An increasing number of consumers with disabilities are filing — and winning — lawsuits against businesses whose websites are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A quick refresher: the ADA requires that public commodities be accessible to everyone, and the courts have ruled this applies to both business and not-for-profit websites.

Most of the cases settle privately and most websites are usually brought up to code. But seeing as how roughly 20% of the U.S. population has some form of disability – visual, auditory, speech, motor and/or cognitive – perhaps the real shocker here is that companies aren’t complying to begin with!

Nationwide, that’s 56 million people who may not have access to your recruitment efforts, and 56 million candidates who won’t see you as the socially responsible organization you are! Being ADA compliant not only attracts all kinds of candidates who want to want to work for that kind of organization, but for candidates with disabilities in particular, who will bring added value and unique perspectives to your team.

With some investment up front, becoming ADA compliant across your website and recruitment materials could yield great long-term returns (while saving you from costly lawsuits). And bonus: it’s the right thing to do!

But what are we talking about exactly? As an introduction, here are a few simple ways that website developers work to make new or existing sites compliant:

Don’t rely solely on audio or video for important content. Make sure to offer various ways for users to access the information contained in video or audio clips, e.g. captions, transcripts, and narrative descriptions.
Make sure important information is readable as text. Charts or other information should never be presented exclusively in a photo. Convert key pieces into text so it can be read by assistive technologies.
Don’t forget people who don’t use a mouse. Users should be able to ‘tab’ through the site with a keyboard. Webmasters can code it accordingly.
Use legible fonts and high-contrast colors for easy readability. Simple enough.
• Don’t convey important information through color alone. Make sure there are other cues so users with color blindness don’t miss out.
Make sure any forms can be used with assistive technologies. Ensure all fields can be filled out, and that alternatives are available for CAPTCHA filters.

Here’s a full list of ADA compliance standards, but the best way to ensure that you’re fully compliant – while maximizing your business opportunities and recruitment efforts in the process – is to work with an agency that’s on the forefront of developing strategies and websites capable of reaching everyone.

We’d love to show you how. Email us at conversations@jwt.com

Ryan Tavlin is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and Senior Copywriter whose passion for wordsmithery may only be rivaled by his senseless insistence that ‘wordsmithery’ become a word. When he’s not crafting copy and creative campaigns for JWT INSIDE’s many awesome clients, Ryan is camping, eating, and motorcycling his way around the globe.