Is Your Website Accessible?

Or are you leaving yourself open to being sued?

You may have heard about recent lawsuits involving websites of large companies such as Dominos (Robles v. Domino’s Pizza), Five Guys (Lucia Markett v. Five Guys), Hobby Lobby (Sean Gorecki v. Hobby Lobby), and Winn-Dixie (Gil vs. Winn-Dixie) grocery store who had to pay $105K.

All of those lawsuits involved visually impaired people trying to access the company’s website. These lawsuits have all been filed under ADA Title III. This is the “public access” section of the ADA compliance.

Settlements can range from $5,000 to $75,000 per instance if the company doesn’t “fix” their site.

We are not lawyers and this is not legal advice. We have been talking with industry experts, consultants, and companies that specialize in ensuring websites are fully ADA compliant. We believe that this information is important for any business with a website.

WHAT IS ACCESSIBLE?

Technically speaking, accessibility is defined by the requirements laid out by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and it’s often conflated with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Non-technically, it’s giving someone with a disability, like limited or no sight or hearing, the ability to experience all elements of your website.

For example, someone without sight is not able to see images or form fields on your website, so they need alternative text to inform them as to the content of each image. Someone without hearing cannot listen to a narrated video, so they need captions.

WEB ACCESSIBILITY FOR BLIND PEOPLE
Blind people rely on screen readers to get around online, but most websites lack alternative texts for images, ARIA attributes for context and behavior-related adjustments that screen-readers rely on.

WEB ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE MOTOR IMPAIRED
Users with motor disabilities, muscle weakness, arthritis, or injuries causing difficulty directing and clicking with a mouse, rely solely on the keyboard to operate websites. Most websites don’t support keyboard-only navigation and operation.

WEB ACCESSIBILITY FOR PEOPLE WITH COGNITIVE DISORDERS
People with various cognitive disorders, elderly people and people after brain injuries often read web pages but don’t understand many of the connections, phrases, and wording. This makes it difficult for them to browse effectively.

WEB ACCESSIBILITY FOR EPILEPTICS
For people with photo-sensitive epilepsy, the internet is a minefield, because the next webpage could have a flashing gif or animation that triggers a seizure.

WEB ACCESSIBILITY TO THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
Websites often display content that is almost impossible for users with blurred vision, color blindness, or other vision impairment to read, due to font, color, and contrast choices

WHAT DO I NEED ON MY WEBSITE?

To determine whether a site is accessible, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, or WCAG, created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main point of reference. They have three levels: A, AA, and AAA. As of this writing, to be considered accessible, a website has to meet WCAG 2.1 AA.

Most non-governmental websites are *not* completely accessible. In a sense, any website that does not meet the criteria for a compliant website could be a target. In fact, in most cases, unless “Section 508 compliance” was listed as a project requirement, most websites out there are not compliant, and therefore a potential target.

TAKE ACTION TODAY

So… where does this leave us? There are a few options:

  • Do nothing… However, you could be at risk of a lawsuit and we DON’T recommend this!
  • Take your website offline… But now you don’t have a business
  • Hire an ADA compliance company like SiteImprove ($5k+/month) or AudioEye ($10k+/year)
  • Manually code your website’s accessibility ($5k-$15k + manual updates each time the website is updated)
  • Use a “Free Plugin” service that only provides 20-50% coverage on compliance
  • Use the same solution we use

If you do not have the budget to hire an ADA compliance company or manually code your website, we recommend using accessiBe with whom we have a relationship.

accessiBe is an AI automated system turns inaccessible websites into WCAG and ADA compliant websites within 48 hours and provides 24/7 automatic maintenance. But not only that, accessiBe provides you with a Litigation Support Package, in case you need to prove your ADA website compliance, and guides you through the process.

Although there will be a cost to this technology, it’s going to be a lot less than having to deal with the legal mess of a lawsuit or even one of the compliance companies noted above.

Most sites cost only $490/year for the drop-in, and you can have it installed in minutes.

Don’t take our word for it. Get your free compliance test today.

When you click the Get Started button, you will be redirected to accessiBe.