Do you need an ADA compliance website audit?
Today’s post breaks down the current status of accessibility policies to answer that question, then shares some compliance tips and resources to keep your brand protected.
Do I Still Need An ADA Compliance Website Audit?
A series of recent policy changes aimed at fighting frivolous lawsuits has made it unclear to some business owners whether they still need ADA compliance website audits.
In February 2018, Congress passed the ADA Education and Reform Act after thousands of business owners were targeted by predatory lawyers hoping to exploit accessibility laws. In essence, the bill made it harder for lawyers to sue businesses for discrimination based purely on website accessibility issues. Rather than being ambushed with fines, offenders are now issued warnings and given deadlines to complete ADA compliance website audits.
Some business owners see the Education and Reform Act’s ratification as a sign that the threat has passed, but it hasn’t stopped a series of high-profile lawsuits from taking place this year. Almost exactly one year after the Act came into effect, in February 2019, Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment was sued for reportedly violating ADA guidelines in ways that denied visually impaired users equal access to its products and services.
“There are many important pictures on beyonce.com that lack a text equivalent,” said Dan Shaked, attorney for plaintiff Mary Conner. “As a result, Plaintiff and blind beyonce.com customers are unable to determine what is on the website, browse the website or investigate and/or make purchases.”
Shaker and Conner are demanding that Beyoncé’s company make the site accessible to blind and visually impaired customers in accordance with ADA guidelines. Rightly so. Naturally, they’re also seeking damages “for those who have been subject to unlawful discrimination.”
Whether or not you agree with the Parkwood Entertainment lawsuit or the Reform Act, it’s clear that ADA violations still make your website vulnerable. According to the New York Law Journal, there were a stagger 1564 lawsuits brought to federal courts in New York alone last year alleging that companies had not made their websites compliant with ADA guidelines.
Clearly, the Reform Act doesn’t offer as much protection as you think, and what’s more, it’s future is uncertain. Disability activists demand the Act be overturned, claiming that it eliminates incentives to follow ADA guidelines and promotes discrimination. Even now, NGOs across the country are fighting for a more inclusive society via stricter ADA compliance website regulations.
Start Your Own ADA Compliance Website Audit
To get you started, look for these common ADA violations:
- Failure to include alt text on images
- Lacking audio tracks to accompany video-only content
- No captions for pre-recorded audio
- Inappropriate use of color as the only means of conveying visual information (e.g. to indicate a clickable link)
- Inability to navigate site via keyboard alone
- Use of “time limited” features (without an option to turn off)
- Using page language that is not determinable by all users
- Site incompatibility with assistive technologies
- Failure to adhere to the text and image contrast ratio of 4.5:1 (does not apply to large-scale text)
- Lack of sign language interpretations for prerecorded audio content.
You can find the complete WCAG cheat sheet, which includes perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust guidelines, here. Meeting these standards might sound complicated, but don’t worry–ClickTecs can help.
Professional ADA Compliance Website Audits
We are a digital marketing agency that specializes in ADA compliance. Members of our team are standing by to quickly audit your website, plan tactical fixes, and implement the changes you need to comply with these important accessibility regulations. We use the best tools, WCAG and ADA-approved practices, and a 300+ point compatibility checklist to ensure your site is accessible and liability-free.Back