State and local governments will often post documents on their websites using Portable Document Format (PDF). But PDF documents, or those in other image based formats, are often not accessible to blind people who use screen readers and people with low vision who use text enlargement programs or different color and font settings to read computer displays.
I own a medical practice in California with 5 employees. Since I have under 15 employees am I exempt from needing to have my website comply with the ADA? I know that my physical practice is exempt from ADA policies regarding employment (under 15) but I don’t know if that extends to websites. My website is not an important part of my practice and I don’t really want to sink any funds into it if I don’t need to.
The gray area is a matter of scale and purpose. If you have a small business which serves as specific market it's a good idea to make the site as user and disability friendly as possible. If, however, your market serves segments with a likeliness to have various handicaps or disabilities you should address that with an ADA Compliance review of the site. Also consider the scale and purpose of an organization. Publicly traded large businesses need to concern themselves more than a single location family owned retailer and if someone sues your flower shop because the text was too small or didn't have "image alt tags" causing them distress... That's pretty frivolous and would likely not stand.
Since March 15, 2012, ADA compliance with the 2010 Standards will be required for new construction and alterations. In the period between September 15, 2010 and March 15, 2012, covered entities may choose between the 1991 Standards ADA Compliance (without the elevator exemption for Title II facilities), the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (Title II facilities only), and the 2010 Standards ADA Compliance.
In an August 2016 case involving the University of California Berkeley, the DOJ ruled that the public university was in violation of ADA Title II (similar to Title III but it instead applies to government organizations) because their YouTube channel’s videos didn’t include captions for hearing impaired visitors. The DOJ found this to violate the ADA as deaf users did not have equal access to the online content.
Your website is often the first thing your customers see when they’re searching for a business or service on the web. As the face of your organization, your website needs to be attractive and functional, offering the latest features that users now expect. To plan and design a site that both reflects your company’s mission and values and appeals to customers takes a professional web designer. While free online services can help people set up websites, web designers can provide a unique solution made specifically to meet customers’ personal or business needs.
Before you even begin designing your website, you should consider how you will use it to your advantage upon completion. Some owners make an event out of the launch of their website to create some buzz about their brand. Others line up their best customers to give testimonials on their new site via copy or video content so they, and these customers, have something to say and share on social media.
In some circumstances, longer and more detailed text will be necessary to convey the same meaningful information that other visitors to the website can see. For example, a map showing the locations of neighborhood branches of a city library needs a tag with much more information in text format. In that instance, where the map conveys the locations of several facilities, add a “longdesc” tag that includes a text equivalent description of each location shown on the map – e.g., “City Center Library, 433 N. Main Street, located on North Main Street between 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue.”
"Candyce's company has done work for me for close to 5 years and has done a superb job with everything from business card design, to marketing materials like case studies, sales proposals, PDF brochures, as well as updating our Website. Her designs are always fresh and new so it is not the same recasting of old designs. Very reliable, also at times when we have to complete...
You will also see tons of ” free analysis” offers out there. The truth behind them is they don’t even offer the service themselves. With all the hype of ADA compliance and websites, there are tons of people trying to take advantage of businesses that don’t know any better. Here at GrowIT media, we have trained staff who have brought federal websites up to code and understand how to do it properly.
Jeremy I am an artist and designer. The business I would like to have a website for is painting pet portraits. I also paint them with their owners, kids, etc. The reservations I have about the (template choice) website plans is that none of the templates I have seen show what I do well enough. Is there a site where I can setup or design my own homepage image without using a prescribed template?

You are correct, ADA defines an “employer” as any person who is 1) engaged in an industry affecting commerce; 2) employes 15 or more full-time employees each work day; and 3) for at least 20 or more calendar weeks in the year. In the context of physical spaces, ADA would not apply to companies with fewer than 15 employees. However, courts don’t seem to have come to a consensus on what digital compliance really should look like. Because websites can be accessed anywhere in the country, small business owners might potentially face lawsuits in unfavorable jurisdictions. If you are a small business owner, I would recommend consulting with an accessibility lawyer and ask what they recommend.
Upon discovering issues faced by disabled government employees and the public, revisions to section 508 were made. The issues that were uncovered involved websites, documents, and software programs. As of January 2018, the updated 508 standards require all federal agencies and contractors to create web content accessible to all. The updated standards also include Website 508 compliance.
Additionally, in February 2018, Congress passed the ADA Education and Reform Act, a bill designed to make it harder for disabled Americans to sue businesses for discrimination. Republican lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill argue that the law will help curb “frivolous” lawsuits, while opponents have argued that this law will gut the ADA, essentially giving businesses little reason to follow the ADA guidelines at all.
In a society in which business is increasingly conducted online, excluding businesses that sell services through the Internet from the ADA would ‘run afoul of the purposes of the ADA’” in that it would prevent “‘individuals with disabilities [from] fully enjoy[ing] the goods, services, privileges, and advantages, available indiscriminately to other members of the general public.

!function(n,t){function r(e,n){return Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty.call(e,n)}function o(e){return void 0===e}if(n){var i={},s=n.TraceKit,u=[].slice,l="?";i.noConflict=function(){return n.TraceKit=s,i},i.wrap=function(e){function n(){try{return e.apply(this,arguments)}catch(e){throw i.report(e),e}}return n},i.report=function(){function e(e){l(),h.push(e)}function t(e){for(var n=h.length-1;n>=0;--n)h[n]===e&&h.splice(n,1)}function o(e,n){var t=null;if(!n||i.collectWindowErrors){for(var o in h)if(r(h,o))try{h[o].apply(null,[e].concat(u.call(arguments,2)))}catch(e){t=e}if(t)throw t}}function s(e,n,t,r,s){var u=null;if(y)i.computeStackTrace.augmentStackTraceWithInitialElement(y,n,t,e),a();else if(s)u=i.computeStackTrace(s),o(u,!0);else{var l={url:n,line:t,column:r};l.func=i.computeStackTrace.guessFunctionName(l.url,l.line),l.context=i.computeStackTrace.gatherContext(l.url,l.line),u={mode:"onerror",message:e,stack:[l]},o(u,!0)}return!!f&&f.apply(this,arguments)}function l(){!0!==p&&(f=n.onerror,n.onerror=s,p=!0)}function a(){var e=y,n=d;d=null,y=null,m=null,o.apply(null,[e,!1].concat(n))}function c(e){if(y){if(m===e)return;a()}var t=i.computeStackTrace(e);throw y=t,m=e,d=u.call(arguments,1),n.setTimeout(function(){m===e&&a()},t.incomplete?2e3:0),e}var f,p,h=[],d=null,m=null,y=null;return c.subscribe=e,c.unsubscribe=t,c}(),i.computeStackTrace=function(){function e(e){if(!i.remoteFetching)return"";try{var t=function(){try{return new n.XMLHttpRequest}catch(e){return new n.ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP")}},r=t();return r.open("GET",e,!1),r.send(""),r.responseText}catch(e){return""}}function t(t){if("string"!=typeof t)return[];if(!r(x,t)){var o="",i="";try{i=n.document.domain}catch(e){}var s=/(.*)\:\/\/([^:\/]+)([:\d]*)\/{0,1}([\s\S]*)/.exec(t);s&&s[2]===i&&(o=e(t)),x[t]=o?o.split("\n"):[]}return x[t]}function s(e,n){var r,i=/function ([^(]*)\(([^)]*)\)/,s=/['"]?([0-9A-Za-z$_]+)['"]?\s*[:=]\s*(function|eval|new Function)/,u="",a=10,c=t(e);if(!c.length)return l;for(var f=0;f0?s:null}function a(e){return e.replace(/[\-\[\]{}()*+?.,\\\^$|#]/g,"\\$&")}function c(e){return a(e).replace("<","(?:<|<)").replace(">","(?:>|>)").replace("&","(?:&|&)").replace('"','(?:"|")').replace(/\s+/g,"\\s+")}function f(e,n){for(var r,o,i=0,s=n.length;ir&&(o=s.exec(i[r]))?o.index:null}function h(e){if(!o(n&&n.document)){for(var t,r,i,s,u=[n.location.href],l=n.document.getElementsByTagName("script"),p=""+e,h=/^function(?:\s+([\w$]+))?\s*\(([\w\s,]*)\)\s*\{\s*(\S[\s\S]*\S)\s*\}\s*$/,d=/^function on([\w$]+)\s*\(event\)\s*\{\s*(\S[\s\S]*\S)\s*\}\s*$/,m=0;m]+)>|([^\)]+))\((.*)\))? in (.*):\s*$/i,i=n.split("\n"),l=[],a=0;a=0&&(g.line=v+j.substring(0,x).split("\n").length)}}}else if(i=p.exec(o[w])){var _=n.location.href.replace(/#.*$/,""),T=new RegExp(c(o[w+1])),E=f(T,[_]);g={url:_,func:"",args:[],line:E?E.line:i[1],column:null}}if(g){g.func||(g.func=s(g.url,g.line));var k=u(g.url,g.line),A=k?k[Math.floor(k.length/2)]:null;k&&A.replace(/^\s*/,"")===o[w+1].replace(/^\s*/,"")?g.context=k:g.context=[o[w+1]],h.push(g)}}return h.length?{mode:"multiline",name:e.name,message:o[0],stack:h}:null}function w(e,n,t,r){var o={url:n,line:t};if(o.url&&o.line){e.incomplete=!1,o.func||(o.func=s(o.url,o.line)),o.context||(o.context=u(o.url,o.line));var i=/ '([^']+)' /.exec(r);if(i&&(o.column=p(i[1],o.url,o.line)),e.stack.length>0&&e.stack[0].url===o.url){if(e.stack[0].line===o.line)return!1;if(!e.stack[0].line&&e.stack[0].func===o.func)return e.stack[0].line=o.line,e.stack[0].context=o.context,!1}return e.stack.unshift(o),e.partial=!0,!0}return e.incomplete=!0,!1}function g(e,n){for(var t,r,o,u=/function\s+([_$a-zA-Z\xA0-\uFFFF][_$a-zA-Z0-9\xA0-\uFFFF]*)?\s*\(/i,a=[],c={},f=!1,d=g.caller;d&&!f;d=d.caller)if(d!==v&&d!==i.report){if(r={url:null,func:l,args:[],line:null,column:null},d.name?r.func=d.name:(t=u.exec(d.toString()))&&(r.func=t[1]),"undefined"==typeof r.func)try{r.func=t.input.substring(0,t.input.indexOf("{"))}catch(e){}if(o=h(d)){r.url=o.url,r.line=o.line,r.func===l&&(r.func=s(r.url,r.line));var m=/ '([^']+)' /.exec(e.message||e.description);m&&(r.column=p(m[1],o.url,o.line))}c[""+d]?f=!0:c[""+d]=!0,a.push(r)}n&&a.splice(0,n);var y={mode:"callers",name:e.name,message:e.message,stack:a};return w(y,e.sourceURL||e.fileName,e.line||e.lineNumber,e.message||e.description),y}function v(e,n){var t=null;n=null==n?0:+n;try{if(t=m(e))return t}catch(e){if(j)throw e}try{if(t=d(e))return t}catch(e){if(j)throw e}try{if(t=y(e))return t}catch(e){if(j)throw e}try{if(t=g(e,n+1))return t}catch(e){if(j)throw e}return{mode:"failed"}}function b(e){e=1+(null==e?0:+e);try{throw new Error}catch(n){return v(n,e+1)}}var j=!1,x={};return v.augmentStackTraceWithInitialElement=w,v.guessFunctionName=s,v.gatherContext=u,v.ofCaller=b,v.getSource=t,v}(),i.extendToAsynchronousCallbacks=function(){var e=function(e){var t=n[e];n[e]=function(){var e=u.call(arguments),n=e[0];return"function"==typeof n&&(e[0]=i.wrap(n)),t.apply?t.apply(this,e):t(e[0],e[1])}};e("setTimeout"),e("setInterval")},i.remoteFetching||(i.remoteFetching=!0),i.collectWindowErrors||(i.collectWindowErrors=!0),(!i.linesOfContext||i.linesOfContext<1)&&(i.linesOfContext=11),void 0!==e&&e.exports&&n.module!==e?e.exports=i:"function"==typeof define&&define.amd?define("TraceKit",[],i):n.TraceKit=i}}("undefined"!=typeof window?window:global)},"./webpack-loaders/expose-loader/index.js?require!./shared/require-global.js":function(e,n,t){(function(n){e.exports=n.require=t("./shared/require-global.js")}).call(n,t("../../../lib/node_modules/webpack/buildin/global.js"))}});

Your site would need to have a text only option, with all functionality accessible through a keyboard for visitors with mobility issues. Once you make these and other changes to meet ADA guidelines, your site would need to be tested by a website development company familiar with ADA compliance issues to be sure that visitors who use assistive technology such as screen readers are able to access your web content fully.
I am passionate and dedicated designer tackling complex problems and finding creative solutions. I use language & content strategy to make design solutions that are intuitive, trusted, and easy to use. I put the users of my solution at the center of every decision I take. I have 5+ years of commercial projects experience at Ukrainian IT companies and 4 years at Upwork freelancer platform (projects with small budgets). Now I live in NYC area.
The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed almost 30 years ago in 1990. This act was originally put in motion pertaining solely to physical location. It requires establishments to provide people with disabilities easy access to various levels throughout the business. This act was set to achieve an equal experience to all people, handicapped or not. 
×