What Does This Mean for My Business?
If you own a brick-and-mortar business, chances are that you have made accommodations for those with disabilities. But did you know that if you don’t make the necessary accommodations on your website, you could be sued for failure to comply with the ADA and Unruh Civil Rights Acts of California? According to the U.S. courts, websites are now referred to as “places of public accommodation.”
What Is Website Accessibility?
According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a website is accessible when everyone has the ability to enjoy their visit, including people with disabilities, such as blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, or a combination thereof.
In order to assess whether a website is accessible, U.S. courts have been using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA as the standard. “Web content – refers to any part of a website, including text, images, forms, and multimedia, as well as any markup code, scripts, applications, and such.”Take a few minutes to watch this “Video Introduction to Web Accessibility and W3C Standards”.
Why Am I Seeing More About This Issue Now?
While states began incorporating website accessibility into their policies, the impact of COVID-19 and the complete alteration of our lifestyle has really brought this to the forefront. The pandemic severely limited our abilities to go out and socialize, to shop in our favorite stores, to see movies, plays, musicals, and any other types of performances, and to eat at our favorite restaurants.
Therefore, society turned to the Internet and their computers for entertainment, shopping, and socializing. When people with disabilities cannot access the content on your website, they have a right to sue your company. Regardless of the outcome of applicable state laws, many businesses are incurring the costs associated with defending these suits.
According to Jason Taylor of UsableNet, a company that tracks ADA compliance, stated that in “the year of 2020 alone – web, app, and video accessibility cases rose almost 25%, bringing the total digital accessibility lawsuits to exceed 3,500, with New York and California seeing most of them because they have laws that allow plaintiffs to sue in federal or state court.”
How We Can Help
There is good news, though. We have partnered with AudioEye, which has just launched an affordable solution for small businesses, including certification. Their mission is to “eradicate every barrier to digital access because we believe equal access to digital content is the right of every individual and the responsibility of every entity”. Feel free to take a look at our site to experience some of the accessibility tools available.
Contact us and find out how you can sign up for this new innovative technology which will improve accessibility for all of your website visitors.