Content Management Systems (CMS) are programs on which most websites run. This is special software that lets you edit pages and add content with very little technical knowledge. Using these programs comes at a price. While keeping the current version of a CMS like Wordpress or Joomla seems like the easier route, keeping outdated software comes with some risks.
We have all seen or used them, from the ramp to get into a building, to the handicap bathroom in the back of the store. As a business owner, you know things like these are required by law. What you may not realize is that your website should have similar accessible features.
You may be asking yourself, “is this government mandated?”, “Is this something I really need to be worried about?”, or “Are the people that walk through my door really going to care?”. I hope to try to answer these questions below.
Let me start off with a brief history of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush back in 1990. The “too long; didn’t read” (tl;dr) version is that the law eliminated unnecessary physical barriers to commercial and government buildings - think stairs and bathrooms. It also banned employment discrimination against the disabled. Fast forward to now, and as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. The law has had some unintended consequences in the form of lawsuits and excessive costs for business owners to meet the ADA guidelines.
City and town websites have very unique challenges. They must simultaneously serve a wide range of people with an even wider range of wants and needs. Unlike a retail or service business with a target audience, municipal government websites need to present information without overwhelming their citizens.
So what are signs of a great municipal government website?