Is Your Website in Violation of the 2018 ADA Compliance Law?
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Penalty: Average lawsuit settlements are greater than $400,000 with a high conviction rate. 8-10 websites are in violation. Danger zone!

There is a revolution happening, and you are a more significant part of it than you realize. Disabled people have recently been suing companies for not having their website accessible to them, and they are winning. If you have a website, then you are more than likely not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance law. Unfortunately, most website developers don’t know how to program for accessibility, and even fewer companies even know they are vulnerable and a possible target for litigation.

ADA Compliance

You probably already know that the ADA exists to ensure people with disabilities have the same opportunities to use services as those without disabilities. Many people don’t realize that these regulations also include online communications (websites, apps, etc.) as well. These rules are especially enforced in the healthcare, banking, and government sector. All small businesses, regardless of size, must act under Title III of the ADA which prevents discrimination against customers with disabilities and requires them to provide accommodations that improve accessibility and participation for disabled customers. The number of lawsuits against businesses with websites that do not follow ADA compliance has more than doubled last year and is expected to grow exponentially this year. Make your site AA compliant on all items in WCAG 2.1 before it’s too late.

"Approximately 18 percent of American customers -- more than 57 million people -- have some form of disability, according to the U.S. Department of Justice."

Are You a Federal Institution? Act Now!

On January 18, 2018, the Department of Justice updated Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act to require all electronic information and communication technology (ICT) used or maintained by the federal government to be accessible to all users with disabilities. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. ‘794 d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to access available to others. This applies to suppliers as well, since government agencies must only procure ICT that is accessible. Read an overview of the updated law at https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/communications-and-it/about-the-ict-refresh/overview-of-the-final-rule.

How Many People Have a Disability?

Current estimates state that over 57 million Americans have a disability. This means that 18% of your potential customers may not be able to access and navigate your website. Let’s look at how these disabilities break down in real-world situations:

  • Lifting and grabbing: 19.9 million (8.2%). These impairments affect the ability to use a mouse or keyboard.
  • Cognitive, mental, or emotional impairment: 15.2 million (6.3%).
  • Vision impairment: 8.1 million (3.3%). These people typically use screen reading software, zoom the screen, or have a form of color blindness.
  • Hearing impairment: 7.6 million (3.1%). Without closed captioning, transcripts or captions these people have no way to get the message from your audio or video.

Learn more details about disability statistics by visiting the US Census Bureau website.

Piece of mind, better SEO value, and increase sales!

Did you know that the method used by search engines to scan your website is very similar to how disabled people read your website? By making your site easier to maneuver for disabled people you automatically make it easier for search engines to crawl your site and your SEO ranking will increase. You also make your site easier to navigate and allow more people to complete transactions. With an e-commerce website getting 10,000 visitors per month you may be able to capture an additional $1,700 per month or more just by making your website accessible to a wider audience.

Things to consider when building/updating your website for accessibility

  • It is essential to create a web accessibility plan as soon as possible. A key component in the Winn-Dixie lawsuit was the fact that no plan was in place to update their website. You are less likely to be sued if you have a plan and have a timeframe to implement it.
  • For companies that have compliant websites, please note that, if you are going to provide a link to another business there should be some effort to confirm the link is to an accessible website.
  • Businesses should ensure their prospective vendors or business partners are compliant.
  • Make provisions to protect yourself by securing contracts protecting your company against accessibility lawsuits.

What can I do to make sure my site is accessible?

‘corePHP’ offers a full site accessibility audit with a complete report to show you all aspects of your website that needs to be updated to become WCAG 2.1 compliant. You can trust our development team to update your site, or you can give the report to your development team to fix for you. We recommend educating everybody who adds content to your website to learn how to make sure anything new that they add is accessible. We also recommend running a quarterly audit to ensure any new content is also WCAG 2.1 compliant. We offer a monthly audit where we update any new material that has been added to provide consistent accessibility compliance.

Find out today if your website needs to be updated to be compliant with the new accessibility laws.
Get a Comprehensive Report

Common questions about website accessibility

Can I get sued if my website isn’t accessible to disabled people?

The short answer is yes. Depending on the type of industry you are servicing you may be in more danger than in others. Retail, medical, and banking are the hottest areas currently that are seeing a drastic increase in lawsuits filed. If you are running a federal website in any form, you are already running on borrowed time. Title III of the ADA prevents discrimination against customers with disabilities and requires businesses to provide accommodations that improve accessibility and participation for disabled customers. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act now makes it illegal to provide digital content used or maintained by the federal government which isn’t accessible to all users with disabilities.

Do I need to be compliant If I’m just supplying products to a store?

In the case against Winn-Dixie Stores in 2017, the Court ruled that they were required to update their website to be WCAG compliant and are required to have an accessibility audit every three months. The Court’s ruling suggests that even if a business hosts a compliant website, it may be held liable for noncompliance under Title III of the ADA if it links up to sites that are inaccessible.

Do apps need to be accessible for disabled people too?

Yes, your apps need to be accessible to people with disabilities. This is one of the sections of the WCAG. The audit that we conduct works on apps as well.

What is the minimum level I need to achieve to mitigate any lawsuits?

A successful accessibility test is assigned one of three levels of compliance (A, AA, AAA). You will need to be at least at level A but should strive for AA. Due to the strict guidelines for AAA compliance many sites are not able to achieve this level.

Does audio and video need to be compliant?

In 2016 Harvard and MIT had lawsuits filed against them for violating Title III of the ADA by failing to provide closed captioning for thousands of videos on their websites. If you supply video and/or audio to your audience then you must supply closed captioning or transcripts of your content.

What’s the most a company has paid in an accessibility lawsuit?

In January 2006 the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) filed a lawsuit against Target Corporation for not having an accessible e-commerce store. Disabled people were not able to shop and have the same opportunities as non-disabled people had on their website. Two years later Target lost the lawsuit and had to pay class damages of almost $10,000,000 ($6,000,000 to the class action suit and another $3,700,000 to attorneys). Read more about the Target lawsuit.

What can I do to make sure my site is accessible?

You should start with a website audit. Once that is complete, you will know whether or not your site is compliant. Odds are it won’t be. The report will give specific items that must change. A good web development shop can likely make these fixes. But be warned, just because they say they can, doesn’t mean they can. If the company who built your website isn’t familiar with these procedures, you should talk with us.

Educate yourself more on website accessibility

Find out today if your website needs to be updated to be compliant with the new accessibility laws.
Get a Comprehensive Report