IS YOUR WEBSITE ADA COMPLIANT?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain businesses to make accommodations for people with disabilities.
Web content should be accessible to the blind, deaf, and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers or other assistive technologies.
Businesses that fall under Title I, those that operate 20 or more weeks per year with at least 15 full-time employees, or Title III, those that fall under the category of "public accommodation," are covered by the ADA.
There are no clear regulations defining website accessibility.
Failure to create an ADA-compliant website could open a business to lawsuits, financial liabilities and damage to your brand reputation.
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is often associated with physical locations and accommodations certain businesses must make for people with disabilities. These accommodations typically include wheelchair accessibility, access to service animals and the use of Braille for customers who are visually impaired. However, the ADA also extends to the digital realm, requiring businesses to ensure web content is accessible to all users.
What does an ADA-compliant website look like, exactly? There are no clear ADA regulations that spell out exactly what compliant web content is, but businesses that fall under ADA Title I or ADA Title III are required to develop a website that offers "reasonable accessibility" to people with disabilities. These guidelines will help you get started building a truly accessible website and help your business avoid the penalties associated with the ADA, including lawsuits, financial penalties and loss of brand reputation.
Which businesses are required to comply with the ADA?
The first thing to understand about the ADA is which businesses are required to comply. Under Title I of the ADA, any business with at least 15 full-time employees that operates for 20 or more weeks every year is covered by the law. Under Title III, businesses that fall into the category of "public accommodation," such as hotels, banks and public transportation, are also required to comply. That means the entirety of the law applies, from physical considerations to digital accommodations.
When it comes to ADA website compliance, there are no clear rules. That doesn't let businesses off the hook, though; they still must provide an accessible website that accommodates users with disabilities.
"As far as websites go, there is no federally codified direction on how to make websites comply," said David Engelhardt, a New York City-based small business attorney. "We only know that the ADA does apply to websites based on cases, such as [Gil v. Winn-Dixie]."