inevitable and gives the impression you are already late.
The fear is that ADA compliance may become unreasonably expensive, technically difficult, and a real pain!
The scary truth is that accessibility to online content presented by public entities is in the process of being treated like accessibility to buildings. See https://www.ada.gov/websites2.htm
Here’s some background. ADA Title II requires that the programs, services and activities of public entities be accessible to people with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing Title II and is also responsible for clarifying the rules surrounding accessible websites.
We believe that accessibility is important, and we predict that ADA compliance will become a mandate as time goes on. When this occurs, the requirements for handicapped accessible websites will be more strictly enforced.
The good news is this: An existing website, similar to an existing building, will be given more leeway in getting its accessibility up-to-date. One proposal granted municipalities two years in which to comply with the accessibility requirements.
More good news is that accessible design does not necessarily mean a lot of additional cost for the website owner. It’s possible that only small changes in color contrast or behind-the-scenes coding will be necessary to bring a website into compliance.
The third piece of good news is that the accessibility rules have not been formally adopted, so immediate compliance is unnecessary. Public entities have the opportunity to monitor the rule-making process of the USDOJ, watch for any new requirements and the exemptions that go with them, and note any deadlines set for ADA compliance.
A big challenge will be to find a website developer that you can get to know and trust. You will need someone to do the work with competence and timeliness, without a big price tag.
Packerland Websites is that developer. We have built websites for the local school district and for a number of municipalities. You can bet we’ll keep our eye on these compliance rulings and will be a trusted source for ADA compliance for your website, should the need arise.
In the meantime, don’t be swept away by the scare tactics of our competitors. It’s not worth it!