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Protecting Everyone: Understanding Website Accessibility & Privacy Laws
June 22, 2020
Protecting Everyone: Understanding Website Accessibility & Privacy Laws

Understanding Website Accessibility & Privacy Laws

Table of Contents

  1. Why Privacy & Accessibility Matter Online
  2. Common Laws & Principles To Be Aware Of When Optimizing Your Site
  3. Learn Even More With Shaka Web Design Services

Have you ever considered your website as a public resource? The wild-west of the world wide web has often operated in a world of its own, mostly due to the ever-evolving nature of a publicly-run utility. However, as the internet grows ever bigger, it’s important that businesses take the steps necessary to ensure that their visitors can access and utilize every part of their website with ease.

If you have a website or run an online business, it is vital that you are up to date on the latest accessibility and privacy laws to avoid losing valuable customers. In fact, non-compliance with many privacy protections and accessibility may mean costly fines and redevelopment of your website.

Let’s take a closer look at website accessibility and privacy expectations, as well as some resources to help you take your next step in upgrading your web presence to serve everyone equally.

Why Privacy & Accessibility Matter Online

With the passage of the Americans With Disability Act in 1990, businesses and organizations were held accountable to ensuring that their physical facilities are safe and accessible to all individuals, regardless of their physical abilities. In recent years, the same expectations of the ADA for physical buildings has been increasingly expected of websites and other publicly-visited online locations.

In fact, there are over 60 million Americans that have self-reported having a disability that inhibits them from taking part in everyday life activities. To put this number in perspective, that’s nearly 25% of adults living in the United States of America. What is considered a disability? By most accounts, a disability that is covered under the ADA involves anything that inhibits or prevents:

  • Mobility
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Cognition
  • Independent Living
  • Self-Care

The same holds true when it comes to websites. If your online presence prevents individuals with the above issues from successfully navigating your website, you are not only losing out on valuable potential customers – but you may be in violation of law.

To combat this, most website development engines contain the ability to add ADA-friendly functionality to websites, including on-screen text reading, audio explanations of on-screen visual elements, and guided experiences that help individuals better navigate online shopping.

Similarly to the increase in ADA compliance laws for websites, there has been a rapid response around the globe to protect the privacy of users when they go online. As consumer data is mined by advertisers and malicious entities, online privacy laws have been passed requiring websites and internet providers to create protections for internet users.

You may have noticed the numerous pop-ups appearing across websites that notify you of your online data being collected. These consumer-focused privacy notifications have become increasingly necessary due to the passage of privacy laws such as COPPA and GDPR, which seek to protect online users while they browse. In order to stay legal, many websites are adding notification and legal print that informs visitors that their user data may be collected for tracking and insight purposes.

To avoid fines and penalties, it is important to update and optimize your web presence to meet the needs of accessibility and privacy laws. Understanding the specifics of each is helpful, but many resources exist to help users take care of common issues and update their websites to be more effective for all users.

Common Laws & Principles To Be Aware Of When Optimizing Your Site

In an effort to make your website and other online brand presence fully accessible to users, it is important to build an understanding of the most up to date and recently passed legislation. Here is a list of some of the laws and regulations you will want to be aware of as you begin to optimize and update your website for full compliance:

  •  W3.ORG Accessibility Principles – a great resource that will introduce you to the most common accessibility requirements and international standards, as well as updated information on additions.
  • Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – read the full article regarding implementation expectations of ADA-compliance when it comes to publicly-available resources such as websites and online sources.
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) – information from the FTC regarding the passage of COPPA, and the requirements that businesses and brands must follow to protect children’s privacy while online.
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) – effective January 1, 2020, the CCPA grants California consumers robust data privacy rights and control over their personal information, including right to know, right to delete and right to opt-out of the sale of personal information that businesses collect.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) – learn more about the landmark online privacy law passed in 2018 by the European Union, which has become a template that many countries around the world are utilizing to develop their own privacy standards and laws.

Learn Even More With Shaka Web Design Services

It can seem surprising – and even a bit overwhelming – to learn that there are so many expectations when it comes to building a website. However, missing important accessibility and privacy issues can lead to unnecessary conflict and loss of revenue for you and your business. In order to stay ahead of the latest changes in website law, partner with the experts at Shaka Web Design Services. A Shaka Web Design Services, we keep updated resources and content like the article above to ensure that your website is thriving in the online marketplace!

Contact Shaka Web Design Services today to learn more about this and other elements of digital marketing and design you need to master to become successful!

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