The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets rules and regulations that all businesses must follow when doing business in stores, hiring and retaining employees, and even having an online presence. If you aren’t meeting these requirements, your business may be at risk for a significant lawsuit. More and more disabled internet users are filing lawsuits against businesses that aren’t complying with ADA regulations.
The drastic increase in lawsuits that have popped up in the last few years has caused businesses to seriously reconsider their online presence. No longer does the ADA only apply to brick and mortar locations. Recent rulings have deemed websites for many businesses as an extension of a brick and mortar location, meaning the website falls under ADA guidelines.
Many small businesses haven’t considered online disability compliance, often because they don’t understand the requirements for accessibility online. Let’s take a look at what’s changed in the online ADA landscape in recent years and how you can ensure your website remains compliant.
Gil vs. Winn Dixie
One of the most famous and most recent online ADA lawsuits was Gil vs. Winn Dixie. The plaintiff, a visually-impaired man, was unable to access parts of Winn Dixie’s website with his screen reading software. The court landed on the plaintiff’s side, ruling that the website was an extension of the brick and mortar locations, and since the website was not compatible with the screen reader software, Winn Dixie was in violation of the ADA.
As a result, Winn Dixie was required to update their website to be compliant with ADA regulations, and they were also ordered to pay all of the plaintiff’s attorney and court fees. There have been many businesses that have lost cases and have been required to pay tens of thousands of dollars to plaintiffs, on top of updating their website to industry compliance standards.
Steps You Can Take
With more and more lawyers looking for vulnerable websites and businesses, it’s time to update your website to current industry standards. Fortunately, there are a few steps that you can take to get your website up to date.
First, you should have your website audited by web accessibility experts. We have reviewed some of the top web accessibility services available today, and with so many to choose from, you’ll easily find the right service for your business.
Depending on the size and scope of your business, you may need an accessibility service that can update and audit thousands of pages at once. If you’re a small business, a semi-regular manual review of a few pages may be a better choice. There is a wide range of service options and price points when it comes to remaining compliant online.
Once you’ve found the right service for your business, getting your website updated is a fairly straightforward process. Many compliance businesses use both automated and manual updates to ensure your website remains compliant with WCAG 2.1 guidelines and Section 508 guidelines.
If your business doesn’t have a website that’s handicap accessible, it’s time to start your upgrades. Check out some of our top compliance service recommendations to find the right service for your needs!