Note: This alert addresses potential litigation. AMERAVANT does not provide legal advice. If your company is sued you should engage legal counsel to assist you in resolving the matter.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that all individuals, regardless of their disabilities, have equal access to goods and services, including websites. Unfortunately, there has been a substantial increase in legal actions targeting businesses whose websites fail to meet ADA compliance standards. There have been over 16,000 lawsuits filed against companies alleging that their websites are not ADA-compliant. Plaintiff attorneys have a stable of plaintiffs they use to file these lawsuits and file them at an alarming rate. The goal is to extract a settlement payment from each company. These payments can be significant.
The following are some valuable insights and practical steps to help you safeguard your business and reduce the risk of potential lawsuits:
- Understand ADA Compliance: Familiarize yourself with ADA guidelines related to web accessibility. These standards provide valuable information on how to make your website more accessible to individuals with disabilities, including those using screen readers or other assistive technologies.
- Conduct an Accessibility Audit: Assess your website’s current level of accessibility by performing an accessibility audit. Several online tools and professional services can help identify potential issues and areas for improvement.
- Improve Website Navigation: Ensure that your website is easy to navigate, with clear headings, well-organized content, and intuitive menus. This will not only benefit users with disabilities but enhance the overall user experience.
- Alt Text for Images: Include descriptive alternative text (alt text) for all images on your website. This allows screen readers to convey the image’s content to visually impaired users.
- Caption and Transcribe Multimedia: Provide captions for videos and transcriptions for audio content to accommodate users who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Readable Text and Color Contrast: Use clear, legible fonts and ensure there is sufficient contrast between text and background colors. This improves readability for all users, including those with visual impairments.
- Keyboard Accessibility: Make sure all website functions can be operated using a keyboard, as some users may have difficulty using a mouse.
- Form Accessibility: Optimize online forms for screen readers and provide clear instructions to assist users in completing them.
- Regular Testing: Periodically test your website’s accessibility, especially after making updates or changes. This ensures ongoing compliance and a positive user experience.
- Provide Contact Information: Include contact details on your website for users to report accessibility issues or request assistance.
By taking proactive steps to make your website ADA compliant, you not only reduce the risk of potential legal actions but also demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity and a positive customer experience. Moreover, an accessible website can widen your customer base and improve your brand reputation.
If you’re unsure about how to proceed or need professional assistance, consider consulting with web accessibility experts who can guide you through the process.