Website accessibility lawsuits are on the rise: Is your website ADA compliant?

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Photo Credit: Hanna

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been a part of US law from 1990. It was enshrined to ensure equality for individuals with disabilities.

In 2008, a significant amendment was made to the ADA, called Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

In 2018, however, the law made news for different reasons – the burgeoning number of lawsuits filed against American business entities, because of their websites being inaccessible in one way or the other, to people with disabilities.

The Surge in Website Accessibility Lawsuits Under ADA

Lawsuits related to website accessibility surged from 814 in 2017 to 2258 in 2018 (almost tripled).

The plaintiffs of these ADA lawsuits allege business websites for not being accessible to people with disabilities.

Sued businesses are from all kinds of industries – Ecommerce, hospitality, retail, online content streaming, food and beverages, education and more. They also differ in sizes, as small businesses even claim to be a target of what critics call “legal extortion”.

Big businesses are also under heavy fire. Among the renowned companies that have been sued already besides Domino’s are – Patagonia, the NBA, Ace Hardware, Reebok, Bed Bath and Beyond, Estee Lauder, and even Amazon.

It’s clear – Title III of the ADA is now being interpreted to extend the scope of compliance to websites and mobile apps.

These implications can no longer be ignored. Companies who offer online services, especially small business owners, must ask themselves if their business website is ADA compliant?

What Can Businesses Do To Comply With The WCAG 2.1 and ADA Regulations?

Now that you understand how important and urgent it is for your website to be ADA compliant, know that for that to happen, it needs to be ‘accessible’.

Web accessibility is about your website being designed (or redesigned) in a way that its content and functionalities are accessible to people with various types of disabilities.

The two guiding blocks for businesses trying to make their websites ADA compliant are:

For a businessperson, it’s almost impossible to conduct a website audit on technical criteria derived from the guidelines of WCAG and Section 508. Elaborate technical problems require elaborate technical solutions, such as an AI powered website accessibility compliance tool.

accessiBe is leading this niche with its automatic website accessibility tools and services, offering vulnerable businesses the solution they need. This AI powered tool can help organizations ensure their websites meet ADA compliance and keep the business safe from ADA lawsuits.

The solution is fully automated, which means it not only makes your existing website ADA compliant but also ensures that any subsequent content you publish is also automatically made ADA compliant.

Parting Thoughts

The writing is on the wall – If your business website is not ADA compliant, a back breaking and business shattering lawsuit could be on the way. Act well in time, make your website accessible.

Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist who helps brands increase their presence online. He currently covers articles related to startups, new technologies and marketing.

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