Home Services WCAG 2.1 AA and ADA Compliance and Certification
Why Web Accessibility Matters for Home Services Websites
Businesses that offer some form of home service include a wide range of professions. Home inspectors, contractors, even household cleaning services fall under the “home services” umbrella. As business functions such as scheduling, payments, and support have moved online, the (legal) demand on such businesses to ensure their websites meet ADA and WCAG compliance standards has become an increasingly pressing factor.
Once just a concern for the largest of brands, website compliance standards, and the difficulty involved in adhering to them, has led to a rapid influx of lawsuits against home services businesses. Many business owners may not even know they are not meeting compliance standards, but this hardly deters predatory lawyers from seeking out non-compliant businesses to extract sizable settlements.
Being ADA and WCAG 2.1 AA compliant is not only a legal requirement but makes good business sense, considering that there are over 60 million Americans living with some form of disability. Aside from demonstrating a commitment to ensuring equal access, complying with WCAG standards on your website will go a long way toward discouraging frivolous lawsuits.
What Is Web Accessibility for Home Services?
While WCAG 2.1 standards were not specifically written for home services websites, Title 3 of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) states that “places of public accommodation,” including public websites, need to comply with the Act’s access guidelines. The WCAG 2.1 guidelines revolve around four core accessibility principles: perceivability, operability, understandability, and robustness. Some of these guidelines include:
- Color contrast
- Providing descriptive labels
- Alt text for links and images
- Making information in tables accessible and easy to read
- Navigation of your site via keyboard only
- Indicating the focus for the user on the screen (pointers and lines)
- Size of fonts
- Headings and labels
- Captions for video and audio content
Who Are Home Services Websites Helping by Becoming Compliant?
As a home services brand, you are not only helping your own brand by meeting website compliance standards, you are also opening access to underrepresented users who can benefit from your services. As of 2019, there are over 60 million Americans living with some form of disability. These are individuals who are in need of your services as much as any other customer. The WCAG 2.1 AA regulations help to ensure access for:
- The visually impaired
- Persons with physical disabilities
- Persons with auditory disabilities
- Persons with cognitive and learning disabilities
- Persons with epilepsy
- The elderly
How Does Your Home Services Website Become Compliant?
There are many paths to complying with WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standards; however, most of these are time-consuming, tedious, and costly. Running accessibility scans and leaning on your website programmer to fix these issues has been known to take up to a year for full remediation, depending on the size and complexity of the website.
When you are running a business that is dependent on your site’s functionality, like most home services brands, you can’t just shut everything down for a year while things get fixed. You need a hybrid programmatic solution. The approach we take at True Accessibility is to leverage AI (artificial intelligence) to find issues and apply automated fixes, while relying on ongoing monitoring and manual remediation to handle more complex compliance problems.
Choosing a Manual, Automated, or Hybrid Solution
Home Services Businesses and ADA Compliance Lawsuits
While cases involving large companies such as Domino’s may seem light years away your organization, the fact is that most of the Fortune 500 brands have already been targeted, meaning businesses outside this scope are starting to feel the pain. In fact, there were over 2,200 ADA compliance cases filed in 2018 alone—over a 170% increase from 2017. In some instances, more than a hundred cases were filed by “mass-filers.”
There are plenty of cases of lawsuits being filed against privately owned, boutique, and local SMBs that result in settlements ranging from a few thousand to over $20,000. This is in addition to the costs associated with addressing compliance issues. At the end of the day, you don’t need to be a “big brand” to be a target of a compliance lawsuit anymore.