Is your website ADA Compliant? You could be breaking federal law.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation. Most people are familiar with the physical accommodations businesses make, such as automatic door openers and wheelchair ramps. But the ADA applies to the virtual world as well.


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Federal Law

Your Website is required by Federal Law to be ADA Compliant With A Penalty Ranging From $50,000 - $75,000.

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Department of Justice

Failing to be accessible to our disabled community is a federal crime and once a complaint is filed is persued by the DOJ.gov

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$6,000,000

Six Million Dollars was paid by Target to settle site accessibility lawsuit this year; And many more are in litigation about to settle.

Companies Face Lawsuits Over Website Accessibility For Blind Users!

Understanding level AA WCAG compliance for your website

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) administers the WCAG and serves as the arbiter of the internet. As such, they have made WCAG to be as easy and understandable as possible. It breaks it down into four different types for changes, known as POUR (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust).
  • Perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive (e.g. have Alt Tags say what the item actually does, like ‘Submit form button.’)
  • Operable – User interface components and navigation must be operable (e.g., you must be able to navigate the site using a keyboard as well as a mouse.)
  • Understandable – Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable, (e.g. error messaging on a form should make sense; instead of ‘Invalid field’ messaging, use ‘The Email field must be in a valid format.’)
  • Robust – Content must be robust enough so it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. In other words, don’t use tags or code that only certain browsers understand.
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The World Wide Web Is No Exception

You are eventually going to face a Title III ADA website case.

The Wall Street Journal

The disability lawsuits started hitting the Pittsburgh federal courthouse last July, all claiming corporations’ websites violated the law by not being accessible to the blind. The first round came against household names such as Foot Locker Inc., Toys “R” Us, Brooks Brothers Group Inc., and the National Basketball Association. Later suits targeted lesser-known retailers including Family Video Movie Club Inc. and Rue21 Inc. (source: The Wall Street Journal).

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So what exactly needs to be Accessible?

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation.

Documents & PDF Files

State and local governments will often post documents on their websites using Portable Document Format (PDF).

Videos

Due to increasing bandwidth and connection speeds, videos and other multimedia are becoming more common on the websites of state and local governments.

Contrast

Webpage designers often have aesthetic preferences and may want everyone to see their webpages in exactly the same color, size and layout.

Text alternatives

provide alternatives for non-text content (e.g., images), so that it can be accessed by impaired individuals

Time-based media

provide an alternative (e.g., transcript) for time-based media (e.g., audio/video) that presents equivalent information, or link to textual information with comparable information for non-prerecorded media)

Adaptable

create content that can be presented in different ways without losing information or structure

Distinguishable

make it easy for users to see and hear content, including separating foreground and background, by using readable fonts, larger font sizes, and highlighted link styling for example

Keyboard accessible

make all functionality available from a keyboard without requiring specific timings

Timing

provide enough time for users to read and use content

Seizures

do not include design elements that are known to cause seizures (e.g., rapid flashing)

Navigable

provide multiple ways to allow users to navigate content including obvious/prominent links and other techniques

Readable

make text content readable and understandable via styling and other techniques

Lawsuit highlights importance of ADA Web compliance

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