Introduced in 1990, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been since then was one of the most widely popular sections of civil rights legislation. This act was created to raise the model for public accommodation, especially for physically challenged users. The rapid technological development and the immense popularity of the Internet provoked whether ADA should be applied on websites or not. In the past couple of years, experts have noticed how ADA plays a significant role in the prevention of discrimination based on the physical disability of the users. However, the more crucial concern asks if there is any way where ADA lawsuits can affect the business regime.
Going by the numbers, the last couple of months saw an increase in the number of lawsuits against business websites that failed to meet the requirements of the ADA. For instance, in 2017, approximately 814 ADA federal lawsuits were filed, which showed how they were inaccessible websites.
However, before we proceed in identifying the target of current accessibility lawsuits, understanding the actual mission and overview of the ADA is essential.
Broad Understanding of ADA
In the age of modern usages of the Internet, the ADA regime is very genre-specific. Additionally, there was no particular suggestion about the laws which can get implemented to website accessibility. However, the scope of interpretation is broader, and this is where the website accessibility issue might take place at any moment.
This became all the more clear when there was a hint in 2000 from DOJ (The Department of Justice), and fact became prominent how ADA can get applied to websites although there was no specific regulation. After almost a decade, in 2008, the tech community decided to invest in protection from probable future litigation and created a set of guidelines which is currently called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines –WCAG.
These rules and guidelines are mainly used to expedite and complete the projects of designers and developers. Along with these, a fact needs to get mentioned, and that is DOJ has not yet adopted the guidelines formally or introduced any bill to relate the instructions.
Why Should Web Developers Worry About New Web Accessibility Lawsuits?
In recent years, experts noticed how the lawsuits have mainly targeted business organizations irrespective of the industrial genre. For instance, Domino’s Pizza and Dominos.com have faced complications. According to the lawsuit, both the websites and the respective web developers are considered to be defendants for forming the sites.
A particularly recent case might make the explanation simpler. In January 2018, claim holder Juan Carlos Gil filed an ADA case. The lawsuit is against the management corporation of Wet Willies, which is the owner of the Wet Willies chain of bars, Sabre technologies and the respective website developers. According to the claimant, he is a visually challenged person and uses the screen reader software to access the internet. However, he could not access the website of Wet Willies as the website did not meet the website accessibility standards as per the website content accessibility guidelines 2.0 (WCAG rules). He stated how the site is not adequately designed and thus not accessible by the entire disable people community. In the lawsuit, Gil referred both the business and its website developers accountable for the violation of the ADA.
However, as it turned out, the management of Wet Willies called out the web developers as the main accused of causing inefficiency in accessing the website. If this lawsuit turns out to be successful, then it can be enough of a reason for future web developers to be aware of how defying the ADA rules and guidelines might lead to significant consequences. It will be an exemplary situation that would define the shift in the responsibility of the web developers to design and manage the approachability of the websites.
It is thus safe to say that web developers should get worried about their area of competence and perform a bit more seriously to provide excellent website accessibility or WordPress accessibility right from the commencement of the website to avoid lawsuits which can result in huge compensation. This is why it is wiser to have a partnership or consulting firm that would have professional accessibility experts. A link-up with the legal firms is very beneficial as they offer competent advice to understand and overcome the risk of being sued.
What to Do Next if You Are Alleged of Violating ADA?
There might be a point when you need to face these kinds of challenges and interruptions in your business. It is a common concern; however, you need to take care of the situation in the appropriate way, which otherwise can raise many other disruptions soon. If you receive an accusation stating the violation of the ADA on your website, the first thing you should do is carefully check the contacts to counteract the protections and your responsibilities. Simultaneously, it would be best if you started to take action to mitigate your liability. You can adjust the condition by looking at the compliance plan properly and under an apt timeline. Eventually, the entire regime should get expedited under the guidance of legal firms and accessibility experts.
All the business administration should offer equal opportunity to the user and must take care of the basic fact that there should be no discrimination based on religion, caste, sex or any form of physical disability.
So, if you are a web-developing service provider or a business owner and need to get a brighter outlook on the discussed points, Anblik is more than happy to assist you. Our senior-level experts will help you learn more about the website compliance guidelines. We can also offer you a free scan and grade report, which will show all the required measures and reduce the risk factors of your website’s performance against WCAG 2.0 guidelines.
Get a free 30-minute consultation about your website’s accessibility from the Ananyoo team to get going!