The Internet and its rules are constantly changing. The once “free for all” world of the web has now begun to implement a few regulations along with enforcement. Website accessibility is a hot topic right now, meaning cases are being tried in favor of individuals who can’t access a business’s website that isn’t ADA Compliant. If you’re reading this and have no idea what ADA Compliance is, let us break it down for you. By the way, we aren’t lawyers, and this isn’t legal advice.
What is ADA Compliance?
ADA is short for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It became law in 1990 and prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in regards to their use of the Internet. In layman’s terms: those both visually and hearing impaired individuals must be able to use your website. It affects all businesses that consider themselves a “public accommodation.” Generally speaking, it refers to retail, B2C, or any company that the public should be able to see, hear and use easily.
ADA related lawsuits have been more successful. In the past year, high profile cases include Winn-Dixie, Amazon, Rolex Watch, Burger King, Bed Bath & Beyond and more. Even Kylie Jenner was recently sued for not being ADA Compliant. But, don’t stress as your website most likely meets some of the guidelines, but others won’t take a web developer long to fix.
- Text must meet a minimum contrast ratio against the background.
- Your site must be fully navigable via keyboard only.
- Your site should be navigable with screen reader software.
- Your site must handle text scaling up to 200% without causing horizontal scrolling or content-breaking layout issues.
While several guidelines walk you through ADA Compliance, you may not get sued solely on these guidelines. Instead, they like to file complaints based on these three factors: Inherently inaccessible websites and apps, lack of accessibility in important website features and lack of basic accessibility features. This can include anything from not providing alt text on graphics, improper table markup, and more.
Yes, there are consequences if you don’t get your site up to standard. An ADA retaliation claim does not warrant punitive and compensatory damages; lawyers can pursue compensation for their client’s legal fees which can be hefty. In many cases, a settlement occurs, but if not, a full-length case can cost up to $25,00. Along with court fees, the court may issue an injunction for you to make your website compatible by a certain date. This may cause extra rush fees dictated by your web designer.
Listen, ADA Compliance laws may seem scary, but we’re here to help. Click here to get started on making your website up to date with ADA Compliance.