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What your business needs to take care of to be ADA lawsuit-free

Feb 12, 2020   |   Web Design and Promotion
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ADA lawsuit - what your business needs

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been a hot topic for some time now, but over the past couple of years, it has gained a lot of traction, precisely because of the number of cases that have been filed and the millions that have been shelled out by businesses as lawsuit settlements.

In 2018 alone, property accessibility-related cases have gone past 10,000 and in 2018 and 2019, more than 2,000 cases each year have been brought before the courts of America for ADA non-compliance of websites and apps. Not even reputed personalities and brands have been spared, pop-star Beyoncé, Harvard, Nike, Dominos, and lots more had to face the gavel of court judges across the country for their website or app being ADA non-conforming.

The big question is, is your business protected from any possible ADA-related lawsuits? If not, we’ll take you through what ADA is all about, and the requirements to ensure that your business website is ADA conforming.

What is ADA? Does the law specify that websites need to conform?

In short, the Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against anyone with disability in all areas of public life – which are covered comprehensively in its 5 titles.

What is ADA

While the law does not directly specify that websites need to conform, in recent years, the Courts of America have extended Title III of ADA to comply with the guidelines of WCAG 2.1.

How?

Title III of ADA implies that ADA applies to “services of a public accommodation, and not services in ‘a’ place of public accommodation. This means that if a website is offering services of a property, it needs to meet the accessibility guidelines of WCAG 2.1. This was the core of the argument in the Robles Vs. Dominos case, which resulted in Dominos having to make a settlement because their website wasn’t accessible to screen readers.

Establishing that websites need to meet WCAG 2.1 guidelines to be ADA conforming, there are 3 levels of acceptability that websites need to meet to keep ADA-related lawsuits at bay:

how ADA applies

To ensure that their website is ADA-conforming and there is no compromise of the user interface and experience for customers, business websites choose to follow WCAG AA (which is the standard) to ensure ADA-conformance.

How to ensure that your business is lawsuit free?

Ensuring that your website is ADA conforming is not the only aspect to take care of, to stay lawsuit free. In fact, with our vast experience of protecting clients against ADA lawsuits, we formulated 3 cases that businesses need to look into to be ADA conforming:

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If the business website isn’t compliant with the guidelines stated under WCAG 2.1. In such a case, the business can be booked under Title III of ADA.

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If the business website is WCAG 2.1 compliant, but no specific information of the property conforming to ADA is available on the website. Specifying that the property is accessible to those disabled on the property website is an absolute must.

case bullet3

The business website as well as the property are ADA conforming, but the third-party components on the websites are inaccessible to those disabled. For example, chat or support widgets, Booking Engine, 3rd party content in iFrames, etc. are inaccessible to screen readers and therefore, allowing the business to be susceptible to lawsuits.

What website changes does ADA require?

website changes does ADA require

To make sure that the website is accessible to those disabled and keeping in mind that they use screen readers to access websites, a website needs to have:

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Alt Tags to describe images to screen readers

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They should be legible for those with poor vision, slider images (carousels) should have the stop/pause button, and the content should be adaptable to suit video or audio-assistance.

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The layout of the website should be easy to navigate and predictable to screen readers, accessible for keyboard navigation, should be distinguishable to display the contrast between the background and other components, and should have no flashing content

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Should have input assistance and compatible with the latest assistive technologies.

Best Practices to follow for a website to be ADA conforming

To make sure that the website is accessible to those disabled and keeping in mind that they use screen readers to access websites, a website needs to have:

Best Practices to follow for a website to be ADA conforming

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Skip to content buttonThe skip to content button ensures that screen readers can read the important content of the website in a structured manner.

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Keyboard-friendly navigation The tabs, drop-down menus, bookings buttons, check-in and check-out boxes have to be accessible just by using the keyboard.

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Time frame on Carousels Carousels (slider images) should have the pause/stop button to give those with poor vision to view the carousels in their own time.

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Labels should be outside the input areaFor screen readers to pick up key labels such as ‘group code’ or ‘coupon code’, they need to outside the input area.

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The background should be contrastingTo be legible for those with poor vision, the background of the website should be contrasting with the tabs, drop down-menus, booking button and so on.

Milestone strives to take businesses through the entire customer journey, from the REACH stage to an ACTION, CONVERSION and ENGAGEMENT to stamp a relationship between a business and its customer. Keeping that in mind, ensuring that a business website is ADA conforming, helps businesses establish the first stage (REACH) in the best possible way – considering that a significant portion of the population suffers from some sort of disability. Making websites ADA conforming betters the scope of conversions for businesses and builds a long-lasting customer relationship.

If you wish to safeguard your business from lawsuits through ADA conformance and know more about how we ensure that websites are ADA conforming, send us an
email at [email protected] or call us at +1 408 200 2211,for any ADA
related questions.

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