In the United States, website accessibility is a regulated issue. If your website is not in compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), then you could be subject to an expensive website accessibility lawsuit. In a nutshell, website accessibility law refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The ADA applies to both public and private entities who operate places of “public accommodation,” which includes most online businesses. There are many things that an organization can do to avoid being sued under website accessibility law. For example, web development should be designed in such a way that it is compatible with all devices and screen readers.
But who does the ADA apply to? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to public accommodations, including web development companies that have an online presence or offer goods or services over the internet. Simply put, the ADA applies to any website that is visited or used by members of the public, including government agencies, private websites, and all other organizations that provide services in a place open to the public.
You know that website accessibility is important, but did you know it could end up costing your company $100,000 in legal fees? Website accessibility lawsuits are becoming more common as people with disabilities are getting fed up with the lack of website access. As a website owner, you should be aware of what it entails and how to avoid violating it.
This blog post will give you everything you need to know about website accessibility lawsuits so that your website can stay up-to-date with the ADA regulations!
Is Your Website At Risk of an ADA Lawsuit?
If your website is not ADA compliant, then you are at a high risk of being sued. There are many things that website owners can do to avoid website accessibility lawsuits, such as getting an accessible website audit and making sure web development complies with Section 50-508 standards for websites.
The website accessibility law applies to any website frequented by the general public. Especially, websites that are poorly designed and developed, have website content that is not compatible with all devices and screens readers are at risk.
Website accessibility refers to the web development process in which a website has been designed so it will meet the needs of people with disabilities. This includes ensuring compatibility across multiple devices, including browsers, smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
You may ask what is the difference between Web Development and Website Accessibility Design. When thinking about how your website might affect those who visit your site without full mobility or sight abilities – keep these two concepts separate:
- Web development is designing what you want, and
- Accessible web development is ensuring that the website design is compatible with your target users from different walks of life, whether or not disabled.
A website’s web development process needs to be designed in a way that it is compatible with all devices and screen readers. This means making sure your website has the following:
● Text descriptions for images, video content, or audio files.
● Closed captioning (CC) for videos where possible.
● Appropriate ASCII art to replace graphical icons/graphics on pages such as Next and Previous buttons and navigation menus. “The next button should have an arrow pointing down towards a line below” instead of “Next,” etc.
● Website features that are keyboard accessible – this includes tabbing through links on the home page without using arrows like on a computer keyboard. Tabbing out of these links should be possible using the arrow keys.
● Website features that are compatible with screen readers, such as ensuring website content is tagged appropriately for a screen reader to read it aloud (i.e., “heading” tags in HTML or ARIA). This way, someone who visits your website without full mobility can hear what they need to know about your website’s pages.
Website Accessibility Lawsuit Example
It’s hard to imagine someone going up against queen Beyonce herself, but in 2019, Mary Connor, a blind woman, sued Parkwood Entertainment (Beyonce’s company) on the assertion that the pop star’s company failed to comply with ADA requirements for visually impaired users.
The woman sued Parkwood Entertainment after being unable to use their website to buy tickets to one of Beyonce’s concerts. Connor claimed that the website overlooked the fact to include alt-text with the images, claiming it unusable as visually impaired users wouldn’t be able to browse the site or even buy tickets or merchandise.
What Are the Penalties?
If your website faces an ADA lawsuit for violating web development standards (section 50-508), then you could be paying up to $100K in legal fees! The penalties range from being forced to revamp your website or pay fines which can add up quickly if you are found guilty of website accessibility violations under Section 504. However, there may be defenses available against a website accessibility violation claim. These include proving the defendant was unaware of any violations and correcting it as soon as possible after becoming aware of them.
How to Avoid Website Accessibility Lawsuit?
There are many ways website owners can avoid website accessibility lawsuits. One thing website owners should do is review the website design and consider the following aspects:
Include more texts
While visual media helps in attracting visitors to the website, to make your site more accessible, you need to include more texts. This is because many visually impaired users use screen readers when they are accessing a website or online shopping. So, if the text-based content on your website is not appropriate, screen readers won’t come in handy for them.
Captions on videos help website users who are deaf or hard of hearing as they can understand what is being said in the video. So, to make your website more accessible and cater to a wider audience, you should consider adding captions on videos where possible.
Craft an inclusive customer experience
The website has to be more inclusive of everyone, including those with disabilities. This can be helped by designing the website in a way that is easy for every user to access and navigate through without any difficulties. Including navigation menus and other features will also make your website more accessible.
To avoid website accessibility lawsuits, website owners should consider auditing their website and bring in accessibility specialists to review their site.