If you’re in the business world, either as an individual or a company, you’ve probably heard of ADA compliance.
What do you know about it and how might it affect you? How can you implement ADA principles to avoid problematic situations?
If you’re trying to figure it out, you’re at the right place.
Table of Contents
- What is the ADA?
- Who Needs to Follow ADA Requirements?
- What You Need to Do to Comply with ADA Law?
- The Danger of Not Following the ADA Rules
- ADA Website Compliance Lawsuits in 2019
- Final Words
ADA, an acronym for the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, According to this law, discrimination against individuals and groups of individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life is not allowed.
Designing websites with accessibility in mind started with the Standards of Accessible Design published by the U.S. Department of Justice in September 2010. These standards require online information and technology to be accessible to people with disabilities. This includes computer hardware, software, and documentation.
In January 2018, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was revised and updated. 508 standards require creating web content that is ultimately accessible to all people, providing equal rights to everyone who searches the web. All state and federal institutions’ websites must comply with the Level AA rules on all items in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).
No exceptions are allowed, including your business, especially if you’re in the banking sector.
ADA standards apply to all public and commercial entities, more specifically, entities that provide “places of public accommodation”. All private-sector companies who have 14 or more employees and businesses and operate for the benefit of the public must adhere to ADA requirements. The internet falls into this category.
You can check if your website is ADA compliant by using the WCAG 2.1 Level AA guidelines as indicators. These standards were adopted in 1999 as accessibility principles in the European Union and other countries. Accessibility guidelines are constantly being updated with the latest revision in spring 2018. Everybody needs to keep up with the changes.
Accessibility issues in WCAG 2.1 are broken down into three levels:
- Level A issues are the most important because they involve navigation. If the user cannot navigate your website easily, you’ve lost an enormous chance to move him or her down your sales funnel towards making a conversion.
- Level AA issues involve functionality and improving the overall user experience on your website.
- Level AAA issues cover the details and improving other aspects that Level A and Level AA don’t cover.
To sum up, all issues are either perceivable, operable, understandable, or robust. Take care of your users by following ADA and WCAG 2.1 guidelines and level up in the business game. Check the free AA report and WCAG 2.1 accessibility checklist.
ADA rules should be taken very seriously. More than 2,200 lawsuits have been filed concerning these issues and laws between 2017 and 2018. That’s about a 177% increase compared to around 800 cases in 2017. The following are the top nine states where this is occurring most often:
- New York
If you don’t hurry up to be part of the change, you can be negatively affected if your website is inaccessible.
ADA law is not something that will allow you to sit back, relax, and wait for things to happen. Fifty colleges across the United States received invitations to court in 2019 when a blind man, Jason Camacho, sued them because they didn’t align their websites to be accessible for people with disabilities.
Mr. Camacho, a Brooklyn resident who uses a screen reader, argued that he faced difficulties accessing the institutions’ websites. In November 2018, Mr. Camacho filed the lawsuits in New York’s Southern District. Even though not all of the schools were located in New York City, he was able to sue them because they all have students who come from New York.
What does this tell you?
No matter where your business is located, you can easily be sued by anyone from any state in the whole country if your website doesn’t comply with ADA requirements. For small businesses that usually fall behind implementing these practices, facing a series of lawsuits could be the end of their existence.
You don’t have an excuse to be unfamiliar with the undergoing lawsuits and changes, so start following the best practices today.
If you have usability concerns and think you need to improve or simply want to avoid additional, unnecessary problems, the BankSite team has the experience to build or improve your website to make it ADA compliant.