Do I Need to Make My Website Accessible
to People with Disabilities?
Yes. There are various federal, state, and local statutes that apply to businesses that provide public goods and services.
According to the US Department of Justice (DOJ), websites are considered “places of public accommodation” nowadays. Thus, they are covered by the American Disabilities Act (ADA).
If you are worried about the cost of upgrading your website for ADA compliance, there is a tax credit to offset these expenses. You can read IRS Section 44, which provides up to $5,000 in IRS tax credits for websites to be remediated or upgraded for ADA compliance. Share this information with your accountant if you have any questions about getting this credit and deduction.
Society and the government want all businesses and organizations to play an active role in online accessibility; these incentives are just one way they’re helping make our digital world more accessible than ever before.
Who Does My Website Need to Be Accessible For?
Your website needs to be accessible for users with disabilities, including but not limited to:
- Hearing loss
- Low vision
- Learning disabilities
- Cognitive limitations
- Limited movement
- Speech disabilities
Suppose visitors to your website are blind and low vision users, people with learning difficulties, hearing, dexterity, unable to read, or cognitive impairments such as Down’s Syndrome. In that case, they MUST be able to access your content.
To be considered accessible, you must remove any barriers that prevent these groups from interacting correctly on the page by using assistive technologies like screen readers, which read aloud what’s written into a web page.
By making your website truly accessible, you:
- Mitigate your legal risk of “surf-by” lawsuits
- Enhance your user experience
- Broaden your website reach with enhanced search
- It’s good business practice, and it’s the right thing to do
Who Needs to Follow ADA Requirements?
Countries worldwide, such as the UK, Australia, Canada, and others, are mandating website accessibility. In the United States, ADA standards apply to commercial and public entities, which are “places of public accommodation” under Title 3.
In Short, the Law Impacts:
- Americans with disabilities, their friends, family, and caregivers
- Businesses operating for public benefit
- State and local government agencies
While every business should ensure ADA compliance, our services are especially helpful for:
- E-commerce websites, Shopify stores, WordPress/Woo-Commerce, etc.
- Service based businesses with brick-mortar operations
- Government websites
Contact us today to ensure your website complies with the ADA, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Section 508, and EN 301549 standards.
Lawsuits related to ADA Website
compliance are on the rise.
Over 4000 ADA Lawsuits
were filed against inaccessible websites, according to -UsableNet. That’s more than ten a day!
A handful of law firms are serial lawsuit filers who sue hundreds of companies each month. That’s their business model.
- According to various statistics, over 74% of ADA Website lawsuits are aimed at e-commerce sites and businesses with a retail presence.
- Approximately 15% of these websites were sued in the past and made settlements, were sued AGAIN by different plaintiffs due to underlying accessibility issues not being remediated or new issues/upgrades resulting in new accessibility issues that were neglected
- There was one plaintiff recently who sued over 175 businesses. Another sued over 99. These are considered “surf-by” lawsuits. And yes, it’s legal and very profitable.
- Installing an accessibility widget or overlay app is not enough. Over 400 websites have been sued recently for ADA non-compliance even though they have such apps on their websites. Many plaintiffs firms are targeting sites that rely solely on AI-assisted widgets and tools without fixing the problem. It is like applying a band-aid without treating the wound. You must improve your underlying code to have a truly accessible website.
Don’t let your website become another target for ADA law firms who will file a federal lawsuit against your business. You may ask why there are so many lawsuits, many of which are frivolous, boilerplate, cut-paste, with the same plaintiffs and plaintiff firms suing businesses in the hundreds each month.
The reason for this is simple. It’s a big profitable business for plaintiff’s firms.
ADA allows plaintiffs to recover LEGAL FEES from defendants, fees – which can be in the six figures, while defendants CANNOT recover their legal costs if they win.
Read that again. If they win, you pay their legal fees. If you win, they do not pay your legal fees.
So it is a You Lose, I Win scenario. This stacks the deck in favor of Plaintiff firms and against defendants.
If you get Sued:
- You may need a drink. Then
- You will have to fix your website anyway
- Pay your attorney’s fees
- Defend your case – if you lose, you owe their attorney’s fees plus fines
- Make a settlement if advisable – five to six figures
- Follow the ongoing process for compliance
- Periodic audits to as per judgment or settlement
- Avoid copy-cat lawsuits
ADA lawsuits are a painful experience that distract you from your business. Talk to anyone who has been sued out of the blue and you will realize how painful and frustrating it could be when you get the court notice.
Simply put, if your website is not fully compliant, you need to fix your website as of yesterday. Prevention is better than cure and certainly less costly than lawyers and courts!
How ADA Consultants Make Your Website Accessible and Compliant
We conduct a Full Accessibility Audit of Your Website
ADA Consultants conduct a three-factor audit that combines automated, manual, and assistive technology findings into one comprehensive review.
Automated audit technology can only detect approximately 30% of WCAG issues. EcomBack manually reviews pages and content to catch the other 70%.
With our thorough manual ADA compliance audit, we review the critical errors, alerts, color contrast, media, captioning, ARIA, page flow, and other requirements to make sure your website is fully accessible for people with disabilities.
- Identify and explain WCAG issues failures
- Identify accessibility barriers and eliminate auto-scan false results
- Create an in-depth audit report and checklist for remediation and repair
- Upon booking our services, we prepare and implement the full remediation process of code checking, manual fixes, and 3rd party apps errors.
- Check and fix color contrast errors. If colors need to be changed, we consult with you on options for approval.
- Set up Alt-Text auto-scheduler app installed for product, collection, home page images.
- Review of video content for captions or set up disclaimers.
We work on a backup theme to remediate your website code. Once the cleaned-up website code/theme is ready, we will review it and launch it your approval.
Websites are like living, breathing organisms. They change and evolve as new content is added and upgrades are made. We empower your team with the knowledge to design, build and master web accessibility.
Our Training Includes:
- Help them understand what ADA and accessibility is
- ARIA & Style training and explanation
- Basic guidance to your development team to follow in instructions in future
We provide you with basic training on how to audit your website monthly or quarterly and show you the tools you need. We also offer a service for such monitoring and fixes if you have a more extensive site with a lot of updated content.
Our team of testers is a mix of people with certain disabilities and those who have been trained on the best practices of accessibility, equitable use, and universal design.
Once remediation work is complete or if there are questions on certain functionalities, our team of testers independently reviews websites for accessibility, equitable use, UI/UX. Their recommendations are incorporated into the remediation process and final website conformance review and audit.
Your website should contain a proper Accessibility Statement in the footer navigation.
We will provide you with a lawyer-drafted Accessibility Statement template to use on your website.
Our ADA Website Consultant team will share some tips and processes that will improve your website’s accessibility and decrease the chances of litigation.
Why Choose EcomBack for your
ADA Compliant Website Services
- Our specially trained team of in-house ADA compliance experts has interacted with lawyers and clients to understand and fix issues identified in lawsuits.
- Trained experts in Shopify, WordPress / WooCommerce, Magento, and other popular platforms.
- Affordable services with transparent results
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
about Website Accessibility:
How to Avoid ADA Website Lawsuits
No one thinks it will happen to them until it does, and you get served with a federal lawsuit.
Ensure your website meets WCAG guidelines and provides people with disabilities an accessible experience. Contact us for your free ADA Website Compliance Audit.
How to Fight ADA Website Lawsuits?
“Surf-by” lawsuits are increasing by the day. Hire a good lawyer experienced in ADA cases. We can offer recommendations.
You still need to ensure your website is accessible.
It is good to share this information with your peers and other business owners to increase awareness of the dangers of ADA non-compliance.
Why You Need an ADA Compliant Website?
Firstly, it is the law in many jurisdictions.
ADA compliance is rooted in addressing discrimination against people with disabilities, knowing or unknowingly. As a business owner, organization, or government body, you want to follow practical and ethical business practices to make your business and website are accessible to everyone for a better user experience and without discrimination.
For more information, visit www.ada.gov
What is an ADA-Compliant Website?
If you are a business owner with an e-commerce website or any service/information website, you must make sure your site is ADA compliant.
It is not that difficult to ensure that all content and functionality is accessible to individuals with disabilities using WCAG 2.0 and above standards, but it is a time-consuming process.
Contact us for your free ADA Website Compliance Audit.
For more information on the DOJ’s guidance to accessibility, please visit: https://beta.ada.gov/web-guidance/
What is an ADA Compliance Plan?
ADA Compliance plan is the process of making your website ADA compliant and accessible for everyone. Compliance is not a one-and-done process. It requires diligence, training, and routine workflow checks.
These practices protect you from expensive litigation, fines, bad reviews, ratings, and public shaming.
This includes following a step-by-step guide outlined in our remediation process.
1) You fill out our free audit and consultation form
2) We conduct a Full Accessibility Audit of Your Website
3) Accessibility Repair
4) Launch revised theme/code
5) Website training
6) Accessibility Overlays and Statements
We can review your website and provide your custom plan.
Who is Responsible for Violations of the ADA?
As a business owner, it’s essential to understand your responsibilities regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
While violations can happen unintentionally, it is still your responsibility to be aware of what you can do to prevent them and what happens if you’re found to be in violation.
Do Small Businesses Need to Have ADA-Compliant Websites?
It is a common misconception that only larger businesses worry about ADA website compliance. The truth is all companies need to ensure their website is accessible to everyone, regardless of the size of the business. Lawsuits have been filed against businesses of all types and can be very costly.
What are Legal Issues for Non-Compliant Sites?
Any website that does not comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations may be subject to legal penalties and/or class action lawsuits.
This could mean anything from a fine to a lawsuit. If your website is not currently ADA compliant, it’s essential to take steps as soon as possible to avoid such a situation.
Some members of Congress are trying to push through legislation such as H.R. 1100 — 117th Congress: Online Accessibility Act to create clear and better standards for businesses to follow.
What is WCAG?
More than 15% of the global population lives with disabilities that affect their daily lives, including online shopping and web browsing.
To address this need for accessibility, W3C has created Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which are widely recognized as the international standard to follow.
WCAG 2.1 is an update to the previous versions of WCAG, and it aims to make online content more accessible for a broader range of people with disabilities.
ADA website compliance signifies that your site meets the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and World Wide Web Consortium’s technical guidelines for websites.
How to Test Your Website for ADA and WCAG Compliance?
1) Install Google Chrome Extension tools such as WAVE from Web Aim and use Google Lighthouse.
2) Screen Readers: Screen readers allow users who are blind or have low vision to hear all of the content on your website. This requires proper alt-text
and other content tagging.
3) Keyboard Navigation: Keyboard navigation is an essential aspect of web accessibility. Correct ordering and focus indicators allow users to navigate
a website more easily.
4) Closed Captions: Captions are necessary to make videos and audio content accessible for people with hearing impairment.
5) Text-Zoom: Text zoom offers a way for people who are blind or have low vision to read the text more accessible by increasing its size.
6) Color Contrast: Ratio: Text and interactive elements should have a color contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1. There are various tools that designers can use
to address these issues, along with overlays and widgets such as UserWay.
What are ADA Standards for Accessible Website Design?
Website accessibility standards are often broken down into four basic principles: Perceivable, Operable, and Understandable. Below are a limited number of examples for an overview purpose. For more details, visit WCAG 2.1
- Make your website is accessible to everyone by providing text alternatives for non-text content.
- Caption multimedia makes it easier for everyone to see and hear the content.
- Without losing meaning, Create content that can be presented differently, including assistive technologies.
- Make it easier for website visitors to see and hear content.
- Make all functionality available from a keyboard to navigate and find information faster.
- Give Website Visitors enough time to read and use the content.
- Do not use content that causes seizures.
- Help users navigate and find content.
- Make your website content readable and understandable.
- Make website content appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Help website visitors avoid & correct mistakes.
- Maximize website compatibility with current and future user tools.
ADA vs. 508 Compliance vs. WCAG: What Is the Difference?
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ( WCAG ) is a set of website accessibility guidelines that are internationally accepted.
508 Compliance is shorthand for a law requiring federal government websites to be accessible for people with disabilities.
ADA Compliance is The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.
We offer our services in All States of USA!