Is Your Website a Liability? Meeting ADA Compliant Website Guidelines for 2019

Is your website a legal liability? Are you alienating potential customers without even knowing it?

Today’s post highlights the importance of ADA compliant website guideline adherence in 2019, and explains how business owners can make sure they’re protected from accessibility lawsuits.

The Case of Beyonce.com

Any Beyonce fans out there?

If so, you might have heard that Beyonce is currently being sued for failing to provide an ADA compliant website experience.

Mary Conner filed a civil suit against Parkwood Entertainment, which operates Beyonce.com, on January 3rd in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Conner, who’s legally blind, claimed to be a lifelong fan of Beyonce, which made it all the more heartbreaking when she landed on Beyonce.com only to encounter numerous barriers limiting her access to the information, multimedia, goods, and services offered on-site.

Conner went to Beyonce.com to read up on her favorite artist, and to purchase a Christmas-themed “Holidayonce” pullover hoodie. But neither were possible because “the defendant has chosen to rely on an exclusively visual interface,” which makes it basically impossible for the visually impaired to navigate.

Conner’s lawsuit includes a long list of features that puts Beyonce.com in violation of ADA compliant website guidelines, including:

  • No alternative or “alt” text or graphics
  • Inaccessible drop-down menus
  • Inaccessible navigation links
  • Inadequate prompting and labeling
  • Denial of keyboard-only access
  • Empty links that contain no text
  • Redundant links where adjacent links go to the same URL
  • Inability to complete purchases/transactions without a mouse

Conner’s counsel seeks a permanent injunction requiring Parkwood Entertainment to alter its discriminatory policies, practices, and procedures in order to bring the site up to date with current ADA compliant website guidelines. Conner also seeks attorney fees and compensatory damages at an undisclosed amount.

What does this case mean for your business?

First, it underscores the importance of adhering to ADA compliant website guidelines in 2019. Failing to do so can completely alienate huge portions of your audience, and literally cost you sales. In this case, Conner was a lifelong fan who saw Beyonce’s music as something that she could enjoy as much as anybody else. But Beyonce’s non-compliant website felt like a slap in the face–the virtual equivalent of refusing a wheelchair user access to your restaurant. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t put your customers through that–or anyone, for that matter.

But speaking of customers, this case shows how failing to meet ADA compliant website guidelines costs sales. Conner visited Beyonce.com to buy a product, but was unable to. Rather than giving Beyonce money, Conner will likely end up taking a substantial amount.

Meeting ADA Compliant Website Guidelines in 2019

Even with the best intentions, it can be tough to make sure your web assets meet ADA compliant website guidelines.

Overhauling your site’s backend isn’t an intuitive task for most people, even if you get your hands on a high-quality checklist. Plus, to make matters worse, the checklist evolves over time, and you are responsible for keeping up to date.

For most business owners, the best option is to call in the professionals. ClickTecs is a digital marketing agency that specializes in ADA compliance. Using a 300+ point checklist created in-house using W3C/ADA guidelines, we have helped numerous business owners protect themselves from lawsuits and reduce liabilities. 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.

To learn more about our ADA compliant website guidelines, visit https://www.clicktecs.com

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