How to Comply with GDPR & ADA Website Standards
GDPR and ADA have been popular buzzwords in the business community over the past couple of years. But while often talked about together, they really deal with two separate compliance issues with your website. However, both are equally important in terms of protecting your business against lability. So, let’s look at what GDPR and ADA are and how to ensure your website is GDPR and ADA compliant.
What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal regulation for personal data that applies to any organization that stores the data of EU citizens. GDPR provides individuals with more control over how their data is used and processed.
GDPR went into effect in 2018, leaving even US businesses scrambling to bring their websites into compliance. You’ve probably noticed the upswing in cookie notifications when you visit a website for the first time. That’s GDPR compliance in action.
Even if you don’t think you’ll ever collect data on a European citizen, there are no guarantees. You’re better off bringing your website into compliance even as a “just in case” measure. Another strong reason to address GDPR? It’s likely that US states will begin to follow suit in tightening up privacy controls in favor of users over business—in fact, California passed their own privacy act (CCPA), which went into effect January 1, 2020.
How to Make Your Website GDPR Compliant
GDPR compliance isn’t necessarily difficult to implement. If you’re familiar with your website’s content management system, you can likely implement some of these on your own, although the data tracking and notification elements may require an experienced web development agency.
- All privacy policies must be written clearly and be easy to find on your website
- You must gain a user’s consent before collecting any of their data (those are the cookie popups you see)
- Consent forms that invite users to subscribe to newsletters or emails must be left blank; the user must be able to opt-in for a subscription and not have to click a box or button to unsubscribe
- You must have a separate consent box asking if users want to receive other forms of communication from you, such as telephone calls or standard mail
- Websites must ask permission to give any personal details to a third party
- Users must have the ability to opt-out or unsubscribe from any program
- Your website must have procedures for detecting and reporting any personal data breaches
- If you have an e-commerce website, you must remove all users’ personal information after a reasonable set period of time
What Is ADA?
ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. In recent years, advocacy groups have made a push to make the web more accessible for people with disabilities, encouraging businesses to adopt a series of measures on their websites that make it easier for those with a variety of disabilities to use and navigate.
How to Make Your Website ADA-Compliant
Much like office spaces and parking lots must be ADA-compliant, websites should incorporate several best practices to ensure ADA compliance. Some are more straightforward than others, but as several of the requirements speak to design and UX choices. We’ve outlined generally the areas you need to look at shoring up:
- Confirm that it is fully navigable using only a keyboard
- Make sure every image has a title and alt text
- If your site uses video with audio, be sure that each video has closed captions
- All colors for important features (such as buttons) need to be high-contrast so users can figure out their purpose
- Form error messages should explain what the error is
In reality, the things that need updating are a lot more technical in nature as this article explains, so it’ll be well worth the time and resources to get a website design and development partner involved.
Why You Need to Be ADA and GDPR Compliant Now
Putting these regulations at the bottom of your priority list could leave your business open to costly lawsuits and fines. Ask your website team or agency to address these elements ASAP. And if you’re working on a new website, be sure to budget for and ask your website firm to include these compliance features as part of the design and build.