Courts are finding that websites are subject to the same ADA regulations as brick and mortar stores.
It may not have four walls, but it’s soon to be subject to the same accessibility requirements as a physical place of business (if the DOJ follows legal precedents established in recent years). When customers encounter accessibility barriers on your website they are likely to leave your site and not return. This is a problem on multiple levels:
- You’re losing potential customers and sales
- You are exposing your business to potential liability in the form of an ADA lawsuit
Reduce Exposure to Liability
Law firms are increasingly filing class action suits on behalf of disabled individuals throughout the United States who use the Internet to facilitate their access to goods and services. These individuals have disabilities that include: blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, mobility impairments, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and various federal courts have concluded that businesses which offer goods and services to the public through websites are public accommodations that must comply with the general accessibility mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
In the event that you are sued, you also face the prospect of:
- Negative media exposure
- Lost customers and sales
- Extensive legal fees to mount a successful defense
Reach a Wider Audience
When we publish content on the Web that is not accessible, we are excluding one or more groups of people with disabilities from accessing this content.
- If we publish videos without synchronized captions, we are excluding deaf people from accessing the audio track of our multimedia content.
- If we publish videos without audio description, we are excluding blind users and people with low vision.
- For websites that are not usable with a keyboard only, we are excluding blind users who require assistive technology devices (screen readers and braille displays), from accessing and navigating web pages.
- For images and graphics that do not include alternate text, we are excluding blind users who need alternate text to understand the context and meaning of images.
By creating content that is accessible, we ensure that the greatest number of people can access and use it. For businesses and communities, this means a more inclusive world where people (regardless of ability) can access goods and services, supports, and any other benefits of society.
Accessibility by the Numbers
|56.7 Million||Number of Americans living with some type of disability (18.7% of the U.S. population)|
|38.3 Million||Number of Americans living with a severe disability (12.6% of the U.S. population)|
|4,789||Number of ADA Title III lawsuits filed in federal court in 2015.|
What can you do to protect your business?
- Ensure that all pages on your website conform with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (website conformance review)
- Post an accessibility policy on your website to ensure that users with disabilities know that you’ve taken steps to create a site that works with assistive technology devices
- Have a plan to maintain accessibility conformance levels as your site grows
Aurora can help you navigate the process of accessibility conformance evaluation, repair, disclosure and maintenance so that you can focus on other things (like your business).