June 25, 2018
by Lori Shecter
Website accessibility under the ADA Act: What businesses should know
This article outlines Website accessibility under the ADA Act…what your business needs to know. **Please note: We are not attorneys, and we don’t give legal advice. Please consult with your counsel on all matters regarding the legal requirements for your organization’s requirements to provide an ADA accessible website or mobile APP.
Serial plaintiffs are suing businesses in alarming numbers alleging that websites and/or mobile applications are not accessible to persons with disabilities. In 2017 there were over 7,000 lawsuits against businesses of all sizes because their websites were not ADA compliant. While most of these suits did not result in court decisions; if they do, they can be costly in terms of time or money. Recent high profile lawsuits include settlements against:
- Winn Dixie (Florida)
- Blick Art Supplies (New York)
- Five Guys Pizza (New York)
The prevailing view is that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites and requires that they be accessible to the public on desktop computers as well as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other devices. However, some courts have ruled that websites must have a nexus to a physical place in order to be covered by the ADA.
Essentially, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 was released in 2008. It consisted of approximately for Principles, 12 Guidelines and 61 Success Criteria. CLICK HERE for a complete list of these guidelines. Over 95% of websites are NOT ADA compliant. Why? Because most organizations are unaware of the need to be compliant or have not been affected by legal actions taken against their organizations. Please CLICK HERE for a partial checklist of what you can do to become compliant or at least start the process.
It is a good thing for your business to become compliant for a few reasons:
- It’s just the right thing to do
- It can help you grow your business
- You will protect yourself against litigation (potentially- please check with your legal partner.)
- Every image, video file, audio file, plug-in, etc. has a text alternative
- If an image is also used as a link, make sure the alt attribute describes the graphic (if necessary) and identifies the link destination
- Decorative graphics with no other function have empty alt attributes (alt=””)
- Add captions to videos
- Add audio descriptions if necessary
- Create text transcript
- Add an additional link to the text transcript
- The page should provide alternative links to the Image Map
- The tags must contain an alt attribute
- Data tables have the column and row headers appropriately identified (for example, using the tag)
- Tables used strictly for layout purposes do NOT have header rows or columns
- Make sure the page does not contain repeatedly flashing images
- All Java applets, scripts and plug-ins (including Acrobat PDF files and PowerPoint files, etc.) and the content within them are accessible to assistive technologies, or else an alternative means of accessing equivalent content is provided
- Form controls are marked up so they can be identified and operated by assistive technology
- Ensure that all form fields are labeled in an accessible manner
- Ensure that special instructions for forms are available to assistive technology
- Websites need to be navigable with a keyboard, not a mouse
- Color contrast must be strong enough
We Are Immediate can help you determine the number of violations that you have and give you ideas for you and or your development team to fix the violations. Let us know if you would like us to help! Please be aware we are not attorneys and you do need to check with your legal team to understand in detail your ADA requirements.