Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Marine Marketing Podcast, where we cover marketing and website topics for the Marine industry. While you’re listening, subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any future episodes. And now, here’s your host, Harry Casimir.

Hello and welcome to the Boat Marketing Podcast. I’m Harry Casimir, your host, CEO and founder of Boat Marketing Pros. Today’s episode, we are going to do a deep dive and share with you why making your website ADA compliance is so important. So the first question is, what is ADA compliance? We’re going to go back a little bit and talk about the history. How did we get here? I’m going to state a few dates here that may not be super accurate, but close enough to where you get this sense of how did we come about to have website ADA compliance in the conversation. So in The architectural Barriers Act was passed by Congress that basically we move any barriers that prevent someone to access federal information. Meaning that when someone is physically unable to open a door, and if the door is too heavy, that makes it very difficult for that person to come in. So that was 1968. Fast forward two years later, 1970, the Urban Mass Transportation Act, which mandates wheelchair, lift, and all transit vehicles, which is basically all busses, trains, and so forth. Then where the initial act we have today that really set off the rest of how all of the ADA compliance come to place since 1973, when the Rehabilitation Act prohibited discriminations by federal agency when it comes to technology.

So meaning that just because someone cannot press a button and keypad because they don’t have the finger, you cannot discriminate against them for that. That same act, they enhanced it to fast forward to 1982 when the Telecommunications Act for this disabled past that make telephone services for the hearing impairments to be able to access the telephone. Again, all those are building up from the 1973 Act. In 1973, the Voting Accessibility Act for Older and Handicap People was passed. In 1988, the Fair Housing Act mandates that the protection of individuals with disability and accessibility requirements for multifamily units, all of that. Then come the 1990s. That’s where things really changed. In 1990, the American Disability Act, what we know today as ADA, was basically one of the biggest major revamp of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. That a complete re-event of it set into motion what we know today that really impacted almost everything. So how you open the door when you go to a restaurant, to basically how you listen to music, all of that really have a big impact on all those different services and products we looked at as standard today for many of us. So that happened in 1990 when that prohibit discrimination against individual with disabilities and any various areas, whether they’re for both employment and telecommunication.

So when they fast forward in 1990, Section 508, 508 was added to expand government accessibility requirement for all digital content. That really set off and really kick things to high gear when it comes to digital accessibility, when it comes to computer itself. In 1999, that’s when Cag 1.0 was introduced. Cag stands for Web Content Accessibility Guide, WCAG 1.0. It is set by the World W3 World Conservium, that’s actually set to create the standard on how webmasters, web designers, and web developers, how they should design a website that is in compliance with this standard so that people with disabilities could access this website. And you can fast forward to 2003, the The Department of Justice finally published a notice to promote how accessibility should work for all those different website that government provide money to. So what that really means in 2003, the Department of Justice says that if the US government, so take it as state, local, and federal government, if they spend money something, then the public should have full access to it regardless of the individual’s type of disability. Meaning that, especially, specifically for website. Every single municipality This county and state website, according to the Department of Justice, should need to be an ADA compliance.

Now, whether that’s the case, that’s a different story completely. And let’s fast forward to 2008, which is very interesting because this is when CAG 2.0 was offered, really giving you full detail and created a true criteria on how even the design, the description of each of the elements on the website, how they should be presented so that people with disability can access those website. And so that was 2008, building up from the 2003 Department of Justice Publish notice. Then in 2018, the Department of Justice, again, clarifies its stance on website with ADA compliance. Basically, really, what they add to this is making sure that people with mobile devices have the same access that someone with a desktop, computer, or laptop have when it comes to accessing the web. Now, between the 2017, 2008, a few updates on this is how many of this impact many businesses, and we’re going to go over that in a second. Fast forward to 2020, the Unlicer Accessibility Act was introduced to the House. As a representative, as we speak today, this law has not been enacted, and many of us actually, as an agency that specializes in ADA compliance website, we cannot wait to have this law officially passed.

That way, it can be very clear where the line is at. At the moment, as I mentioned in 2003, when the Department of Justice in 2018, when they published their notice, it’s clearly stated that federal, state, and local government website are required to have their website compliance. But it never really say business, but technically, within that fine point, it stated that if you provide a product good or service to the public, then you need to have your website ADA compliance. Meaning that, for example, if you are selling cookie online, that’s a good example, then your website should be ADA compliance according to the way Department of Justice see it. Whether you agree with that’s a different thing completely. In 2020, the US House representative tried to rectify actually recreate this, creating a whole new act that we call Online Accessibility Act. A little bit a revision of our 08 article within the ADA Compliance Act from 1990. But this one will focus exclusively on online presence, so website to mobile devices and everything. And this one is a little bit clearer. Hopefully, it gets passed through Congress, but time will tell. I’m not going to go into the detail what it means, and you can find that information online.

But what we do know, between 2017 to 2020, there were about 8,000 lawsuits filed in federal court for website that did not meet ADA compliance. And what that means is basically anybody can file a lawsuit against you if your website is not ADA compliance, technically. When are they going to win, that’s a different story completely because there are a lot of gray area here and how someone can actually win a lawsuit against you when it comes to ADA compliance for a website. But I’m not a lawyer. That’s my disclaimer here. I wanted to go through the history a little bit. I know that’s a lot to unpack, but understanding the context how we get here, it’s good sometimes to know how do I navigate through all that basically as a business owner, a director of marketing, however, whatever the position that you have at your company, how do you ensure that you are not in hot water with this? And what are some of the tools? What’s available? What can you do or what should you do or should be aware of? So this is what we’re here to talk about. So in this episode, we’re just going to explore the importance of why your website, accessibility, ADA compliance is so important.

And we’re I’m not going to talk about the difference between accessibility and actual compliancy. There are two different things, and it’s really misunderstood by many business owners that have a website that really want to stay out of legal trouble. And at the end, Sometimes I feel bad because many of them don’t understand the difference in that a recipe to get you in trouble. Sometimes if you don’t understand the difference between what you’re looking at and what you need. We We are going to talk about how different agency and how they approach this and how you as a business owner, marketing director, general manager, whatever the position you have in the company or possibly even from a legal aspect for your company, how you can make sure your website is in compliance. Let’s dive into ADA compliance for a website and its significance for your website in the marine industry. As I mentioned before, website accessibility is crucial because it’s not just that you have a website that’s good enough, but having opened it up for other individuals that are able to access your website is very important. One of the things you may notice, especially during COVID, a lot of people coop up inside their house.

Now, it’s really showcasing their disability because they don’t have a lot to do. Let’s say you physically couldn’t go anywhere, someone would have to go with you wherever you may wanted to go. It was never a problem because there was no COVID, and it’s not a big deal. But when COVID happened, then you couldn’t really go in a lot of places. So you stay in-house, so therefore, you need more accessibility to the web. And that really exacerbated the issue in terms of people that are not able to access certain website. This is why it’s so important and how it can impact your business in having your website ADA compliance, how it can create a positive impact for your user experience and create customer satisfaction and so forth. So the American Disability Act, ADA Compliance, especially Section 508 that deal with electronics, device, and online digital records, really break down into three key elements. You have the law itself, which is part of the ADA Compliance, the 508 section. Then you have the Department of Justice that’s basically provide notice and what should be considered compliancy and not on their guide. Then there is the W3 World Conservium that’s basically set those guidelines.

Based on the law, they look at the law and to some degree work in conjunction with the Department of Justice to create those guidelines to determine what make a website truly ADA compliant. With that guideline, a developer, a designer, or a business owner can look at this guideline and determine whether the website meets compliance. There are a lot of different tools out there which we’re going to talk about in a moment. Why do you need your website to be ADA compliant? The first thing is for a few reasons, But one of the obvious one is you open the door for more people to access your website, especially for some of the elderlies that may not be able to access your website. They might even have their own kids that have disability access your website. You basically open the door for more people to access your product and services. The second piece, a website actually that meet ADA compliance, oftentimes is a website that’s actually well-built. So there’s a lot of extra piece of software that usually get installed on website that are very unnecessary in my eye. But when you meet the DA compliance, you actually have to remove all those bloated software.

So that make your website really lean. Although, according to Google, there isn’t really a pro and con. Google is really in difference for a DA compliance. That’s what they said. If you look at how SEO impacted your ranking, and if your website If you meet ADA compliance, which means the website speed, the loading, the imagery, all that have to be accounted for ADA compliance, those are the things that you have to do for a CEO anyways, which is basically if you meet ADA compliance, you are half that way there. That’s part of some of the reason. Now, I want to address two things here. There’s a big difference between accessibility and compliancy. Accessibility is your ability to access the website with a website meet compliance by using existing tools that in the market right now to view a website. Let’s give an example. Let’s say someone has a physical disability that prevent them from typing on the keyboard, but they can use their eyes or they can use their brain to move the mouse throughout the website. There are software that make the person be able to click certain button on this website. Basically, even this website is not in compliance, but it’s able to manage that’s accessibility.

But when a website meet compliance, meaning that all those barrier that you have to install a software to get that person to access your website, you don’t need any of those software. In a sense, most of those widget at the bottom of those websites, when you visit them, they’re basically accessibility tools that make that website accessible to people with disability, but they are not in compliance. Websites that are in compliance, a website, you don’t even see the content, that little icon at the bottom in their website, because the website is built from the ground up. The code of that website is built to be in compliance. That’s the big difference between the two of them. Now you might ask, Harry, how do you go about getting your website to be in compliance? A couple of ways you can do that. The first thing you want to do is to do an audit of your website. There are free tools out there. There’s AX, there’s too many of them actually. The browsers are getting smarter, Chrome browser, so Firefox and Microsoft Edge. All of them are getting more smarter at helping you identify a website that is not accessible/consulting Compliance.

You can actually do an audit on your website. But for us, we look at four different components on your website to help determine compliancy and maintain compliancy. The first one is an audit. Audit is the process of actually run to the website. We use both tools, software to part of it automate, and then we have team members on our staff that actually knows how to to identify key element that are not in compliance. So that’s the first thing you do in audit. The second thing is remediation. Remediation is the process of going through the audit and make changes that the audit request or suggests to make on that website to make it compliance. The second thing is a re-audit of the website. Now, this is very critical because once you audit a website, you do the remediation, meaning is you make those updates, you have to come back, re-audit the website to ensure that most, if not all of them, there’s changes that you saw earlier that needed to be made or actually… And then there the monitoring and logging of changes and log. So this is crucial. Once your website meets ADA compliance, it is important to ensure you stay in compliancy.

A good example, your website could be meet compliance this morning. Let’s say you meet compliance at 90%, 95% this morning at 07:00 AM, and then someone logged in on your website that have access to it, make changes, and did not pay attention or did not follow the proper guideline to ensure that you maintain your compliancy, they can get your website out of compliancy within that nanosecond. Now, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get sued, but this is very important important to understand how that impact you stand in compliancy. Making sure that identify those are three key components that you have to be aware of and making sure that you do. Now, Coming back to how do you go about getting your website or making sure your website is in compliance. There are many tools out there, including Apps, that you can use to take a look at your web accessibility. Actually, within Google Chrome browser, when you’re on your website, you can actually go to the developer tools and click Accessibility. This is give you a good amount. I guess we were even talking about this a while back. We see Google Chrome give you a good 60% of good way of whether your website isn’t accessible or not.

And that can give you a sense of where you are. What are the things that you should be looking for as a business owner or a person in charge of your website to ensure that you stay out of legal trouble for compliancy? One is run an audit on your website, making sure all the content, all the information are in place. And then once you have that audit done, it’s going to give you a bunch of information. One, there are information that’s called blocks. There are information that’s called errors, warning, and alert. Four different types. Depending on what tools you use, some tools give you different naming for them. But for the most part, you want to take care of the blocks and errors right away. As soon as you see them, you want to change and update those right away because blocks are really what it means. It’s blocking people from accessing specific things on your website. Those blocks, oftentimes, is not just a barrier for people with disabilities. It’s actually a barrier for even normal people that come to your website that need to just browse your website. Compliancy Oftentimes, it’s not just for people with disabilities.

It’s actually a good thing for your business to ensure your website is clean and well-coded. That’s the beauty of having your website business compliance because the website is very clean, very light, very fast, and easy to navigate. That’s almost a guarantee your website will meet those if it is properly optimized for compliancy. I find it very convoluted and can be very overwhelming for a business that really want to run a business and you don’t have the time for this. This is one of those things that it’s best to consult with people that actually do this day in, day out to ensure that you meet compliancy and also get with someone that really truly understand this stuff and that can get you some ideas. So as we close up in this ADA Compliance episode for Marine Industry website, remember, the accessibility is not not just a legal obligation to avoid getting sued or demand letter from lawyers, but it’s also an opportunity to create exclusivity and welcoming online environment for your business. As I mentioned earlier, people with disabilities are oftentimes people that’s really taking care of all their loved one as well, that able to do certain things.

So by prioritizing your website accessibility and ensuring make sure you meet basic QDA compliance, giving other people good access to information, and enhance your user experience, and also demonstrate your commitment to exclusivity in the online space for your business and product. Thank you so much for joining me on this episode of Board Marketing Podcast. If you find this information valuable, make sure to subscribe to our podcast, wherever podcast available. We are syndicating to all those different places. And don’t forget to visit our website, bootmarketingpost. Com. And under our resources section, there are tons of valuable resources that you can get information from different blog posts, white papers, and even the webinar that we have as well, and more episode of our podcast, so you can listen to more of the content we have. If you have any questions and topics for a feature episode, feel free to email us, podcast@bootmarketingpost. Com. Until next time, my friend. Happy selling, and stay tuned for more exciting episode. Appreciate you.

Thanks. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Marine Marketing Podcast. If you have any questions, send them to media@boatmarketingpros. Com. For additional resources, visit boatmarketingpros. Com/resources.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *