Websites Designed for All to Enjoy: ADA Guidelines Update

American with Disabilities Act (ADA) was implemented so all people have access to your business without restrictions. In 2018, a revised set of ADA guidelines addressed new technologies and websites. With 1 in 5 Americans disabled and many using some kind of special device, your website should be designed for compatibility and to make their visit enjoyable.

Beyoncé was in the news recently because she is facing a lawsuit from a visually impaired fan after they could not access some of the features on her website, including pictures. Blue Apron was also issued a complaint about accessibility issues. Even small companies can face a fine of $55,000 if your website isn’t ADA compliant. All people should be able to navigate your content and engage with everything.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the most universally accepted standards and are used by courts and followed by large businesses and government agencies.

ADA Guidelines

Here are our top seven points website owners need to know:

  • All text must be readable by a screen reader. Text should be able to be resized up to 200 percent and flow to fit on digital screens of all sizes.
  • Provide text for images and videos. You must include text attributes for all of your images so they will convert to braille, print, speech and symbols. This is the most common complaint and an easy fix. Just make sure alt tags are added to every image and you’re good. You could also have a text-only website option. The second most common complaint is not having closed captioning. All videos on your website must have closed captioning which you can set up in YouTube.
  • Allow media to be turned off. Any audio or visual media that plays automatically for over 3 seconds, should have a mechanism to turn it off without users muting their computer sound.
  • Seizure-causing content is prohibited. Flashing lights or content with lots of flashing imagery can trigger people with seizure disorders. Content should flash for no more than 3 times per second. Place a warning on content that has potential triggers. There should also be a button to turn off or pause animations, pop-ups, scrolling and blinking.
  • Be consistent with navigation tools. Websites should be perceivable and predictable with the same navigation tools throughout.
  • Help users with explanations and instructions. Whenever your website requires input from users, such as a contact form, you must provide detailed instructions to help someone complete the steps necessary. If someone makes an error, the message that comes up should tell the users in text and audio form what they need to change. For example, you can’t just have the “error” sign come up if someone types their password wrong. Saying “your username or password is incorrect” is acceptable.
  • Your website must be completely accessible by keyboard. Many people rely on the keyboard because they cannot operate a mouse.

Users should be able to use the keyboard to:

  1. Click on a link or button
  2. Select radio buttons or items in a drop-down menu
  3. Navigate the page
  4. Autocomplete text
  5. Close a dialog box
  6. Adjust a slider user interface (UI) element up or down
  7. Scroll the navigation/menu items/the page

We don’t like being alarmists, but we should let you know that in 2018 and so far in 2019, more lawsuits were filed about this than ever before. If you want to know how your website stacks up to the current ADA standards, let us take a look and fix the issues. Contact us today!

What’s New in Google + Vote for VIA

Vote VIA the Best of NWI Business

Once again, we are shamelessly asking for your vote. Northwest Indiana Business Magazine recognizes the Best of Business every year and we’d like to be included. Look for our categories on page 3: “Best ad agency/marketing firm,” “Best graphic/web design firm,” and on a few pages further, feel free to add us to the “Best woman-owned business” as well! Do it now as voting ends by Friday, January 18, 2019.

This year’s results will be published in the April-May 2019 issue of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine and online at NWIndianaBusiness.com on April 1, 2019.

Google reCAPTCHA Error

Have you seen some reCAPTCHA widgets displaying “ERROR: Invalid site key.” Why? Because on March 31, 2018, Google shut down reCAPTCHA v1 API. This broke reCAPTCHA on all websites globally.

Google Recaptcha Error

These reCAPTCHA widgets need to be updated to either version 2 or 3:

  1. reCAPTCHA v2 will be familiar to most and will require users to check a box or click on one or more of a selection of images to prove they aren’t bots. reCAPTCHA v2 also has an ‘invisible’ mode that will only require someone to perform this task if Google finds their behavior suspicious.
  2. The latest and greatest reCAPTCHA v3 is completely invisible and unobtrusive. However, Google does require a disclaimer stating that reCAPTCHA is at work on the site and a link to its privacy policy and terms of service.

Google Speed Update

Web page loading speeds not only greatly affect how long users remain engaged with your site but also have a direct impact on your Google search rankings. Recently Google updated their search algorithm to add mobile page speed as an important search ranking factor as well.

Google Maps Update Coming in 2019

Maps is one of the most popular and important services Google offers. It is also a crucial local SEO tool through Google My Business. Following is a short list of a few promised updates that will help improve user-friendliness and introduce new features that make it more intuitive and user-focused.

Google Assistant. This has already happened! Siri and Alexa have been enabled within Google Maps on both Android and iOS. You can ask it for directions home, or to nearby restaurants, or saved locations. You can also ask it to search for places along your route (like gas stations) or add a stop — all things that used to require some button pushing.

New “Explore” Tab. Newly redesigned, Explore will allow users to browse new and nearby locations. The update will help streamline and present more top options with reviews being taken into account more.

New “For You” Tab. This new section will act like a newsfeed, similar to a social media site, and present the user with recommended places to go and the ability to “follow” certain locations. Google Maps will also look into various local news articles about places you might want to go, which helps give results tailored for your preferences.

Google Lens Integration and Street View. With Google Lens, users will receive directions and shown various street views with signs and landmarks, which are linked to Maps and Street View. The AI technology is used to interact and guide the user to their destination and provide the best routes.

If you have questions about mobile optimization or SEO in general, let’s talk.

Give Your Brand a Voice: Promotional Products Work!

Promotional products are useful, palpable items that are imprinted with your company’s logo or message that are designed to increase brand awareness. A powerful marketing tool, promotional products allow your brand to connect with consumers by engaging their five senses. As one of the only forms of advertising that allows consumers to interact with a brand on a physical level, promotional products create a more memorable brand experience.

Do Promotional Products Work?

  • 88 percent of promotional product recipients remember the name of the advertiser on the products
  • 85 percent of the recipients do business with the advertiser on the product
  • 83 percent of recipients like receiving them

Besides the fact that promo items work, according to Sageworld.com, you should also know:

  1. The first known promotional products were commemorative buttons, and they trace back to 1789 when George Washington was elected president.
  2. Logoed mugs in particular are a more effective advertising than radio and television spots; 57 percent of people were able to recall the advertiser on a mug, versus 32 percent of radio and 28 percent of T.V.
  3. Eighty-nine percent of consumers can recall the advertiser of a promotional product they’d received in the last two years.
  4. The top five buyers of promotional products are clients in education, finance, not-for-profit, healthcare, and construction.
  5. Thirty-one percent of U.S. consumers own a promotional bag.
  6. Wearables are the top product category, followed by writing instruments, bags, calendars and drinkware.
  7. Seventy-seven percent of consumers say a promotional product’s usefulness is the number-one reason to keep it, with health and safety products, computer products and writing instruments ranked as the most useful.

Promotional products statistic

Benefits of Promotional Products

  • Greater Exposure
    Promo items are extremely mobile, which means they can reach audiences to which you’ve never marketed. To increase your business exposure, your main focus should be finding the right promotional products for the right audience.
    Examples: 16 oz. Metallic Stripe Mug, Touch Screen Gloves, North Face Fleece Jacket
  • Brand Recognition
    Be memorable and stay connected by creating a brand experience that lasts. Today’s consumers expect brands to reach them on a personal level. By handing out a promotional product, you’re helping them remember your company and driving customer loyalty.
    Examples: Tote Bags, 24 Can Rolling Cooler, Light Pen
  • Create a Buzz
    Just like business cards (except with greater results!), promotional products are a powerful way to attract attention to your brand. When distributing your promotional items, you are breaking the ice with potential customers and engaging them in conversation.
    Examples: 4 Port USB Wall Charger, Fitbit Ionic Watch, Noise Cancelling Headphones
Not sure where to start? Let VIA do the work for you! Contact Julie at VIA Marketing to get started.