The American Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law guaranteeing that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else. In 2017, Winn Dixie in Florida lost a pivotal court case which established case law that websites must be accessible to people with disabilities. In April 2018, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released WCAG 2.1, which laid out guidelines for websites in order to improve accessibility.
How does this impact senior living communities?
Since the 2017 Winn Dixie case there have been a growing number of lawsuits claiming that certain websites do not meet the extensive accessibility requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. While these lawsuits can be very costly for businesses, it is not the only reason senior living communities should be considering their website’s accessibility.
WCAG Recommendations Can Improve User Experience for Seniors
According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, 87% of adults aged 50 to 64 are online. The study goes on to state that 82% of seniors are actively utilizing search engines and conducting research online. Many seniors have age-related impairments that can affect how they utilize the web and navigate through websites. Many of these impairments are similar to the needs of people with disabilities. These impairments can include:
- Vision- decreased vision capabilities can include reduced contrast sensitivity, color perception, and near-focus, making it difficult to read web pages, particularly those with small text.
- Hearing- as people age, they can experience difficulty hearing higher-pitched sounds and separating out sounds. This can make it difficult to hear podcasts or videos, especially when there is music in the background.
- Physical ability- seniors can experience reduced dexterity and fine motor control, making it difficult to use a mouse and click small targets.
- Cognitive ability- reduced cognitive ability can affect short-term memory, lead to difficulty concentrating, and being easily distracted. This can make it difficult to follow complex navigation and online tasks.
Why Does This Matter?
The ultimate goal of the ADA is to offer an online experience that is user-friendly and accessible to all. Since the accessibility needs of people with disabilities are often the same as the accessibility needs of elderly people, making your websites ADA compliant not only provides a better user experience for your target market, but can expand your audience and reach new people.
Make Your Senior Living Website More Accessible
In order to improve user experience for an aging audience and people with disabilities and protect your business from lawsuits, your website should first be evaluated for its accessibility. Unfortunately, making your website accessible is not as easy as adding a plugin or tool.
If you’re looking for assistance in this review and help making your website WCAG 2.1 accessible, our team of programmers is here to help. We’re passionate about making your senior living website accessible to all to the best of our abilities!