If your move website has barriers that prevent deaf, blind, or short-sighted people from accessing your family entertainment options, you need to redesign your website. It is easy to spot disability when a disabled person walks into your physical business, thus providing the necessary help. But when your customers are spread across the country accessing your business from a computer or mobile screen, you might never notice them – until a lawsuit hits your business.
In 2011, the National Association for the Deaf (NAD) sued Netflix in Massachusetts for not being accessible to the deaf. NAD argued that when a family with a deaf person wants to enjoy a movie in the “Watch Instantly” section, the deaf person misses out on the lack of closed captioning. At that time, the ADA had not included digital businesses in the Act, yet the judge ruled in favor of NAD. According to 3play Media, Judge Ponsor ordered Netflix to include video captioning in the online streaming library before 2014. Netflix also had to pay NAD a total of $755,000 for damage and legal fees.
1Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
All businesses that depend on the public for profit are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Title III of the ADA demands that your business needs to be accessible to those with disabilities – whether or not you have employees. For this reason, ADA litigations have been flying all over, costing large and small businesses thousands and millions in losses.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 61 million Americans are living with disabilities. This number includes people with cognitive disabilities, vision impairment, mobility problems, and hearing problems. One in four adults (about 20%) living with disabilities own a computer, desktop, or smartphone and access the internet. Additionally, almost all children play games regardless of disabilities – a population you need to consider for an arcade gaming website. To use the internet, people living with disabilities use various assistive technology on websites and applications. But for these assistive technologies to work, your website needs to allow these tools to read your family entertainment center content.
Website accessibility means designing your website to accommodate the needs of people living with disabilities. Your family entertainment center should not exclude people with disabilities from viewing and interacting with your content.
According to Developer Circles Lagos, these are the three modes of disabilities you should pay attention to:
- Permanent disability – for internet users with physical impairment like vision problems, hearing problems, or missing hands/fingers.
- Temporary disability – for internet users with conditions like autism, dyslexia, or mental illness, which affect their coordination or memory.
- Conditional/Situational disability – for internet users facing out-of-hand difficulties like a slow internet connection or a website that cannot be accessed with a phone or a loud environment where they cannot listen to the audio in your video.
According to Top Tal, another way to categorize disabilities is:
- Physical disabilities that interfere with a user’s motor coordination.
- Sensory disabilities that interfere with a user’s sensory reception like deafness, blindness, or autism.
- Intellectual disabilities like Down Syndrome.
- Mental Illness.
2Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1
Web accessibility stretches beyond human disabilities to technological or situational limitations. It accommodates people living in underdeveloped countries or rural areas who might not have the best technology facilities. For such reasons, we have the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
The WCAG outlines four guiding principles of accessibility, which ensure that your website is accessible to anyone. According to W3, these guiding principles are the success criteria you need to follow in your user interface design. They include:
- Perceivable Content. All users should manage to perceive (see or hear) the components of the user interface and the information presented. This means legible fonts, color balance, and considerations for the deaf and blind.
- Operable. All users should manage to navigate the user interface with no problems. Easy to follow design components even for a first-time internet user.
- Understandable. The operation of your site should not be beyond users’ understanding. Please keep it simple and easy to use, even for a user with Down Syndrome or autism.
- Robust. Users should manage to access your content with different devices despite technological advancement. This includes different screens, assistive technologies, and different browsers.
Conforming to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 means that your family entertainment center follows best website design practices and automatically complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
3Why Website Accessibility Is Important For Family Entertainment Centers
You already have a rough idea of why your family entertainment center needs to be accessible. But before we get into more details, let’s tackle the myths surrounding website accessibility.
Myth #1. Extra functionalities make your website ugly.
This might have been true a couple of years ago, but with the fast-pacing technology advancements, it is now possible to create appealing, classy, interactive, and accessible websites. Even so, some minuscule additions like alt text in images and anchor texts will not harm the look or feel of your site.
Myth #2. Web accessibility is not compulsory.
Web accessibility is compulsory. The ADA now recognizes digital businesses as part of the public businesses under Title III. Furthermore, access to information is considered a fundamental human right in all countries. Inaccessible websites will cost you millions in lawsuits and missed opportunities.
Myth #3. Web accessibility doesn’t matter.
It is almost impossible to determine the number of users that access your website using assistive technologies unless you look at global numbers from WebAIM surveys. So, you wouldn’t know for sure how many people and how much you’re losing when barring assistive technologies from your family entertainment center. Web accessibility matters to your audience with disabilities and incapacitations. They all want to access family entertainment options as much as the fortunate and abled.
Myth #4. Allowing assistive technology makes your site unsecure.
Assistive technologies like screen readers, VoiceOver, or JAWS do not pass or retrieve information from the server. They only interact with the browser to read the website content.
Myth #5. Web accessibility costs more than it benefits the site owner.
It might take extra time to include the extra functionalities for assistive technologies and responsiveness, but the extra investment pays off in the long run. Let’s get into the benefits of website accessibility.
The number of website accessibility lawsuits tripled between 2017 and 2018, and the numbers keep rising, especially in the entertainment industry. A classic example is the Access Now, Inc. lawsuit against Churchill Downs gaming website for violating Title III of the ADA. The gaming website had barred screen readers from reading its content, excluding blind people from their services.
In 2017, up to 800 web accessibility litigations in federal courts involved the hospitality and entertainment industry. This is partly because plaintiff firms have turned web accessibility into a money-making opportunity as they push for a sue-and-settle strategy with non-compliant websites. According to a Web Accessibility Lawsuit Report in 2019, ten firms were responsible for filing over 82% of ADA website accessibility lawsuits in federal courts.
5Responsive Design For Mobile Phone Users
The last thing a user wants is to find a shambled website or menu button that isn’t working when using their mobile phone to play a game or movie. Mobile responsiveness in web design is part of the WCAG accessibility requirements. With most of the population owning a mobile phone, website owners should expect heavy traffic from smartphone users.
According to Statista, more than 50% of the total web traffic comes from mobile phones since 2017. This is an understatement. Our statistics show that over 70% of family entertainment center traffic comes from smartphone users.
When catering for mobile-friendliness, you need to ensure that your website looks good on different screen sizes, all components work, and the pages load in less than 3 seconds. Impatient users will not give your website any more than 250miliseconds loading time.
6SEO For Better Page Ranking
In many ways, web accessibility overlaps with SEO. One is that the best accessibility practices align with SEO best practices. A page that is well optimized for SEO has alt text on images, header elements, descriptive anchor texts, video captions, and more. Such features also make a website accessible. This similarity in SEO and web accessibility comes from the fact that search engines are blind, deaf, and have limited abilities.
Not only does web accessibility lead to SEO best practices, but it also improves your website’s ranking on search results. Google’s ranking algorithm takes different factors into account when determining the top search results; website accessibility and SEO are factors.
7Improve User Satisfaction
Internet surfers with disabilities use assistive technologies like screen readers, voice recognition, trackballs, eye navigation, keyboard navigation, and more.
There’s nothing more satisfying than when a deaf man finds that the movies on your site have transcriptions. Or when a blind woman can easily navigate your gaming website using a screen reader and a keyboard.
When your website gives users the best experience, Google sees it. Google considers how long users spend on your site, how many times they come back, and the total traffic you receive. All these factors ultimately determine your family entertainment center’s ranking on search results.
According to Practical Ecommerce, approximately 15 million people with disabilities access the internet every day. These internet surfers are often ignored or gracefully forgotten by website owners and marketers with no disabilities. But this only means an opportunity for your business. When your family entertainment center is accessible to disabled people, you have 15 million more leads than your competitors. This interprets to more conversions and sales.
An accessible website means more than increased revenue and avoiding legal costs. It also means a considerate business. Imagine what this does to your brand. People do not see your site as yet another business; instead, they see a home where everyone is considered. It grows your brand authority automatically. Brand authority is worth every penny because the best and most effective form of marketing is word of mouth. And with a great brand, people will refer your site to friends and anyone looking for a family entertainment center. Like every other metric, Google can see your brand’s authority judging by user satisfaction. Reputable brands get the highest priority in search results.
10How To Ensure Website Accessibility?
1.Review Your Website With A Web Accessibility Testing Tool
Scan your family entertainment with a reputable website accessibility assessment tool, to identify accessibility issues. Our website accessibility scanner will show you what’s present and what’s missing to make your family entertainment center accessible. As part of the scan results, we also show you how to improve your entertainment website to make it accessible.
2. Be Proactive
Make sure that your website designers have expertise in website accessibility and the commonly used assistive technologies. Keep in mind that regulations are updated continuously, so stay up-to-date with the ADA and WCAG.
3. Resolve Accessibility Issues.
Resolve any accessibility issues on your websites and applications as soon as you discover them.
4. Insurance Coverage.
Some insurance providers offer protection for website accessibility claims. Ask your insurance provider or consult with an insurance broker to get proper coverage.