The ADA Does Not Specify Websites: Why Does Compliance Matter?

Understanding the laws that require businesses to create accessible websites can be a challenge in and of itself. While the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA states explicitly that businesses falling into the categories of “public place of accommodation” include hotels, banks, and public transportation, a whole host of other organizations and industries can also be made to comply. The risks associated with ADA non-compliance are many, including lawsuits and related costs for legal fees. However, many organizations are choosing to become compliant regardless of what their legal team suggests, simply because the law is so vague. In fact, when you read through the text associated with the ADA, you will quickly notice that there are no clear rules when it comes to websites. Figuring out how and where to start can be overwhelming, which is why many businesses are turning to reputable software ADA solutions.

What is ADA Non-Compliance?

The general idea regarding making sure that your website is accessible to all visitors as a public place of accommodation is to provide a website that can be used easily by users with any type of disability. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who have visual or audio impairments, as well as people who have epilepsy or color blindness issues. However, if you are searching for a step-by-step guide to create accessible websites, you will find a lot of confusing information. Recent court cases prove that judges are applying the ADA Title III rules to websites, so it is essential to find a solution that will both protect your business from ADA non-compliance liabilities and provide a means for all visitors to access your website content, products, services, and support. Regardless of the industry that you serve or whether you deal directly with consumers or other businesses, it is in your best interest to make sure that your website is ADA compliant and fully accessible to all.

While the ADA does not offer any specific guidelines for websites, many organizations and judges follow the WCAG or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This is not a legal requirement but is being used more and more as a reference point for businesses that are looking to create accessible websites. There are three versions of the WCAG currently available, including versions 1.0, 2.0, and 2.1. Version 1.0 was replaced by 2.0, and version 2.1 is the latest extension of 2.0, which offers increased guidelines for public place of accommodation requirements. There are also three levels of conformance available for companies to measure up to, ranging from A for the minimum level of accessibility, AA for a target level of accessibility that meets current legal requirements, and AAA, which exceeds the current accessibility requirements. How would your website measure up to these guidelines? How can you know that your website is compliant with ADA standards? The best way to find out is to dive into the WCAG requirements and compare them to your existing business website or work with a team of experts who can help you get on the right track.

WCAG 2.1 Guidelines

There are four primary areas that are examined to ensure an accessible public place of accommodation for all users. The four areas of measurement include perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Is the content on your website presented in a way that makes it easily perceivable, such as offering alternative options for visual or audio impaired users? Is the navigation on your website easy to operate for all users, offering keyboard accessibilities for simple navigation across the website? Is the content itself easy to understand, providing methods for making content readable and predictable with input assistance available, if needed? And finally, can the website content be interpreted by various devices and platforms designed to support a wide range of disabled users?

Websites that can meet these standards will have improved accessibility for all users. One of the smartest and easiest ways to ensure that all user’s needs are met is to use software ADA solutions. At SouthCoast Internet, we use an artificial intelligence (AI) solution that scans and analyzes websites to determine which functions and elements need to be adjusted based on the needs of the individual user. It is automatic, intuitive, and frequently adjusted to meet the ever-changing needs of disabled users. The websites using this software solution are scanned every 24-hours to ensure that any new content that gets added also works to create accessible websites. This prevents ADA non-compliance issues for your business due to a single post, page, or section that gets added to the website days, weeks, months, or even years down the line.

Protect your business from lawsuits, as well as other legal and financial issues due to ADA non-compliance. Contact our team at SouthCoast Internet to learn more about the powerful software ADA solutions that we are using to create accessible websites. You can reach our team at 508-415-8648 or visit our website to see a live demo in action and read more about this valuable solution designed for organizations of all types and sizes.