The team at Sande Caplin & Associates wanted to reach out to make you aware of a legal concern happening in the digital atmosphere that may affect your business. In the last couple of years there has been an uptick in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits when it comes to website accessibility. We wanted to get ahead of any potential issue and inform you and discuss how this could pertain to your website and possibly affect your business. As well, we’re here to offer assistance should you decide to go ahead with the process of making your website meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. (WCAG)
First, a bit of background.
Advocates for the disabled say websites need to be as accessible for everyone, just as brick-and-mortar stores must be.
Nearly 5,000 ADA lawsuits were filed in federal court for alleged website violations in the first six months of 2018, according to an analysis by Seyfarth Shaw, a law firm that specializes in defending such cases. Business owners who are sued under the ADA complain that the law allows plaintiffs to demand huge payouts in damages without first giving the business owner the opportunity to fix the websites.
In the U.S., apart from government websites, there are no enforceable ADA legal standards to follow for website accessibility. However, just because there is no straightforward set of legal requirements for website accessibility does not mean that your business will not be presented with a lawsuit. Website accessibility is not universal, and it’s not clearly enforced. This has understandably raised alarm.
ADA lawsuits, filed in federal and state courts, have targeted the websites of retailers, restaurants and universities. This also applies for a number of businesses including bars, hotels, recreation venues, and more. One popular guideline for businesses to use when deciding whether to develop accessible websites is that if there is a physical store that must legally meet accessibility requirements for public access, their website version should also do so. Unfortunately, several establishments / organizations have been targeted in our area.
Now, what this could mean for you.
It is important to ensure that anyone, with any disability, can access and navigate your website.
The easiest way to explain: For a website to be accessible, written content must be coded for audio translation by vision-impaired users who depend on screen-reader software. Videos must include descriptions for the deaf and on-screen captions for the blind. All interactive functions must be operable through keyboard commands for people who can’t use a mouse.
This is a newer territory to navigate and will take some investment but is a worthwhile move to better serve those with disabilities and avoid a lawsuit. We are doing all we can to familiarize ourselves on this matter and how to prevent any potential issues with the ADA so if you would like resources or to talk through how we can help, give us a call at (o) 941 347-4500, (c) 516-381-9990. Sande Caplin & Associates, 1877 Northgate Blvd., Suite 2, Sarasota, FL 34234. OR, drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Also for more information and an important video, please visit:
photo from Deposit Photos