The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 helped make the country a more accessible place for people with disabilities. Just as employers and property owners were required to make accommodations, the same is now true for website owners due to the ADA and the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. When website owners fail to make their websites as accessible as possible, they may be at risk of lawsuits.
How Big Is the Issue?
All websites, whether they’re owned by individuals, small companies, or large corporations, are at risk of ADA lawsuits.
New York State saw more than 1,500 ADA lawsuits in 2018 alone, while up to 95 percent of K-12 public and private school websites in the U.S. have errors that could make them susceptible to legal action. In other words, websites of all types are vulnerable to ADA accessibility violations, putting millions of business and website owners at risk of being sued.
Why Is ADA-Compliant Accessibility So Important?
ADA-compliant website accessibility is important for three reasons:
1. It prevents you from being sued—Depending on your business’s reach and potential client base, you may need to fulfill a variety of accessibility requirements. Judges have ruled that the lack of regulation or legal standards for website accessibility, even in different jurisdictions, doesn’t mean accessibility can or should be ignored by business owners.
2. It makes your website easier to use—ADA compliance isn’t just about avoiding lawsuits. Meeting its requirements also makes your website easier for everyone to use. When visitors can easily navigate around your website, they’ll be more likely to contact you or stick around and learn more about your business, your products, and/or your services.
3. It boosts your website’s rankings—People are more likely to browse user-friendly websites than clunky, unintuitive websites. And websites that are ADA-compliant are user-friendly by default. When people stay on your website for long periods of time, it signals to Google that they found what they were looking for—and that can boost your search rankings.
What Are Common Examples of ADA Accessibility Violations?
The ADA and the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative cover a wide range of potential violations. That’s why so many websites are vulnerable to legal action.
Common violations include:
- Inability to navigate the website with a keyboard
- Font sizes or colors that are difficult to read
- Color scheme that produces too high or too low contrast
- Inaccessible PDFs and other downloads
- Alerts indicated solely by colors
- Non-underlined text links
Without an experienced web design team on your side, it can be difficult to know if your website passes the ADA’s compliance test with flying colors, or if it’s at risk of a lawsuit.
How We Can Make Your Website ADA Compliant
At BHC Group, we’re experts when it comes to making websites fast, responsive, and user-friendly. Our dedication to making websites easy to use also applies to making them ADA-compliant.
Whether we’re building your website from the ground-up or auditing your existing website for potential ADA accessibility violations, you can count on our team of web experts to optimize your online presence for all users, including those with disabilities.