Website Accessibility Compliance and Lawsuit Avoidance
Detailed information and tips on Website Accessibility Compliance and Lawsuit Avoidance. Should you make your business website ADA compliant?
Most business people are familiar with the ADA (American Disability Act) and its rules that govern their workplace’s physical accommodations like restrooms, parking lots, and elevators. What many of you may not know is that there are ADA guidelines for websites as well. These rules are meant to make websites more usable for visually and physically impaired individuals. They are called WCAG which stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
ADA compliance for websites is a hot topic right now because of the number of lawsuits that are increasingly being filed. In a nutshell, lawyers (on behalf of disabled individuals) are filing “drive-by” or “click-by” by lawsuits against businesses who have websites that are difficult for the visually or physically disabled to use. This started in California, especially with hotels, restaurants and e-commerce sites a few years ago and has become more common across the country. It is especially relevant to small businesses in Colorado, recently making the news in Denver.
The challenge here is three-fold:
One thing is certainly true: every business should be aware of these challenges and have a plan. The real problem is that even if you make your website WCAG compliant, or mostly compliant, there is a lot of gray area.
TIP: To see where you stand and get recommendations to improve your website’s accessibility, take action now and try the free Accessibe audit, just enter your domain at the bottom of this page) Also, read more about the standards at w3.org
Whichever path you choose, know that a lawyer can threaten you at any time for any reason and it is expensive to fight. Some industries are at higher risk because they need to accommodate all people (hotels, restaurants, real estate, e-commerce for instance) or are just softer targets and more likely to settle. Ultimately, consulting with your legal counsel is highly recommended if you want to make the best decision for your business.
Trent Blizzard is the owner or Blizzard Press, a website company located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado that is dedicated to creating beautiful, easy to manage websites.
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