Legal action taken on websites not ADA compliant

Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 by Abby Draper

girl typing on laptop

Businesses are more frequently facing lawsuits if their websites do not adhere to The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a law enacted in 1990 that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

According to Ohio Matters, the official publication of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, in past years, businesses were faced with similar lawsuits when plaintiffs drove by and noticed non-compliant handicapped parking or entrances that were not handicap accessible. Now, these plaintiffs are looking to the web.

In 2018, Fox Business stated there were more than 1000 lawsuits based on non-compliant websites halfway through the year. This number is only continuing to grow.

Regardless of if you are a part of a public or private sector, this ADA litigation could affect you. To prevent a lawsuit against your business or the businesses of your clients, it may be necessary to make some website changes.

On his blog, Kris Rivenburgh, an ADA website compliance and accessibility consultant, lays out ADA website compliance guidelines. Here is a summary:

1. Create alternatives to reading or listening component

                 - Write alternative text (alt text) for your photos so the blind know what the photos are depicting through screen readers.

                 - Make sure videos have closed captions.

                 - Ensure the text is clear and readable.

2. Limit “automatic” content

                 - Limit or eliminate automatic pop-ups, scrolling or blinking unless they can be stopped or paused.

                 - Any forms need to be completely controllable by the user and not automatic.

3. Access without a mouse

                 - Keyboard accessible websites are a must. This means you should be able to use arrow keys and other buttons to navigate the website.

4.  Clear organization

                 - Create clear titles and tags.

                 - Ensure ability to skip to important content.

                 - Write descriptive links and headers.

5. Font guidelines

                 - All fonts should be a color that adequately contrasts from the background (4.5:1 minimum threshold.)

                 - Fonts need to be scalable up to 200% without loss of clarity or functionality of the website.

6. No time limits

                 - Do not put time limits on your website unless it is unavoidable.

These guidelines are a great start to making your website ADA compliant. If you need more help, there are several websites that provide ADA website compliance checks that will tell you exactly what you need to change.

Not only is this important to avoid a lawsuit, but it is crucial to make websites accessible for as wide a range of people as possible. This will help attract more people to the website and show disabled individuals that the company cares about their user experience.

ADA compliance check websites:

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