Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs) and ADA Compliance
Which businesses are required to have a fully accessible website that meets ADA requirements, and which ones are not? This can be a very confusing topic, as many small business owners believe that they are exempt from these requirements because of ADA Title I. Brick and mortar shops, stores, and offices that have less than 15 full-time employees or businesses that only operate for less than 20 weeks out of the year do not have to retrofit their properties to accommodate disabled people. This can include parking spaces, wheelchair ramps, and other accommodations that are required for larger businesses or companies that operate year-round. Under Title III, the businesses that fall under the category of “public accommodation” include banks, hotels, and public transportation, along with other similar hospitality type services. However, when it comes to accessibility for websites, the lines become even more blurred.
Is My SMB Exempt from Title III?
Your best bet to find out if you do not have to worry about ADA Title III lawsuits is to consult with an experienced disability lawyer. This is always a good idea, regardless of the situation. Disability laws and requirements change frequently, so it is better to get it from someone who specializes in this area. Regular business attorneys might not have the experience necessary to provide comprehensive advice regarding disability law, so it is better to at least get a second opinion before putting your small to medium sized businesses at risk. Don’t rely on advice from colleagues, neighboring business owners, or even well-meaning friends who happen to be lawyers. Find a reliable source in your area and discuss your particular needs with regard to your website. Then again, it might also be argued that regardless of whether you think you might be exempt or not, it could still be in your best interest to maintain a fully accessible website due to all of the other benefits associated with SMBs and ADA compliance.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Stop and think for a minute about your target demographic. This is essential for small to medium sized businesses of all types to know. This data can help you to fine-tune your marketing approach, ensure that you stock products that your customers will want to buy, and increase your bottom line. When it comes to SMBs and ADA compliance, it can be difficult to know whether you need to offer a fully accessible website according to the law. However, when it comes to the future success of your business, it might be more clear-cut. Do you want to disregard or alienate an entire group of potential sales just because your website is not accessible? Studies show that one in five Americans has some degree of disability – that’s 20 percent of the market. There are a wide range of conditions that can be considered a disability that are covered by ADA, including visual, audio, motor, mobility, color, and animated or flashing light sensitivity, which may also require special accommodations to view your website.
How Much Will It Cost?
Some small to medium sized businesses choose to roll the dice with regard to potential ADA Title III lawsuits because they worry about how much it will cost to become compliant. Hiring a web developer to go through every post, page, and product listing to ensure a fully accessible website can be expensive. Relying on free plug-ins and other screen overlay products can be risky, as they do not offer adequate coverage to protect most businesses. Out of all the different solutions available for SMBs and ADA compliance, accessiBe stands out as an affordable, automated, and ongoing system that will protect your website today and continue providing protection in the future. Most websites can be made fully accessible within 48-hours after implementation, and ongoing scans are provided every 24-hours to make sure that any new posts, pages, or content is also ADA compliant. The best part is that it costs less than $500 a year for websites with less than 1,000 pages to be fully protected.
Are SMBs More Vulnerable to ADA Title III Lawsuits?
Studies show that smaller businesses are targeted more frequently for lawsuits of all kinds because they don’t have the finances to fight cases in court or to create a fully accessible website. However, there has also been an increase in ADA Title III lawsuits filed against large companies and well-known brands because most judges side with the complainant. Big-name companies have been in the news after lawsuits were filed and have been forced to create fully accessible website solutions to meet the requirements of ADA by the court. However, businesses of all sizes and types can benefit from the affordable and automated system provided by accessiBe, which can be fully implemented within 48-hours and provide ongoing scans every 24-hours to ensure ADA compliance going forward. Taking a proactive approach to make sure that your business has a fully accessible website can help you to avoid lawsuits for SMBs and ADA compliance.
If you are ready to make your website ADA compliant and protect your small to medium sized businesses from potential ADA related lawsuits, contact SouthCoast Internet. We can provide you with all of the information you need to get started on the path of creating a fully accessible website. Contact our team by calling 508-415-8648 or visit our information and demo page for ADA compliance on our website to take the first step.