As a business, when you think about the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) you probably think accessibility. For example, “Can a mobile impaired person enter my business and navigate the space?”
Some Questions You Might Not Have Considered
But the ADA covers all disabilities, not only disabilities that impede mobility. That means there are some key questions that you may not have considered. For instance, can your finance department effectively communicate with a hearing impaired individual? Is your website built so that it’s accessible to a blind or partially blind person?
Since all forms of disability are protected by the ADA, it’s important to be aware of how people are using your services – so that you can be sure that you’re in compliance.
The first and most obvious way to check that you are in compliance with the ADA is to ensure your place of business is physically accessible to everyone. If it isn’t, you must make changes, either by removing barriers or by making reasonable accommodations.
The less apparent issue surfaces in your finance department. How do you communicate with a hearing impaired customer? In a convenience store or gas station, this communication can take the form of a simple note. But when you are explaining the complex terms of a finance agreement, an interpreter should probably be used.
This can either be in the form of an in-person interpreter or by using technology: video remote interpreting (VRI) is a service that allows businesses to access an interpreter at another location.
When you are explaining the complex terms of a finance agreement, an interpreter should probably be used.
In 2018, new compliance guidelines from the Department of Justice concerning online accessibility for the visually disabled will go into effect as part of the ADA. If you have a website that sells or promotes financial products this should be on your radar. A good question is: “How do I make a website accessible to the visually impaired?” We found some compliance tips here:
- Text Alternatives – Provide alternatives for non-text content (e.g., images) so that it can be accessed by impaired individuals.
- Time-Based Media – Provide an alternative (e.g., transcript) for time-based media (e.g., audio/video) that presents equivalent information, or link to textual information with comparable information for non-prerecorded media).
- Adaptable – Create content that can be presented in different ways without losing information or structure.
- Distinguishable – Make it easy for users to see and hear content, including separating foreground and background, by using readable fonts, larger font sizes, and highlighted link styling for example.
- Keyboard Accessible – Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
- Timing – Provide enough time for users to read and use content.
- Seizures – Do not include design elements that are known to cause seizures (e.g., rapid flashing).
- Navigable – Provide multiple ways to allow users to navigate content including obvious/prominent links and other techniques.
- Readable – Make text content readable and understandable via styling and other techniques.
- Predictable – Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways
- Input Assistance – Assist users with web experience, correct mistakes and describe errors in text.
- Compatible – Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
“How do I make a website accessible to the visually impaired?”
If you have a website that sells or promotes financial products this should be on your radar.
The grey areas of ADA regulations are the sections that say changes must be “readily achievable, which means easily accomplish-able without much difficulty or expense”.
This means that if you are a small company and it would be detrimental to your business, then you don’t have to implement these changes. However, it would be wise to attempt to make reasonable accommodations to avoid being sued.