Save Yourself From Getting Sued... Improve your Web Accessibility Now
Does your website provide a “place of public accommodation”?
I am online.
Just because your site isn’t made up of brick and mortar, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act Title III, or so said District Judge Scola in 2017 when he concluded that Winn Dixie had violated the ADA by having an inaccessible website.
As the Department of Justice considers updating Title III, the courts are moving ahead with hearing plaintiffs and defendants and handing down rulings. According to Seyfarth Shaw LLP, at least 814 federal website accessibility lawsuits were filed in 2017. New York and Florida lead with 335 and 325 respectively.
I will find the money to fix my site if I get caught.
If you believe that the court costs you might incur if caught are less than the cost of fixing your site right now, think again. The check you write for IT services is only part of the cost you will face if you lose. Imagine the cost of negative publicity?
My website’s target audience can see and hear.
If money and reputation isn’t your motivator, imagine what your life would be like if you couldn’t access content on the web. You can see. You can hear. You have use of your fingers. Imagine one day you don’t. Accidents happen. We all age. Who will you curse for preventing you from accessing content, filling out a form, finding directions? Don’t be that company that prevents others from accessing your goods and services.
I wouldn’t know where to begin.
We know that technology and web accessibility can be overwhelming at best and scary at worst. Consider the following important things you can do now to meet your accessibility goals.
- Statement of Web Accessibility - A statement from your business regarding accessibility objectives for your site. Keep in mind the effort and resources needed to meet that goal.
- Hire a Third Party Vendor - Just because your development team says your site is ADA compliant, that doesn’t mean it is. Think of it as hiring an editor because you can’t see your own editorial mistakes.
- Conduct an Audit - Expert eyes is the key to finding the issues. Both automated and manual testing is required.
- Remediate Issues - Let your development team fix the issues or hire the experts. You need to demonstrate that you are working to rectify issues in the event that someone comes knocking on your virtual door with a lawsuit.
- Verify and Document Remediation - Now that your site has been fixed, the ADA related changes need to be verified and documented.
- Get Trained - Your site keeps changing. Do you know how to ensure your site is compliant moving forward? Training management, content authors, and site developers are the key to ensure your site becomes accessible and stays that way.
- Maintain - Just because you are trained, that doesn’t mean the occasional content issue won’t arise. Stay on top of your ever-changing site with regular accessibility audits and seek help if you need it.