Much like buildings need accessibility for all, so does the web. People come from all walks of life and their lived experiences are going to be immensely different than what you may be used to. That is why it is crucial when running a business for the public that you accommodate your goods and services to meet the needs of everyone. Inclusivity is not a trend but a push for the betterment of society by improving equitable access for the disabled to the same resources and services as everyone else.
In order to make your self-storage website accessible to everyone, you must follow the guidelines outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA compliance is still a matter that is being debated in the legal sphere, as it is ever-evolving to accommodate more members of the population.
The ADA was passed in 1990, and it legislated that businesses, public transportation, public sector jobs, and government buildings be outfitted with accommodations for those with disabilities. At that time, the internet was just materializing, and no one had yet predicted how entangled the world would be in the wide web. Since then, the question of accessibility has been at the forefront of internet domains.
What Counts as ADA Compliance?
In relation to your website, compliance is considered anything that makes your site more accessible to the general public, including those with physical impairments that make browsing the web difficult. This includes scannable content, with the appropriate SEO characteristics, such as headers to make things like screen readers easily dictate what is on the screen. There will be a number of techniques you can utilize when building out your site to make your business more unrestricted.
The Jury – or Judge, rather – is Still Out
There has been a lot of back and forth in the courts about ADA compliance and whether or not online retailers have to abide by this law. The United States Department of Justice issued “Guidance on Web Accessibility and the ADA” in March 2022.
After a few years of battling in court, the United States Department of Justice reasoned that those with disabilities are cut off from essential services that have since been phased into the online arena. This guidance is aiming to bring inclusivity to all members of the population.
Self-storage is a unique business in that because of the physical nature of the company, ADA compliance is necessary for their websites as well as their facilities. This falls under Title III in “public accommodations.” As long as self-storage is a physical business, so should those physicalities accommodate the disabled.
What Happens If You Don’t Comply?
Not only are you risking getting your website flagged by Google, but you are also cutting off an entire segment of the population that has just as much purchasing power as everyone else. Though the legal implications are still being debated, it is a good business practice to follow suit in integrating ADA policies within your website. You are also opening your business up to fines and lawsuits. If people struggle to make purchases from your website, but they cannot due to the lack of provisions, then that is the profit you are leaving on the table.
Not everyone can be an expert in legal jargon that is common for storage facilities. If you are running a business on your own, all the paperwork, licensing, and compliance can get confusing. You have a business to operate and the last thing on your mind is how well your website complies with the confusing minefield of ADA. That is why the experts here at The Storage Group are here to carry you across enemy lines.
The Storage Group is a digital marketing and software solutions company that specializes in the self-storage industry. We know the ins and outs of storage facilities, the industry, and marketing your business to a larger audience. We build websites, and we can make your website both captivating and ADA-compliant.
Get started on building your site by contacting us today.