According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, companies need to adjust their buildings and websites to certain requirements. Those are aimed at making the internet, as well as the job market, more accessible to people with disabilities. As the federal regulations regarding ADA compliance change all the time, companies might find it challenging to keep up with all of the new guidelines. The importance of hiring an ADA consultant for your business is huge. Just in 2016, the number of ADA related lawsuits has jumped to over 24%. Fortunately, you can avoid being sued and start working with an ADA consultant, who will know how to make your website and office more accessible.
Here are the 6 qualities to look for in your ADA Consultant.
Understanding of Your Companies Needs
Your business is one of a kind, and so are your users and clients. You want your ADA consultant to fully understand the uniqueness of your company. The key to being fully satisfied with your accessibility consultant choice is to make sure that besides making your site ADA compliant, they’re also aware of the purpose of the brand and its values.
You might want to look for specialists whose business activity revolves only around your industry. For instance, if you’re a hotel owner and want to make sure your site is ADA compliant, you’ll want to find consultants who have some previous experience in that field, rather than someone working with the hospitality industry for the first time.
There are various ways to become an ADA consultant. Before hiring anyone, check their qualifications and expertise to improve your business. One of the ways to verify those is to make sure they belong to ADA organizations such as the International Association of Accessibility. It can ensure that the consultant is aware of new law changes and regulations.
Previous Experience and References
If your potential web accessibility consultant has good references and many projects related to your branch of business you might want to hire him. A portfolio filled with compelling projects and good references is one of the most important qualities to look for while hiring a web accessibility consultant. Why? It might be hard to clearly define the educational path of becoming an ADA specialist, so you shouldn’t focus on the name of the school where a potential employee went to, as it might have nothing to do with their present qualifications. This is why by judging the latest results you’ll be able to see if a candidate’s work ethic and style fits your company’s profile.
Appearance and Accessibility of their Website
In the era of the internet, it is quite self-explanatory that your website is your 24/7 business card available for everyone. Would you go to the dentist’s whose teeth are yellow and bad? Or one that doesn’t have teeth at all? Owning a website works in the same way. If you want someone to improve your website and they don’t have one of their own or the current one looks unprofessional, it can make that person’s career look suspicious and their services untrustworthy.
Extensive Knowledge of WCAG
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, also known as WCAG, are widely used to make the online world disability-friendly. You definitely want your consultant to be familiar with that document, including its latest updates. Those technical standards include more necessary web requirements than just adding alt-text to images, using certain colors and font sizes. As it is a complicated set of guidelines, make sure your accessibility consultant knows the WCAG inside and out.
Up to Date Solutions Adjusted to Latest Law Regulations
Just like in every branch of law, new legal updates appear quite often. A consultant’s work generally revolves around legal documentation based on virtual reality – that progresses and changes all the time, just like the internet does. If they are not fully aware of the latest law implementations, your company’s reputation and well-being can be put at risk.
The Bottom Line
Hiring an ADA Consultant is one of the best ways to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and make your website easy to use for everyone. But before adding a new member to the team, you might want to learn more about their experience and references. As we mentioned earlier, real projects and the effort that was put into their realization usually means much more than graduation papers and the name of the school or university they’ve graduated from. Also, check if your potential consultant belongs to any type of organization related to web accessibility.
Remember that the more your candidate knows about the legal regulations in terms of ADA requirements, the quicker they can come up with unique solutions suitable for both the law requirements and the unique needs of the company. This is the ultimate value they should bring to your team, so be diligent all throughout the hiring process.