Here’s a baffling, yet true statistic.
The number of ADA lawsuits filed in federal courts in 2018 is estimated at 2258, that’s almost triple as compared to the number in the previous year.
Witness the massive surge in this graph.
It all started when the Ninth Circuit reversed a federal judge’s decision of dismissing an ADA lawsuit against Dominos’.
This could well be the proverbial opening of the floodgates, as the signal from the judiciary is clear.
Websites are being considered ‘places of public accommodation’ as per Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). And, any website that’s not accessible to people with disabilities (for instance, partially or fully blind people), is liable to be sued!
The fines are mammoth – even the first offense could mean you may have to pay $75,000 in penalties.
Which Businesses Have Been Sued Because of Their Websites Not Being ADA Compliant?
The list of names will astound you.
Dominos, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Beyonce, Nike, Bed Bath and Beyond, CNN, Mitsubishi, Pandora, Dow Jones, City National Bank, Signature Bank, Nintendo of America – the list can go on and on.
And it’s not only big business. Local businesses are caught in the crosshairs of attorneys who are going on literal blitzkriegs of ADA web accessibility lawsuits.
A Brooklyn lawyer made news in 2018 for filing 411 lawsuits against businesses for their websites’ ADA non-compliance.
Avanti Hotel, Hooters Restaurant, Candyland – such local businesses made news because of being sued for ADA non-compliance.
And there’s literally no end. Small businesses from all kinds of industries (radiologists, country clubs. assisted living facilities, catering companies, educators, mom and pop stores) continue to face ADA lawsuits, because their websites are not compliant!
How Does A Business Deal With The Situation?
One thing’s certain, we’re witnessing a major change in the direction of ADA legislation. Several website accessibility lawsuits have been ‘settled’ already, and it’s clear indication that the number is going to surge.
If your business website is not ADA compliant, let’s face it, you could be served an unsavory surprise sooner than you anticipate.
The solution – make your website ADA compliant!
Indeed, it’s almost equally befuddling how easy it is for business owners to secure their websites from ADA lawsuits, by using accessiBe’s artificial intelligence powered website compliance solution.
accessiBe’s solution audits your website, identifies all elements that need upgrades to be ADA compliant and carries out all the changes for you. It even keeps on making new content compliant, delivering a robust and sustainable solution.
The Big Question – Is Your Website ADA Compliant?
Well, if you’ve never taken any deliberate steps to make the website accessible for people with disabilities, it’s almost certain that it’s not compliant.
The standards to website accessibility are piled up in a document created by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which is called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Here are the ADA compliance issues websites face and fix according to the WCAG:
Is It Possible to Navigate The Website Using Only A Keyboard?
This is one of the major rules for ADA compliance. A user should be able to use all key functions on your using just the keyboard.
However, because modern websites are highly dynamic, invariably there are elements that require a mouse for navigation. And this could be the reason of an ADA lawsuit.
Do All Images on Your Website Have An Alt Text?
People with visual disabilities use screen reading software, which can read out the alt text of an image to ‘tell’ users what information the page contains.
If your website already has dozens, hundreds, or thousands of images, you need the power of AI to rapidly make the visuals ADA compliant.
Are Your Website’s Contact Forms Accessible?
An accessible web form must possess these characteristics:
All fields must be clearly labeled
- Any wrong/improper entries must be reported to the user via clear error messages, along with instructions on resolving these errors.
- Users must be able to switch between fields, radio buttons etc. using the Tab key of their keyboard.
- The form must be designed such that a screen reader is able to tell a user coherently what they need to fill in.
Does Your Website Have Descriptive URLs?
Again, for a visually disabled person to understand what a link may contain, (s)he depends on the screen reader to read out the words in the link.
When you create properly worded URLs, this purpose is solved, and your website becomes ADA compliant on this aspect.
Is Your Website’s Design ADA Compliant?
Avoiding the use of all caps, using fonts higher than 14 points, using adequate white space, ensuring adequate contrast between the text and its background – all these are important aspects of ADA compliant website design.
For every business that owns a website, there may still be just enough time to quickly become ADA compliant. Not only does this save you from a potential lawsuit, but also gives out the brand message that you truly care for differently abled people.