A man wearing dark glasses walks into an optometrist’s office and says to the doctor, “Doc, I’m blind.” The doctor looks at him and says, “I see that,” to which the blind man responds, “Gee, you don’t have to rub it in!” This little joke innocently introduces you to a topic that’s no laughing matter. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures individuals with disabilities have access to public services and public places. In addition to the obvious ADA features like ramps, elevators, and closed captioning, ADA regulations also cover websites. Our clients, as the owners of their websites, are ultimately responsible for making sure their website is accessible under the ADA guidelines, and therefore not vulnerable to legal action.
ADA Compliance: The Ethical and Business Benefits
Our team at Packerland Websites believes that following ADA guidelines doesn’t just help website owners avoid costly, cumbersome court cases. ADA compliance also is the right thing to do, ethically and business-wise. Complying with ADA guidelines gives people with disabilities the same opportunities as everyone else to engage with your website. Isn’t that what you want for your business or nonprofit?
Real-Life Consequences: Messy Legal Trouble
The following story really drives home this point. Recently, an Upper Michigan e-commerce company contacted us for advice. A New York attorney took advantage of an opportunity to sue the company for having an ADA-noncompliant website. Basically, the attorney argued that the website’s owner refused to work with people with sight impairments. However, the e-commerce company would have been willing to work with individuals who are sight-impaired and correct the noncompliance issues on the website, but they were unaware of these issues until the lawsuit was filed. By then, it was too late, and the UP company was required to pay a legal settlement and legal fees.
Quick Check: Is Your Website Required to be ADA Compliant?
Because of this ADA-noncompliance legal action, Packerland Websites is stepping up its messaging about ADA-compliant websites. So, you’re probably wondering, “Does my website need to be ADA compliant?” Most likely, the answer is Yes. Websites that are required to be ADA compliant:
- Government websites and any organization receiving government money
- Websites connected to businesses of public accommodation (hotels, stores, movie theaters, etc.)
- Websites that sell goods or services
- Websites intended for us by the general public
Taking Action: Bringing Your Website Up to ADA Standards
Your website probably falls into at least one of these categories. Surprisingly, less than 3 percent of today’s websites are ADA compliant. However, this statistic isn’t a strong defense in the event of an ADA lawsuit. Thus, we strongly encourage website owners, including our clients, to bring their websites up to ADA compliance levels. One primary goal of website design is to ensure that individuals with sight impairments and other disabilities have access to the material on a website in a way they can understand. Read about the four tools we recommend to check website accessibility and ADA compliance, then contact us to request ADA services.
Packerland Websites: Offering ADA Services
The Packerland Websites team can evaluate your website using our ADA-accessibility Report Card and recommend any remediation.
ADA Compliance: A Matter of Equality and Rights
The Americans with Disabilities Act isn’t a laughing matter. The ADA is serious protection, granting people with disabilities the same opportunities and rights as everyone else.