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Case Studies of Successful ADA Compliance Implementation

There are numerous advantages of web accessibility and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, including improved SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), dramatically expanded market reach, and a better overall user experience for everyone, regardless of ability.

It is time to see examples of ADA in action. Here are a few case studies of successful ADA compliance implementation. But first, we should clarify some of the ways to make a site ADA compliant.

How to Achieve ADA Compliance

ADA itself doesn’t specify how web content creators should make their web content accessible, so instead, it’s recommended to follow WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), which sets the international accessibility standards.

Specifically, the United States Department of Justice has often used WCAG 2.0 Level AA as a reference point for website accessibility. There are also updated versions of WCAG, namely WCAG 2.1 and WCAG 2.2, but they do not deprecate or supersede WCAG 2.0.

To achieve ADA and WCAG compliance, you should include the following elements in your web content:

  1. Captions - text added to pre-recorded and live video and audio content that offers a synchronized transcript of the spoken words and other relevant information (such as speaker name, non-verbal sounds, etc.) for people who are deaf and hard of hearing or people in loud or quiet environments, and others
  2. Transcript - text added to pre-recorded video and audio content that offers a non-synchronized transcript of the spoken words and other relevant information (such as speaker name, non-verbal sounds, etc.) for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, people in loud or quiet environments, and others
  3. Audio description - voiceover that is used to describe relevant information in pre-recorded video content for people who are blind or have visual impairments
  4. Alt text - text added to images, graphs, etc. to describe them to people who are blind, have visual impairments, or are using assistive technologies
  5. Media player accessibility - media player that can support all accessibility functions not only for users with disabilities, but for users who need more flexible options of using web content
  6. Keyboard accessibility - refers to creating web content that can be fully controlled and navigated by the use of the keyboard alone for people with motor disabilities and people who cannot use the mouse or prefer not to use the mouse
  7. Colour contrasts - creating sufficient colour contrast between on-screen text (such as captions) and the background so that it is clearly visible and legible to people with colour blindness and other vision impairments
  8. Website responsiveness - making sure that web content can be clearly seen and easily navigated on a variety of electronic devices of different sizes
  9. Content viewability and operation - making sure that web content can be clearly seen and easily navigated in either portrait or landscape orientation
  10. Adjustment functionality - making sure that text can be enlarged up to 200% without becoming difficult or impossible to read and/or navigate

To read more about these and other elements required to achieve ADA compliance, you can find more information on the official WCAG 2.0 overview page.

Successful ADA Compliance Implementation Examples

Now, let’s discuss some examples of companies that have successfully implemented ADA media compliance requirements and the positive impact that implementation had on their business operations.

Legal & General Group

Legal & General Group is a British multinational financial services and asset management company with products and services that include investment management, lifetime mortgages, pensions, annuities, and life assurance.

In 2005, Legal & General Group designed and built a new site that incorporated all relevant  accessibility standards, which passed testing and evaluation by users with disabilities before going live.

Among its subsequent results, search engine traffic increased by 25% within a day. Eventually, it grew to 50%, maintenance costs were reduced by 66%, and Legal & General Group saw a 100% return on their investment within a year. Noticeably improved site performance also had uniformly positive customer feedback, and inaccessibility complaints were eliminated entirely.


This British multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer is one of the largest retailers in the world measured by revenues.

In 2000 and 2001, they conducted extensive testing of their new interface by users with varied visual impairments, and their changes included stripping superfluous images from the site, adding clear description of all linked text, and adjusting the main site’s layout in a way that allowed for a more intuitive navigation.

Immediately, pre-Christmas orders in 2001 increased to 700,000 per week, with an average spend of £95. Annually, site sales revenue increased to £13 million, which was a mere fraction of the original £35,000 investment required to develop the newly accessible site.


In 2009, CNET, an American media website focusing on technology and global consumer electronics, launched an HTML version of their site, whose major component was the inclusion of transcripts.

After CNET started providing transcripts of their video and audio content, there was a 30% increase in traffic from Google and a significant increase in SEO referrals, according to Justin Eckhouse, a CNET video product manager at the time.

NPR Weekly Broadcast

This American Life is a weekly public radio program broadcast on more than five hundred NPR (National Public Radio) stations, heard by over 2 million weekly listeners in the U.S., and downloaded by another 2.3 million in podcast form.

In April of 2011, the program broadcasters committed to creating transcripts for their entire archive of recorded programs (which included 430 episodes at that point) in order to make content accessible to people with hearing disabilities, create a better user experience, and increase traffic.

The study conducted over the following year found that search traffic increased by 6.68%, unique visitors increased by 4.18%, at least one transcript was viewed by 7.23% of visitors, and inbound links attributable to the transcript pages increased by 3.89%


In a 2016 article in Fast Company online magazine, Eve Andersson, who at the time was a senior manager of accessibility at Google and is now a senior director of Google Products for All, stated that the company’s investment in accessibility is what gives it an innovation edge.

These innovations include: sufficient colour contrasts that serve people with not only low vision but also anyone in bright light glare situations, as well as auto-complete and voice control that have been originally implemented for people with disabilities but have become widely adopted as a great convenience by millions of users, regardless of ability.

Auto-captioning for people who are deaf or hard of hearing has also found broader applications for people who can’t hear the audio due to being in loud or quiet environments and those who have difficulty processing auditory information or process written information better. However, automatic captions on YouTube, for example, still have a long way to go to become entirely accurate and complete as per WCAG compliance requirements.

However, Google is not the only company that has discovered that accessibility drives innovation. Apple and Barclays Bank also demonstrated the benefits and positive impact of a company’s commitment to and investment in accessibility.

ADA compliance doesn’t only benefit people with disabilities, but all users by offering an improved customer experience. And that’s not all. According to the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), the authors of WCAG standards, there is a business case to be made for digital accessibility.

Numerous examples noted above have shown that implementing ADA compliance helps enhance the business brand, extend market reach, drive innovation, and minimize legal risk. As proven by the case studies, developing and implementing a long-term strategic commitment to accessibility can help your business reach new customers and help it grow in the years to come.

To help you with your accessibility strategy, you can use Subly to create transcripts, audio descriptions, highly accurate subtitles or captions to your video in over 30 languages and dialects, and improve colour contrasts that will boost the accessibility of your video files, all in a matter of minutes.

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