Preventing Liability and Lawsuits: Building an ADA Compliance Website Checklist

Today’s post is meant to protect your business getting blindsided by “inclusivity” lawsuits, like so many others have been this year.

Read on to learn whether your site is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as how to protect yourself from predatory lawsuits.

ADA Compliance in the Internet Age

The ADA was created to prevent discrimination based on a person’s disability. And like its predecessor, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which focused on race, sex, religion, and national identity, ADA makes any discriminatory behavior punishable by law. In response, public buildings, transportation, schools, and workplaces changed to improve accessibility.

Business websites are also expected to comply with ADA regulations. Not following an ADA compliance website checklist is the virtual equivalent of neglecting to offer handicap parking spaces, wheelchair ramps, and wide doorways.

Unfortunately, a number of franchise owners found that out the hard way.

ADA Liability and Lawsuits Abound in 2018

2017 saw an unprecedented number of website accessibility lawsuits being filed in federal and state courts.

In 2017, plaintiffs filed at least 814 federal lawsuits against the owners of “inaccessible websites” in America. New York and Florida led the charge, with 335 and 325 cases, respectively.

It’s possible that a number of these lawsuits were legitimate cases where discriminatory business owners needed to be rebuked. But many business owners were sucked into legal troubles or vilified as “non-inclusive” just because they weren’t aware of their ADA responsibilities.

Nonetheless, the onus is on you to stay compliant – ignorantialegisneminemexcusat, “ignorance of the law excuses no one.” And the best way to protect yourself is by building an ADA compliance website checklist.

Building an ADA Compliance Website Checklist

The following general guidelines should help you improve your website’s accessibility fast to avoid costly non-compliance suits:

  • Presentation. Make sure your site is easy to manoeuvre, with options to adjust the size or color of text, font, and images. ADA requirements state that “resizability” should be offered up to 200%.
  • Text. Favor big fonts for titles, headings, menus, and banners – when in doubt, bigger is better. Color is also important. Make sure the text and background colors pair in a way that is easy to read. And cut out any underlined text that isn’t a hyperlink – it’s just confusing.
  • Audio, video, and image. The best way to make your media compliant is through captioning. Add texts to your images, and fill in the “alt text” with real description, rather than just racking up another keyword. Video transcripts are also great options.
  • Assistive technology. Set your site up to make assistive technology work better. Use HTML formats where possible, and avoid PDF documents, as these cannot be read by most optical character recognition devices. Make sure your website is navigable by keyboard alone. And look into skip navigation, which allows users to cut past links and headings to go straight to your main content.

These introductory guidelines are by no means exhaustive; this post is the tiniest tip of the iceberg, meant to get you familiar with the kinds of changes that you’ll be making this year. And here’s the hard truth: no blog post will ever be enough. If you really want an inclusive and legally sound website, it’s critical that you call in the experts.

Leave your ADA Compliance to the Professionals

At ClickTecs, we specialize in ADA compliance, and we’ve made it our mission to help businesses navigate the shift from offline marketing to digital marketing. To that end, we’ve compiled an ADA compliance website checklist with over 300 points that we use to thoroughly asses and audit the state of your current site in order to provide detailed tactical fixes.

For access to our 300-point ADA compliance website checklist, or to speak directly with a ClickTecs compliance expert, visit https://www.clicktecs.com/contact and book a free consultation.

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