Is Website Accessibility Something You Should Worry About?
Are you aware of the ADA and how it impacts the Web? Here’s what you need to know.
ADA Compliance for the Web
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law as of 1990, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s disability. Title III of the ADA addresses accessibility in places of public accommodations.
Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreation facilities, and doctors’ offices) and requires newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation—as well as commercial facilities (privately owned, nonresidential facilities such as factories, warehouses, or office buildings)—to comply with the ADA Standards.
The Relation Between Title III and Website Accessibility
Although Title III is specifically referring to and intended for physical locations, over time, it has been considered to be applicable to the digital space, as well. As technology evolved, the Internet changed the game for retailers and online shopping became more and more popular. Even though website accessibility is not officially stipulated within the law (yet), the ambiguity of it has opened the door for litigation all over the US. Some circuit courts have ruled that the ADA does, indeed, apply to websites, some others have ruled that it doesn’t, and the rest haven’t even ruled on this topic yet.
So, Should Your Website Be ADA-Compliant?
Well, the truth is, it won’t hurt. In June 2017, Winn-Dixie, a chain of grocery stores in the US, lost their trial against Mr. Juan Carlos Gil, a man with cerebral palsy who is also legally blind, when Judge Robert Scola ruled that their website was in violation of Title III. Mr. Gil filed the lawsuit claiming that he was unable to successfully use certain features within Winn-Dixie’s website due to a series of inaccessibility issues that were confirmed by experts during the trial.
With that in mind, it sounds like it might be time to be proactive and whip your website into ADA-compliant shape, no?
Website Accessibility: What Needs to be Done
There’s a series of things you need to take into account when you’re designing (or redesigning) your website to be accessible. From the simple things like adding alternative text for images and other media to the more complicated things like enabling voice search, there’s a lot of ground to cover. If you need more information about how to make your website ADA-compliant, give us call. If you already have a great website, why not make it accessible to all?