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As of this July, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is twenty-five years old. In 1990, activists convinced lawmakers to make sweeping changes to the way society treated people with disabilities. Things the ADA made common include now-familiar things like curb cuts and wheelchair ramps, assets to Americans of all abilities. Let’s celebrate the achievements of the ADA by discussing ways you can ensure your business complies with the law. Remember, business who ignore the ADA may be at risk of many types of lawsuit. A person with a disability who gets injured on your land could sue your business.
Be Wheelchair Accessible
Under the ADA, buildings need to be accessible to people in wheelchairs. Wheelchair accessibility can take many forms.
- Door width. According to Karmen Healthcare, doors must be 32 inches wide. This ensures that people in wheelchairs can get in and out of your establishment freely. People don’t want to get stuck in your doorway. And you don’t want your doorway to get plugged up.
- Bathrooms should also be big enough to fit someone’s chair. You’ll need at least one stall per bathroom.
Have Accessible Parking
For someone with a disability, a long walk across a parking lot can be a trial, even a dangerous one. You don’t want someone getting hurt in your parking lot, do you? Parking lots are required to have at least one accessible spot for every twenty-five parking spots. Additionally, one out of every six spots needs to be van accessible.
Install Accessible Door Handles
Certain types of door handle are difficult, painful, or impossible to open for a person with a disability. Accessible handles are generally defined as handles which swing, not turn in a circle. The ADA has specific rules about how many accessible handles your establishment needs. At least sixty per cent of your entrances need accessible handles. Make sure your business is accessible to everyone. This will improve business, as well as ensure that nothing goes wrong on your property.
Don’t Forget Web Accessibility
Yes, your website should comply as well. Although a non-compliant website will not land you a personal injury lawsuit, it is still important that you keep aware of this requirement, since it will make sure everyone can access your content. To make your site accessible, your site will need to be able to be read by a screen reader. A screen reader is a piece of adaptive technology that allows a person who is blind to use the internet. The reader lists off every content item on a page and reads it to the user. To comply with the ADA, the most important thing is that your page’s images will need an html tag called <alt>, along with a description of the image. This tag allows the screen read to describe each image to the user. Speak with your webmaster to make sure your alt tags are accurate and up to date. As a bonus, search engines like google also use <alt> tags, so these tags will help make it easier for all people to find your website.