Throughout the year, we’ve seen the strengthening of some important website design, such as an increased focus on improving loading times and the development of pages that adapt to device specs. These are important trends that likely won’t go anywhere in the near future. But you won’t find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit if you forget to implement mobile-friendly design features. However, you could if your website is not ADA compliant.
What Exactly Is ADA Compliance?
In July of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) became law. The ADA is a very important piece of civil rights legislation that is built upon the foundation of the Civil Rights Act signed into law during 1964. Just as the civil rights act prevents discrimination according to a person’s race, sex, color, national origin, or religion; the ADA prevents discrimination due to disabilities. It also ensures that people with disabilities have access to the very same opportunities as those without.
The ADA has evolved alongside technology for the last three decades. The ADA is a great tool for equality at its core, but as with every great piece of legislation, there are those who want to use it as a form of profit.
In this case, the people who stand to profit the most are attorneys and law firms experienced enough to reach a settlement on an otherwise frivolous case. In 2018, there was more than a 300% increase in website accessibility lawsuits. Experts believe that number will increase dramatically over the coming years.
All that they need is a single person with a disability to claim that a website is restricting their full use and they have the foundation for a case. This is not to be confused with the websites that truly do ignore ADA compliance or discriminate against people with disabilities. Rather, these are greedy law firms hoping to build a reputation and an income as quickly and easily as possible.
How Can A Website Be ADA Compliant?
If you were to read the ADA you may notice that there is nothing mentioning websites or how they should be made compliant. That may come as a surprise considering the thousands of lawsuits that exist just for non-ADA compliant websites. However, the U.S. Department of Justice has stated that the language of the ADA is broad enough for the subject because the website is part of the business.
There are two important titles of the ADA to keep in mind in this regard:
- Title II.
This title prohibits the discrimination of people based on their disability by a local or state government.
- Title III
This title prevents the discrimination of people based on their disability by any private business that is open to the public.
If either of these sections were to apply to your business, then it is safe to assume that they apply to your website as well. Unfortunately, because there is no specific section for websites, it can be difficult for a website designer to know how to accommodate these standards. How can you build a website that meets strict legal standards when those standards are never outlined?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
More commonly known as WCAG, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 is a set of standards created by the World Wide Web Consortium(W3C). These standards were not created by an official legal organization, but they are encouraged by the ADA administration. The safest way to ensure that your website is ADA compliant is by building with the WCAG in mind every step of the way.
That’s a difficult task even if you’re just now creating your website from scratch. But what if you’re a small business owner who hired a web designer years ago? What if your website has been online for a decade and you have no idea if it meets the WCAG or is ADA compliant? You can, of course, go through the checklist and hope that you haven’t missed anything. If you’re lucky, then you won’t become another statistic in the rising number of ADA compliance lawsuits.
A safer, faster, and a more reliable solution would be to have your website audited by a professional to correct existing errors and then to install a plugin to keep future content in line with standards. This small investment could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars for seemingly minor legal infractions.
It’s What We Do
Our company specializes in this type of work and we are the best in the business. Our two-stage process takes roughly 48 hours to complete and can keep your website ADA compliant for years to come.
The first step is the professional audit. Our experts will dig into your website and find all of the areas that are not currently ADA-compliant. We generate a report detailing this information and what changes need to be made to ensure compliance. We also provide an estimate for those who would like us to make the changes ourselves. Around 96 percent of the website remediation is handled by artificial intelligence (AI), with the remaining parts done by hand.
We then install the PERC ADA Compliance™ Plugin. This intelligent plugin never stops working to ensure that your website remains compliant. And we keep the plugin updated as changes or discoveries are made regarding ADA compliance. The compliance app identifies problems and helps make quick adjustments to colors, sizes, contrast, fonts, glossaries, animations, and more.
Stay Compliant And Keep Your Business Alive
The internet should be perfect accessibly to all people, including those with disabilities. However, your company shouldn’t be served a $100,000 fine because you forgot to make your font contrast high enough. Our audit process and the Compliance Plugin will ensure that this never happens.
Already Been Served a Lawsuit?
And what if your company has already been served an ADA compliance lawsuit? We encourage you to contact us immediately and we will put you in contact with an experienced Minneapolis attorney who specializes in ADA litigation. Our goal is to help protect small business owners and website designers from frivolous lawsuits that could ruin their future.