2022 Website Accessibility Lawsuits: Businesses Continue to Be Under Fire
In today’s day in age, websites are considered “places of public accommodation,” thus they are covered by the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Don’t let legal firms exploit you and take your money. As a business owner, you should strive for an inclusive user experience that includes assistive technology for those in need of it.
This blog post will highlight the dangers businesses may face when trying to achieve ADA accessibility, how many other companies have been hurt because of it, and how EcomBack and our methods can achieve ADA accessibility compliance for your e-commerce website.
Don’t Let Your E-Commerce Website Be Just Another Ugly Statistic
Back in 2018, 814 lawsuits were filed in the U.S., which sued close to a thousand businesses for ADA compliance issues. An article written by Minh N. Vu and Susan Ryan stated that “New York and Florida led the way with more than 335 and 325 cases, respectively. Surprisingly, California only had nine new website accessibility lawsuits in 2017…”
The article also wrote that federal courts in Virginia (24), Texas (7), Puerto Rico (1), Pennsylvania (58), Ohio (8), New Jersey (4), New Hampshire (2), Michigan (1), Massachusetts (15), Illinois (10), Georgia (9), and Arizona (6), had website accessibility lawsuits as well.
In 2020, the number grew dramatically, with over 3,500 ADA lawsuits filed against inaccessible websites. Then, a 2021 report revealed that a shocking 98.1% of the top million websites had homepages with detectable WCAG 2 failures.
A lawsuit can not only damage a business’ reputation, but it can also hurt customer rapport as well. Losing a patron because of a disability access issue looks pretty bad but being sued by them is even worse. It also doesn’t feel great either.
The fact of the matter is, unless a website is specifically designed by experts that build them to enable accessibility, online store owners will always face legal actions and/or public scrutiny.
What is the Standard for Digital Accessibility?
The WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) is internationally recognized as a set of principles for achieving digital accessibility and was established by the W3C, an international web standards group. Currently, in version 2.1, the WCAG comes in 3 levels: A, AA, AA. To avoid litigation, businesses should meet the standards for WCAG 2.1 A, AA (for U.S. and Canada).
What are the WCAG Website Compliance Standards?
Following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ensures your content is accessible to a broader range of people with disabilities. This includes providing accommodations for blindness, low vision, speech disabilities, deafness, hearing loss, photosensitivity, limited movement, among other learning disabilities, and cognitive limitations. The WCAG standards also address the accessibility of web content on computers, mobile devices, and tablets.
According to the official WCAG 2.1, website accessibility standards are broken down into four basic principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.
- User interface components and information must be presentable and perceivable
- There must be text alternatives
- Captions and other options for multimedia
- Content that can be presented in various forms and includes assistive technology
- Content should be straightforward and easy for users to see and hear
- Users should be able to operate user interface components and navigation
- All functionality is available from a keyboard
- Users have a good amount of time to read and use content
- None of the content should cause seizures
- Assist users to navigate and find content
- Patrons must be able to understand the information as well as how to operate the user interface
- Text is readable and comprehensible
- Content appears and operates in simple, predictable ways
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes
- Content can be interpreted correctly by a wide variety of user agents, such as assistive technology
- Maximize compatibility with user tools
Benefits of an Accessible Online Store
By making your online store more accessible, you can boost sales and grow your company exponentially. The possibilities are endless when combined with web accessibility.
Accessible e-commerce stores make it ten times easier for consumers to locate what they’re looking for. It will also reach a wider audience as well. As a result, they are frequently drawn back and recommend your store to their friends and family members.
By using accessible, clean, semantic code, search engines will quickly crawl, index, and rank your web content. Plus, increased internet accessibility improves the general usability of your online store, providing a superior user experience for both disabled and able-bodied individuals. Most importantly, it reduces the risk of expensive ADA compliance lawsuits.
With the help of EcomBack, you can rest easy knowing your online store is accessible to all users because you worked with us.
Is Your Website Accessible to Disabled Individuals?
Automated audit technology can only detect approximately 30% of WCAG issues. EcomBack has screen readers who capture the other 70%.
EcomBack guarantees an integrative, in-depth approach to digital usability. In addition, we provide everything you need to ensure your e-commerce business is compliant with WCAG 2.1 and ADA standards.
Our team can evaluate the information on your web pages and find ways to make it more accessible. It’s always wise to include as much as possible in your site to help those who require it, but it’s also a good idea to keep your website visually appealing so that all users can browse and find products quickly and easily.
- Accessibility Audit: in-depth audit report with explanations and suggestions for repair.
- Accessibility Repair: categorize the audit findings, mark the level of each item, and then assign a priority level to help project management.
- Accessible Website Development: our accessibility experts can make a website that is more accessible and has limitless possibilities by enhancing or rebuilding your e-commerce website.
Contact us, and our team of ADA specialists will run a compliance check on your site. Then, you’ll be on the right track to having a completely accessible online business.