Risking Major ADA Lawsuits with Your Non-Compliant Technology?
Is your website fully compliant with ADA requirements? Thousands of lawsuits are filed every year against companies whose site isn’t coded for screen-reading software.
The year 2018 was a banner year for many reasons: iconic retailer Sears declared bankruptcy, an American became a true British royal princess and NASA launched a mission to the sun. While all of these fascinating events occurred, there was something simmering in the business world that didn’t receive nearly as much press — but created a major impact on American businesses just the same. More than 10,000 lawsuits were launched against organizations of all sizes in 2018, claiming that their websites or other digital properties were not fulfilling the letter of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law that stated websites must be accessible for people of all abilities. The number of Title III lawsuits filed has more than tripled in the past several years, illustrating the importance of ensuring that your digital properties are fulfilling the letter of the law when it comes to compliance.
What Makes Your Website ADA Compliant?
Digital accessibility is a hot topic in today’s technology circles, especially since it can feel like a moving target at times. It didn’t take long after the Trump administration stopped drafting legislation for lawyers to begin seeking opportunities to bring businesses in line with the requirements. More than a billion people worldwide have disabilities, making it increasingly important to bring accessibility to the web. Businesses can follow a set of guidelines termed WCAG (Website Content Accessibility Guidelines), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) with the most recent release of guidelines in 2018 being WCAG 2.1. The three levels of potential compliance are A, AA and AAA, although websites that adhere to at least A or AA requirements are considered “accessible” for individuals with disabilities. Four design principles define successful compliance:
- Perceivable: All users who access a specific website must be able to perceive the information contained therein, including images with alternative text and videos that are fully captioned or transcribed.
- Operable: Each website, mobile app or other digital property should have the ability to be operated by an individual with disabilities. One example is having every action accessible through keyboard commands, and not just through the actions of a mouse or other pointing device.
- Understandable: All foreign language must be appropriately tagged and demarcated to allow screen readers to announce the information.
- Robust: Well-formed code and clean formatting are instrumental in providing the right information to screen readers and other adaptive technologies.
You can find more information about understanding the four basic principles of accessibility on the W3C website.
Why ADA Compliance is Vital for Your Digital Properties
While it is incredibly important to ensure that your website is fully accessible to all individuals, there is an additional reason to pursue accessibility features. The highly-structured approach to website design that is translated for screen readers also happens to be an exceptional way to add keywords and other text-rich enhancements to your site. When you add an image, video or graphic to your website, you have the option of adding metadata such as a brief description. ADA requirements take this a step further, requiring that each workflow and image have the same descriptive text added. This not only provides a more comprehensive “view” of your website for individuals with disabilities but it also greatly enhances the searchability of images, videos, workflow and infographics. Websites are a business’s front door for a wide range of activities such as job searches, sales and reservations. With millions of Americans suffering from disabilities that require adaptive technology, you are limiting your market if you do not offer the right access to this important user demographic.
Keeping your website and technology solutions up-to-date is extremely important, and the professionals at LI Tech Advisors are confident that they can help support your business. Organizations of all sizes and types are being held to these standards, and getting your website updated to meet the ADA compliance requirements will not happen overnight. We support businesses in Long Island as well as the cities and towns around Babylon, NY with Help Desk services, network configuration, website support, disaster recovery solutions and more that you need to be successful. Contact our professionals today at 631-203-6403 for more information, or you can always fill out our quick online form to schedule your free initial consultation.