Is Your Website a Legal Liability or is it ADA Compliant?

By Ernest Hamilton , Jul 16, 2019 10:38 AM EDT

Take a minute to think about how many times a day you use the internet. Do you read email while drinking your morning coffee? Use Google Maps to check traffic on your commute? Maybe you're in the majority of people who use the internet to get the news, watch television, shop and pay bills. 

But what if it wasn't that easy?

For 15% of the world's population, who live with some form of disability, everyday web browsing is often a difficult and frustrating process. It's bad for population morale and bad for businesses who are being hit with an increasing number of accessibility-related lawsuits.

Just last year there were more than 2200 federal ADA digital lawsuits over allegedly inaccessible websites. That number is up 177% from the year before and is expected to rise by at least another 200% according to digital accessibility expert Haris Karim. 

Pop culture icons like Beyoncé and Kylie Jenner, companies like Amazon and Nike and even universities such as Harvard, are all being sued on the basis of unfavorable web accessibility. 

To combat this discontent and to help prevent companies from getting sued, MAB Accessibility created an onsite accessibility toolbar that can be easily added to any website. This toolbar gives users with disabilities control over their experience. From changing the site's colors to grayscale to eliminate problems with colorblindness, to increasing the size of a cursor to help those with decreased motor control, the MAB Accessibility toolbar is a preliminary step in making a website more accessible.

This digital marketing agency with over 15 years experience in human-centered digital design also offers a comprehensive accessibility assessment to find and fix errors at the code level and ensure optimal accessibility of your website. 

What Exactly is Web Accessibility?

Access to public online platforms is a privilege and a right. Web accessibility is the general practice and assurance that the internet is usable by everyone. 

Imagine you were shopping online and unable to see, let alone click the button that says "Buy" or "Add to Cart." Or if you tried to watch an uncaptioned online instructional video but couldn't hear the demonstrator. Even very common elements like images need special descriptive text coding to help people determine what the image is depicting. 

When building a website, having alt-text in place, enabling keyboard controls in place of the mouse, and having accessible drop-down menus make a big difference to those who use screen readers to interact with your website.

Someone who is unable to use a website can face difficulty in finding, applying for, and keeping jobs, doing schoolwork, accessing government benefits, and shopping, among other things.

A Tech Solution to Minimize Liability

Website accessibility lawsuits can hit just about any industry whether a business is a restaurant, government agency, e-commerce store, educational organization, or nonprofit. The good news is that there are defined web accessibility standards to help guide companies in creating accessible websites that will ultimately help protect them from lawsuits. 

A great deal of a website's content can be made accessible just by making sure that HTML elements are used for the correct purpose at all times. A technical assessment of any website against the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 will underscore the inaccessible parts of a given site. 

A combination of programmatic and manual tools will help to identify issues in the underlying website code. From there, a site should be tested using assistive technology (like a screen reader) to make sure that the updated code provides an accurate and equal experience of the content on the page.

Goodwill of Orange County was a nonprofit website that recently underwent an accessibility assessment and remediation with MAB Accessibility to ensure that their site was inclusive to the entire community. As a large percentage of the people who interact with the Goodwill of Orange County website are people with disabilities, the accessibility of the platform is a mandatory requirement. 

Is Your Business Covered?

You can imagine that the increasing domination of all things digital comes with greater expectations around access and usability. Web accessibility assures that the internet is usable for everyone, including those with disabilities. It is important that businesses make their websites accessible to everyone in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities.

Contact MAB Accessibility

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