Website ADA Compliance: What You Need To Know

Written By Drew Refshauge on August 15th, 2019

Just a few years ago, fewer than 900 lawsuits were brought against organizations and businesses alleging that their websites were not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). That number will approach 3,000 this year and is expected to continue to rise.

In addition to an increasing number of lawsuits being settled, the first website ADA case that went to trial resulted in the judge ruling that grocery store chain Winn-Dixie had not made its website accessible to people with disabilities. The first-of-its-kind ruling and escalating number of suits has made digital ADA compliance a priority. (Note: For a full picture of ADA, its requirements and what your business or organization needs to do to be in full compliance, you should contact an attorney with expertise in disability issues.)

ALINE has worked with many clients over the years to ensure their website is ADA compliant. Congress was expected to act this year to clarify some elements of the law as it pertains to website accessibility. At ALINE, we expect the rules to continue to evolve because of legislative action and judicial interpretation for the foreseeable future. That said, here are a few things you should know about ADA compliance and your website:

  • The law applies to organizations categorized as either Tier I or Tier III. A Tier I organization is any that has at least 15 employees and is open at least 20 weeks per year. A Tier III organization is one that falls under the category of “public accommodation.” This includes banks, public transit, hotels, hospitals and grocery stores, among many others.
  • The ADA requires websites provide “reasonable accessibility.” Until clarifying legislation is passed, this is open to some interpretation, but there are a number of programming elements and technologies that are expected of an ADA compliant website. These include including alt tags for all images and video and text transcripts for all video and audio files.
  • Ensuring your website is ADA compliant requires a financial investment. However, it’s not only the law, it’s simply good business. Having a website that is not accessible to people with disabilities means you are missing out on engaging with a lot of people. And nearly everything done to make a site ADA compliant will also help its performance and improve SEO.

If you have questions or would like us to conduct an ADA compliance audit of your site, contact us. In addition to an audit, our in-house programming team will identify the steps you need to take to make your site ADA compliant.

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