If you have a physical location, you know the importance of the ADA. The same rules that make it necessary for you and your contractor to work together to make sure that you have wheelchair ramps and accessible bathrooms require you to make sure that disabled people can use and access your website.
Under ADA compliance rules, your website needs to meet specific standards to be available to people with physical or mental disabilities. For example, all menu items need to have drop-down lists for people who cannot use keyboards, and all embedded videos need to have captions for the hearing-impaired.
However, when most businesses start their websites, they are not thinking about ADA compliance in the same way they might consider it when building a physical facility. This is not due to any active discrimination, but to the fact that when the ADA was put into place, the internet and websites didn’t exist in the way that they do today.
However, that doesn’t mean that people with disabilities shouldn’t be able to use websites that everyone else can. In the past ten years, the online world has become a vital and essential part of the real, everyday life of people everywhere. There are countless businesses and services that have become near-inaccessible by phone, or certain deals or appointments that must be made online. Leaving people with disabilities behind in our technological revolution is a clear violation of the ADA, and leaves businesses vulnerable to lawsuits.
Even without standards, you can still get sued
In recent years, people have been suing companies both big and small for not being ADA compliant. According to WFLA-TV, a local Tampa TV channel associated with NBC, people like Emily Fuller have been suing companies en masse for not being ADA compliant. Though they cannot sue for damages, they often sue for attorney fees and compliance. This means that a business, once sued in this way, must pay the attorney fees for the suit and update its website in accordance with ADA standards in a certain amount of time.
However, this can be pretty complicated. There simply aren’t any online standards written into the ADA at the moment, which makes it difficult for business owners to “fix” their websites. Not to mention the extra cost involved in re-writing coding to suit those vague standards.
Though there is no written law detailing the exact rules for online ADA compliance, courts have used the Web Content Accessibility Standards 2.0, written by w3.org as a general guideline to rule on online ADA compliance cases. This is not a government organization, and the rules are updated every once in a while. For example, 17 more regulations for people with mental impairment were added in 2017.
Make sure your contractor will update your website to meet WCAS 2.0 standards
You wouldn’t hire a contractor that ignored ADA compliance standards to build your brick-and-mortar location, so why would you hire a web designer who would put your business at risk? Here at GOA-TECH, we build and design our websites to meet the updated WCAS 2.0 standards and stay abreast of new changes to keep our clients up-to-date. Contact us to make sure you have an ADA compliant website today!