Why Should I Make Sure My Business Website is ADA Compliant?
Like a lot of other business owners in the SouthCoast area and all across the nation, all of this information about ADA requirements for websites is probably new to you. Learning that website accessibility is now required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, something that many brick-and-mortar websites are familiar with due to other regulations that must be met for customers, employees, and other visitors in their store can be overwhelming. While there are many things that New England businesses must do to ensure that their place of business is accessible for all visitors, it might not be clear what is required for ADA compliance on a website.
The good news is that SouthCoast Internet has done the research for you. We have examined all of the various programs, services, and options to help achieve ADA requirements for websites and have found what we believe to be the best option available – we even use it on our own websites. Instead of having to completely redesign your website to ensure that it is accessible for all who might want to use it to do business with your organization, we have discovered a software solution for ADA compliance that is affordable and easy to use. What’s more, it does not just make your website compliant today; it also provides a powerful ADA compliant solution going forward to ensure that all new posts, pages, and content added to your website will continue to meet the ADA requirements for websites.
Protect Your Business from Lawsuits
While it would be nice to say that most businesses go out of their way to offer website accessibility out of the goodness of their hearts to ensure that all people, regardless of disability, could access their websites, it would not be an honest statement. Much like adding accessible parking spaces or putting in a wheelchair ramp at the store’s entrance, most businesses search for an ADA compliant solution because they are told that they have to do it. Whether this is as a result of a lawsuit being filed against them or because of complaints received by customers, for most organizations, ADA compliance is reactive rather than proactive. However, due to a significant increase in lawsuits that seek damages for businesses that don’t meet the ADA requirements for websites, it is highly recommended that SouthCoast websites obtain a solution as soon as possible.
Studies reveal that there has been a 200 percent increase in lawsuits and demand letters from when website accessibility first became a significant issue back in 2017-2018. Our observations here in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island make us feel that this trend will only continue to grow. People who have disabilities, particularly those with visual impairments, have been filing lawsuits against businesses over website accessibility issues, and most of those have won. They either settle out of court, leaving the business owner with the responsibility of finding an ADA compliant solution and paying any associated legal fees, or choose to take it to court, where there is a high chance of losing in front of a judge, where increased legal costs and fines may be added.
Public Place of Accommodation
In the past, court rulings deemed that websites did not qualify as a “public place of accommodation,” however, this is the term that is now being used to specify which businesses fall under these regulations. When you think about how much the internet has changed our lives and the way that we do business, it makes sense that judicial attitudes toward website accessibility would change as well. Regardless of the industry that you serve, there is likely some degree of web-based interaction that consumers, clients, or visitors rely on to conduct business with your organization. Shopping for products, searching for information, getting prices for services, paying bills, setting appointments – these are things that we now do every day from our home computers and smartphones.
Imagine going to a website to purchase goods or order a service, but you are unable to use the forms and programs to accomplish your goals. The business itself is closed, as it is after hours or over the weekend, so there is no one that you can call. Waiting until morning or the next business day might be inconvenient or prevent you from getting the products or services you need on time. What would you do? Would you simply search for another business that could accommodate your needs more effectively? What if there were no other businesses available in your area, or the only other option would mean paying significantly more or waiting longer for the same product or service? This is the scenario that many disabled Americans face every single day when they try to conduct business online, just like everyone else.
What Can You Do?
The best thing to do is to start today to find an ADA compliant solution that will provide better website accessibility that meets the ADA requirements for websites. While there are a few different options available that will help you to achieve this goal, some are more costly and time-consuming than others. SouthCoast Internet has found an affordable software solution for ADA compliance that can be implemented right away to provide continued protection from website accessibility issues. If you are ready to add this service to your website, contact our team directly at 508-415-8648. Avoid expensive lawsuits and make your website accessible to more people with our partner’s ADA compliant solution.