Accessible Websites For Dental Practices
Website Accessibility & Compliancy For Dentists
Dentists and other medical professionals who fail to make their internet sites accessible with regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act (AwDA) are running a significant legal risk. Likewise with regard to HIPPA, there are many dentists who are still not compliant with regard to email communications or the use of SSL to encrypt their web sites.
The American Dental Association has offered this advice to dentists with regard to website accessibility.
This year, there have been numerous law suits filed against dentists; suits where a plaintiff with poor eyesight or physical disability has claimed injuries for not being able to use a practice’s website. The choice for the dentist is to settle out of court at considerable expense or contest the suit requiring judgement by a Federal court. The choice is unpalatable and can be avoided.
Making sure your website meets the standards of WCAG 2.0 level AA is the best way forward.
DentistCodes has worked on 4 rescue projects for dental practices in Dallas last month.
Apart from legal problem for dentists, there are 3 other points to consider.
Around 10% of the population has difficulty seeing or navigating websites. This because most websites have not been designed with ‘accessibility’ built in. That is a lot of potential patients who may decide to go elsewhere because they cannot use the website as intended.
Secondly, there is a close relationship between accessibility features within a site and how it performs on search engines. In other words, accessible websites tend to rank better. This is because accessibility makes the web developer focus on content, structure and clarity – the days of spinning graphics and low contrast text floating across images has gone.
Finally, there is a moral question. As medical professionals, are you comfortable knowing that your current site is excluding people with handicaps and disabilities? I am sure the answer to that question is a resounding NO.
WCAG 2.0 Level AA Websites
Making websites with accessibility is hard. It really isn’t easy to achieve 100% compliance with the standard of WCAG 2.0 level AA. It is still unfortunately a rare skill and one that web developers offering sites to dentists rarely offer. You can check the status of your current site using the WebAim service. If it fails with errors, alerts or problems of color contrast then you may like to contact DentistCodes.