Traditionally, making physical accommodations for persons with a disability was the number one thing to come up in attorneys’ minds when ADA compliance is mentioned. However, with legal tech and the digital realm becoming a real prospect for professional law firms, that has changed. At the moment, ADA compliance applies to the very digital service tools law firms use to make the lives of their clients easier, for instance, websites and mobile applications.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law prohibiting people’s discrimination based on their disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design encompasses accessibility standards that state that information technology and electronic service tools must be accessible to persons with disabilities. In effect, this means that law firms have to eliminate all the access barriers preventing any person with a disability from accessing their services. Not only is this a requirement, it’s also good business. According to the CDC, there are over 12 million Americans with visual disabilities. Making your services available to this audience increases your potential customer audience substantially.
According to the 2010 ADA standards for accessible design, your law firm’s website is an online public location, and thus it is covered in this law. For you to guarantee easier access for persons with disabilities using your public platform, there are some technical requirements that need to be met. As an attorney, doing away with accessibility barriers on your website does not have to be cumbersome. Turn to research or, better yet, consult a professional web design agency for more information on how you can meet the ADA online requirements.
Many digital elements pose barriers to persons with disabilities trying to use your digital platform. Online attorneys will want to adopt the following technical changes on their website to ensure that it is not just well-designed but also accessible to persons with disabilities:
Sometimes, a person with a disability seeking to access your online platforms may not have the available assistive technology. Online attorneys offering free assistive technology make it easier for clients with disabilities to access your website conveniently. By embracing the technology, you market your law firm in the hugely untapped market of customers with disabilities.
Fine-tuning the brightness settings, text to image contrast ratio, and a color contrast ratio of your website. By so doing, you will be sure to give an optimal experience to the persons with disabilities seeking to access your site besides drawing their eyes to the right places quickly by placing captions appropriately on your site.
You need to make up for any challenges in the navigation or keyboard access for you not to exclude clients with disabilities. Ensure that even users with screen readers can easily navigate and use your website by making it more touch compliant or even adding audible software.
Descriptive hyperlinks are favorable for most users with disabilities because they allow for more straightforward navigation even by persons using screen readers. Well highlighted and distinguishable links also increase the ease of access by your website’s users.
If the text on your website is illegible for persons with a visual disability, consider altering the width, height, and size of the images and fonts to more suitable and user-friendly sizes. Options to enlarge text also should be incorporated to allow users to enlarge text.
Ensure that the labels and headings on your site are straightforward and consistent. Your website’s menu should also be consistent in the spot where various items are located, plus it is supposed to be well organized.
To sidestep the damaging legal implications resulting from not being ADA compliant and avoid penalties, ensure that your website is accessible for everybody.
By being compliant, attorneys positively showcase their services’ quality, attracting more website traffic and more customer numbers to their firms.
Potential clients with disabilities can easily navigate your website, thus increasing your target clients’ numbers. Also, for firms that practice in areas like personal injury, workers compensation, social security disability and veterans disability, this is a no brainer. You are already dealing with people who may have disabilities resulting from injuries or illness.
Market your attorney services online while following the ADA’s technical requirements for you to be fully accessible to all manner of clients. If you are not one to play chess with your law firm, you need to address your website’s ADA compliance. Failure to address this could pave the way for lawsuits, damage your brand’s reputation, or even create financial liabilities to your business.
If all this makes sense and you are ready to make the change, ONE400 stands ready to help? ONE400 is a nationally recognized, award winning legal product advisory, law marketing, and web development agency. Contact us today and explore how we can help your law firm maintain ADA compliance.