How to Budget for Costs of ADA Title II Web Accessibility Compliance

Creating a comprehensive budget for compliance with the new web accessibility rule under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is critical for ensuring that your digital assets meet the necessary standards without overextending your financial resources. This detailed guide will provide practical cost expectations and cost-effective planning and execution of your web accessibility project. Here’s how to allocate and save money effectively throughout this process.

Before you can set a budget, you must fully understand what is required under the updated regulation for Title II. My ADA Title II Web Accessibility Fact Sheet summary explains who must be compliant, the requirements, the exceptions, and the deadlines. If you haven’t already read the Fact Sheet summary guide, read this and then come back to budgeting.

Costs of Website Accessibility Services

Let’s now go over the real costs of manual accessibility services. Manual accessibility services – and not software or automated tools – are what it will take to make your website(s), mobile app(s), and digital content WCAG 2.1 AA conformant.

Audits and Remediation

The process starts with an audit, where accessibility issues are identified. Following the audit, remediation is undertaken to resolve these issues. Typically, a re-audit occurs to ensure all problems are fixed, and if not, secondary remediation may be required. Costs for these services can vary:

  • Web Audits and Remediation: Expect to pay from $2,500 to $6,500 for audits and between $3,500 and $8,500 for remediation.
  • Mobile App Accessibility: Similar pricing applies, with audits and remediation costs reflecting those of web services.
  • Additional Costs: User testing, which can range up to $1,500 per session, might be included in the initial price or could come as an additional expense.

Content Remediation

Content accessibility adjustments such as alt text for images, closed captions for videos, and audio descriptions have specific costs associated:

  • Alt Text: Approximately $3 per image.
  • Closed Captions: About $2 per minute.
  • Audio Descriptions: Typically $75 per minute.
  • PDF Accessibility: Ranges from $5 to $17 per page.

Variables Affecting Costs

Several factors influence the final cost of making your digital assets compliant:

  • State of Accessibility: More issues mean more extensive work, thereby increasing costs.
  • Scope of Project: The more content or URLs to be audited and remediated, the higher the costs due to increased labor.
  • Complexity of Assets: Dynamic elements like interactive forms or multimedia content can add to the complexity and cost.

Budgeting Approach

It’s essential to anticipate the higher end of potential costs to avoid budget overruns. Consider the following steps to create a realistic budget:

  • Comprehensive Inventory: Understand exactly which digital assets, like websites and mobile apps, need remediation.
  • Factor in All Services: Include costs for audits, remediation, user testing, and any ongoing compliance monitoring or updates.
  • Allow for Flexibility: The scope and complexity of your project may change, so your budget should be adaptable.

Save Money on Accessibility Projects

To reduce expenses without compromising on compliance quality, consider these tips:

  • Leverage Free Tools: There is no need to pay for scans, they’re free. Also, use the Project Platform on Google Sheets for free.
  • Avoid Automation: Stay away from any sales automated product sales pitch that doesn’t lead to WCAG 2.1 AA conformance, such as automated scans or widgets that claim to ensure compliance.
  • Educate Your Team: Train your team on WCAG 2.1 AA. This will can immediately lead to less accessibility service costs such as costs for closed captioning, image descriptions, and

Long-Term Planning

Your work towards ADA Title II compliance not only includes your 2 or 3 year compliance timeline, but continued compliance beyond your deadline. Below are strategies that will pay dividends over time.

Efficient Allocation of Resources

Properly allocating your resources can significantly reduce costs over time. Strategies include:

  • Internal Staff Training: Equip your team with the knowledge to maintain accessibility standards, reducing the reliance on external service providers.
  • Strategic Sourcing: For complex tasks that require specialized skills, consider sourcing these to experienced developers who can ensure high-quality work within a reasonable timeframe.

Continuous Improvement

Keep a close watch on how well your accessibility strategies are working and be ready to make changes based on feedback and regular checks. Staying proactive in this way helps ensure you meet compliance standards and avoid the expenses that come from penalties or having to redo work.

If you’re interested learning more about the spirit behind the DOJ’s requirements and exceptions, read the final rule published in the Federal Register. The rule is titled, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities.

In a Nutshell

Budgeting for Title II compliance comes down to knowing what you need and eliminating “solutions” that don’t help you in making your digital assets and content WCAG 2.1 AA conformant. As long as you find a reputable accessibility service provider and opt for manual accessibility services, you can easily become compliant with the new web accessibility rule ahead of the compliance deadline.

Budget conservatively and it’s likely your price quotes will come under budget. However, just don’t budget too low. If you try to beat the system, you may very well end up having to start over.