Is Your Business's Website ADA Compliant?

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was originally created to protect people with disabilities from being discriminated against. It is a very broad law that covers a myriad of accessibility issues for people with disabilities. It is Title III of the Act which affects businesses that serve customers

Over 10,000 businesses were sued in 2020 for websites that were not ADA compliant!

Hopefully, yours was not one of them.

You may be thinking, how can someone sue a business for a website that is not ADA compliant. I thought the ADA only applied to actual physical places of business like a store or office building.

Well, I’ve got some bad news for you… According to the the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Robles v. Dominos Pizza, the ADA applies to business websites, even though the Federal government has never said it does, nor has it created any regulations to that effect. What is worse is the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal from the 9th Circuit judgment so it is law in the 9th Circuit and is being used by other courts as a basis for their judgments.

What is worse, is that the defendant (business) in such lawsuits may have to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees!

So What Makes A Business Website ADA Non-Compliant?

There are lots of parts of a typical business website that could result in a demand letter at best or a lawsuit at worst. Here is a list of just some of the issues that could put your website and thus your business at risk. (Remember, there are no Federal rules or regulations requiring a business website to be ADA Compliant even though there were over an estimated 100,000 demand letters sent to businesses in 2019 and the average settlement was $35,000.00!)
  • Having over 15 employees.
  • Your website cannot be navigated just by using a keyboard.
  • The website cannot be accessed by a website reader if a reader is not already on the website.
  • The cursor size cannot be adjusted.
  • The font on the website cannot be changed either to a different more easily read font or changed in size.
  • Links on the website cannot be highlighted.
  • The images, pictures and videos on the site do not have title tags/descriptions so they can be identified.
  • Videos do not have captions when played if there is talking audio.
  • The contrast of the website cannot be adjusted.
  • There is no website accessibility policy
This list is not exhaustive!

Have You Heard of WCAG?

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are probably the most important guidelines for website accessibility and the basis of most legislation on the issue around the world. WCAG was created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a self-appointed group of computer scientists who were originally concerned with website tools and standards for compatibility. Since the W3C’s founding in 1994, it has created accessibility standards starting in 1999. They were revised in 2008 and again in 2018. W3C is NOT a government organization nor an elected government body. However, their standards have been adopted by many governments of the world for disability compliance laws and are considered the “gold standard” for such regulations.

Even Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 has adopted the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards for every platform operated by the Federal government AND any organization that receives Federal funds so that those websites are accessible by those with disabilities.

In fact there have been some ADA website accessibility lawsuits where the court has ruled that for a website found NOT to be ADA compliant, it still needed to meet the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards even if the business did not receive federal government funding!

So What Can A Business Do To Get Compliant?

The first thing a business needs to do is have an audit done of its website to determine if the website is or is not compliant.

The business should hire a firm that can perform the website audit if the business itself is not familiar with the ADA/WCAG requirements and able to perform the audit.

Next, if the audit comes back with a report showing the business’s website is not compliant, then it needs to remedy the deficiencies promptly.

Let Us Help You!

We can audit your your site and if found to be at risk, provide you with solutions to get your website compliant. Click the ORANGE button below on this page to schedule a FREE video consultation to discuss your website.

We look forward to meeting you!