Why Managed IT Service Providers Must Have ADA Compliant Websites
Long Island organizations should think of their websites as their online brick and mortar store when it comes to ADA compliance. Similar to ramps and braille on signage in a physical location, there are requirements associated with making your company’s website accessible to users who are blind, deaf and otherwise disabled. LI Tech Advisors can provide a review of your company’s website to flag ADA compliance issues.
To fix these issues, you can have your in-house staff seek CPACC certifications for ADA-compliant development. Additionally, an accessibility statement lets users know that you are addressing any deficiencies that make your website difficult for disabled users to navigate.
What Is the Current Trend of Lawsuits for Non-ADA Compliant Websites?
UsableNet research conducted a review of 2,235 website lawsuits filed in 2019 and found the following:
- A new ADA Website lawsuit is filed every hour
- Two out of three top retailers and three out of five top restaurants received ADA lawsuit complaints
- 21% of new lawsuits are filed against companies previously sued for digital inaccessibility
How Can MSPs Protect Themselves from Lawsuits?
“As an MSP, it’s very important that you alert your clients that their site needs to be checked [for ADA accessibility]. You can even do the quick check yourself on one page and show them the errors that show up. Your response should be, ‘You need to address this. This is a thing,’” according to Anthony Buonaspina, CEO of LI Tech Advisors on Long Island.
Buonaspina advises MSPs to send an email and get a response in writing that your client is aware of the issues you raised and chose not to move forward with any changes.
Importance of the Accessibility Statement
With an accessibility statement, you can buy time to clean up or rebuild your site to meet ADA requirements.
The Web Accessibility Initiative has free tools to help web administrators create accessibility statements. Even if you’re still working on updating your website, it’s important to cover your organization and show intent to comply with ADA accessibility regulations.
Accessibility statements accomplish the following:
- Show users accessibility is a priority
- Educate users about the accessibility of your web content
- Demonstrate commitment to social responsibility
You should encourage your clients to include an accessibility statement on their website to decrease their liability. However, issues with the website have to be addressed as well.
What Can MSPs Do or Direct Clients to Do Regarding ADA Compliance?
MSPs should start with a review of their own websites for compliance. Buonaspina warns that automated tools are only about 40% accurate but provide a jumping-off point to discuss potential changes.
Here are some convenient tools that include automation to detect issues with ADA Accessibility:
- Reference the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines, which offer recommendations for making your website accessible.
- Conduct an audit with the WAVE Web Accessibility Tool. This tool from Google Chrome looks for missing alt tags, styles and other common issues.
- Give descriptive alt tags to images so screen readers and voiceovers include all the elements on your page.
- Review your headings, links and other elements to ensure that people who experience disabilities can clearly understand them. For example, black text on a white background is the easiest style for many non-visually impaired users to read.
Web developers and auditors can follow these and other WAI recommendations regarding content and coding.
Can MSPs Incorporate ADA Compliance into Their Business Model?
Ulistic’s Stuart Crawford gives this advice for MSPs hoping to incorporate ADA compliance as a standalone service or as a foot in the door to grow their business with new and existing clients.
“Story brand this to clients. The villain now is the lawyer who’s looking to sue companies, and your MSP guides clients to become heroes. The clients avoid getting sued by lawyers out there looking for [ADA compliance] violations you didn’t know about.”
After you have your foot in the door, you can refer clients to web development companies that can revise their websites. Then, you can tell them about your other service offerings, such as network administration, data management and other IT infrastructure services.
Why Should You Partner With LI Tech Advisors in Long Island?
LI Tech Advisors is a managed IT services provider in Long Island that provides support for ADA compliant websites and other IT services. Contact us for your network security, custom software and educational IT needs.