Lack of Accessibility on your Website can Lead to Lawsuit

Lack of Accessibility on your Website can Lead to Lawsuit

With the recent rise of lawsuits against businesses in regards to their website’s accessibility for disabled persons business owners need to stay vigilant and take action to accommodate for the disabled. Much like a business owner can face legal action for not being wheelchair accessible, website owners can be sued in the same way if their site does not translate to accessibility for people of all abilities.

While the legislation to protect disabled persons is not clear cut on issues for website accessibility as of yet, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to both help your customers, and to protect your business.  Discluding any person from having access to your site, being able to enjoy the site, and having all information available to them due to their abilities is classified as discrimination, on top of being bad for business.

What does ADA Compliance mean for your website?

ADA Compliance for your website means making your website accessible and usable to all people. Shockingly, the government has not yet distributed complete rules on site openness under the ADA. At this time, the standards that are being followed are set forth by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These standards were created by the Worldwide Web Consortium (WC3), which is endorsed by the ADA.

The most vital aspect to think of when creating or maintaining your website is whether or not all aspects are accessible. If you have many visual images, make you have alternative text that a screen reader can use to assist the blind. If your site relies on video with audio, provide a transcript or captions. Also keep in mind individuals with epilepsy or other diseases that trigger a seizure and do not create any content that is known to induce seizures for your website.

is your website ada compliant

What WCAG Standards do businesses need to follow?

The WCAG has set standards that all websites should follow for ADA compliance. While the list is extensive and not formally accepted in legal matters as there is currently no formal guideline to follow, using their standards for your website will greatly help in making your website more accessible. The guidelines are separated into four main categories. You can find the WCAG full list with explanations here.

  • Perceivable – The information on your website should be presented in a way any user can perceive.
    • Text Alternatives
    • Time-based Media
    • Adaptable
    • Distinguishable
  • Operable – The components of your user interface should be operable by any person.
    • Keyboard Accessible
    • Time Adjustable
    • Navigable
    • Input Modalities
  • Understandable – The information must be conveyed in a manner that is understandable.
    • Readable
    • Predictable
    • Input Assistance
  • Robust – The information must be adaptive and robust enough to be interpreted by assistive software.
    • Compatible

What can happen if your website is not ADA Compliant?

Within the last few years, websites have been under heavy scrutiny for not being ADA compliant, resulting in a 177% increase in lawsuits on business owners related to website accessibility issues. Going back nearly 20 years, Bank of America was the first company to be cited and then settle out of court for their website’s ADA compliance issues. Since that time, lawsuits against companies big and small have been on the rise, with 2,250 filed in 2018 alone.

To protect yourself from a future lawsuit we recommend having an ADA compliance audit done for your site. If you’re unsure whether yout website is ADA Compliant, contact Sayles Industries for assistance.

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