2018 is seeing a record number of lawsuits towards businesses and organizations claiming ADA non-compliance on their websites. Over 1,000 suits have been filed just in the first half of the year while 2017 had a little over 800. New York and Florida are leading the way. Many are filed under Title III of the ADA law. These accessibility cases are difficult to fight on both sides, especially for the defendants. Though ADA compliance is nothing new, applying it to websites is and it seems that the rules are changing and evolving daily. The US Department of Justice managing the Americans with Disabilities Act has yet to come up with a clear and succinct list of requirements that would make a website fully ADA compliant. What they offer are guidelines and vague standards. Lawyers are loving it of course since there are many gray areas and most of the “guidelines” are up for interpretation.
Changes to websites need to be made so that everyone can access them and make full use of them. Yes! None of us in the web development industry disagrees with this. What we need is updated right-to-the-point description of what makes a site 100% ADA compliant. For instance, if a website has a slideshow, what speed should the slide transition from one to the other so that it does not cause a seizure? Should the images fade in and out or should they slide right to left? Etc…
We, at Business Website Center, often visit www.ada.org and check for updates hoping for a clean-cut solution for our website clients. Today for instance, if you go to the official ADA website, you will notice under Featured Topics the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This is a 8 year old document!
For those interested in digging deeper into the matter, you can also visit the United States Access Board, an independent federal agency. The Access Board (Link ») provides additional information related to Section 508 and Communications & IT guidelines and standards. These cover anything from telecommunication, electronic devices, operating systems, software, to websites. Websites though is the one element that seems to us the least addressed/served.
GNC was sued for website inaccessibility. In the suit by the legally blind plaintiff, various elements of the site were mentioned:
Website accessibility is a complex subject and it can be frightening when your business, agency, or organization is being sued. Know that we will make ourselves available to answer your questions on the matter. Call 707-794-9999 (PST). Together, let’s make the web available for all.