In today’s world of rapid technological advancements, firms face higher expectations from consumers. It seems that this trend will continue throughout 2020. These increasing expectations, however, cannot be neglected since firms are at risk of losing business.
Firms can lose business and profit if they neglect the changes in consumer demands. In 2010, higher consumer protection standards led to the formation of a law by the Department of Justice that protects the rights of the disabled. It states that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities. To this day, the ADA website compliance law has been enforced on many businesses.
As a result, many firms have appeared in court and some have even had their businesses threatened with bankruptcy as a result. As ADA website compliance is still a recent development, many firms have inadvertently broken the law and faced serious consequences.
Some firms have broken the law by mistake and others have ignored it by assuming it does not apply to them. The basic reason behind this state of ignorance is that most businesses are not familiar with what ADA compliance enforces and have little to no guidelines for following the regulations associated with it.
ADA website compliance basically compels business owners to provide disabled Americans with equal online experience and privileges. For example, in the case of a blind person, the law would enforce website owners to provide users with an alternative interface for using the site. For blind people, this could consist of an auditory version of the site or certain web pages.
In order to further understand the problem, we must be aware of who is the most affected by the law. A recent 2016 survey stated that 80% of the lawsuits were filed in California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. This means that the location of business also impacts the probability of facing a lawsuit.
According to the New York Times, Over 10 art galleries have recently faced lawsuits from blind individuals claiming that their websites are not ADA compliant and accessible to the blind.
Some large firms that have faced lawsuits include Amazon, Fox News, Burger King, Nike, CVS Pharmacy, NBA (National Basketball Association) and many more.
According to Digital Authority, websites must be ADA compliant since it is a moral duty, the law requires it, and because it lowers the risk of loss of customers and federal support.
Some might disagree that making a website ADA compliant is important. But, if we have a closer look at all the relevant facts, it becomes clear why ADA compliance is, indeed, necessary. So, let’s dive a little bit deeper.
Abiding by moral principles, such as serving the disabled, as a business owner makes sense for many reasons. Many firms would prioritize cutting costs to doing the right thing, but this is a short-sighted and uninformed approach. While neglecting ADA compliance regulations might save money in the short term, it will prove counterproductive when a firm is hit with a lawsuit or negative PR.
Adopting moral business practices provides business owners peace of mind, strengthens customer trust, builds a strong brand, reduces anxiety, and heightens fulfillment. In short, these positive outcomes that come along with a moral approach can improve one’s life and business simultaneously.
Even if business owners ignore the fact that morality can increase revenue in the long term, they still can’t run from the law. Lawsuits can result in the loss of business, money, and time. Business owners that neglect the value of their own time, money and resources will not be effective leaders.
Doing the right thing is more often than not the more profitable way to do business. Forbes reports that firms that agree to abide by moral principles experience high levels of growth over time.
Strong trust and connection between firms and customers are crucial since both are interdependent on each other. In the United States, there are about 25 million people who are visually impaired. If such a large population is neglected, it could have a serious financial loss for business owners.
Moreover, the number of people either visually or hearing impaired represents 55 million people, which is over 17% of the US population. Bear in mind, this just represents the people suffering from these two impairments and doesn’t include other disabilities. Businesses that don’t make their website ADA compliant lose access to this massive market.
When considering any regulation it’s important not to forget the role of government more broadly. Have you ever wondered why we need a government to interfere in a free market economy when everything is resolved by producers and consumers themselves?
The government often called the “third party” in a free market economy is responsible for achieving equilibrium. Equilibrium in economics is basically a point that, when achieved, ensures that scarce resources are utilized efficiently. In simpler terms, the government helping to achieve equilibrium ensures a higher surplus and lower loss of goods resulting from externalities.
Abiding by appropriate regulations, while sometimes inconvenient for business owners, is necessary for the greater good of society and collective economic growth. Accommodating the disabled on the web will have a positive effect on society and can even contribute towards a potential economic development.
Accommodating the disabled is benefits the greater good. This is especially the case when considering the important role disabled individuals often play in society and how they consistently report a high quality of life despite challenges, as reported by the BBC.
Firms that do not comply with ADA regulations also face losing potential business opportunities that are associated with the government. They risk losing new business from conscious procurement departments across the States.
This has already been proven true many times, as lawsuits for companies who do not comply with ADA compliance have surged according to the Wall Street Journal.
Moreover, if a firm receives federal funding, assistance, or has contracts with the government, they risk losing access to these opportunities. For firms with substantial contracts with the government, this can translate to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars of lost revenue.
Business owners that do not make their website ADA compliant can often face a mad dash to completely remake their site. This is because it is not uncommon for courts to issue specific dates by which a site must be made compliant. It makes much more sense for businesses to take a preemptive approach and make their website ADA compliant before facing a lawsuit so that they can do so in a thoughtful, careful way.
In conclusion, it benefits firms to make their websites ADA compliant. Cutting costs is important for firms as it is vital for their proper functioning and prosperity. However, when firms face lawsuits, they lose more money, resources, brand equity and sometimes even their business in the long term.